In honour of our very own Mr Vian and his leaving, we hopped on a train to my home town of Winchester. Dressed as “The Anti-Faff Team” Helen and I led the SUCCers through the pubs of the Old Capital, it was indeed a lovely evening. The highlight of which was the lovely speech given by Louise (and a few others), where Mr Vian’s contributions to the club were summarised, and he was presented with his “Captain Faff” T-shirt. He will be missed, thought I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of him for good!
(Taken from Mouthfuls Summer 06)
Scotland Easter 2006
“What’s pink and white and brown all over?……………………. Battenturd!”
–George Mortimer 25.03.2006
The eternal quote from Mr Mortimer set the tone for the week as we stood around in a Morrison’s car park waiting for Tim Ripper to finish his business.
The night drive had gone without incident but fortunately plenty of shenanigans in motorway traffic jams involving window wiper lifting and Dickie hanging out of the van door in a true action man stylee.
The first river to be conquered was the Spean Gorge. A low water level and the warm sun were just what was needed for an easy first day. The only mentionable points were the Head-banger (Witch’s Cauldron) and the constriction with it’s horrible portage, oh and of course the miserable git at the end who came and took photo’s of the nasty ‘Solent University’ kayakers getting changed near his house (Good call Danny).
The Epic – Roy (Upper and ½ Gorge)
The pre-paddle activity for the day was snow-
boating but with an absence of snow and no sign of the shuttle, we did it anyway. A mighty hill + Robson NRG + Roland = An awesomely funny video
With the dent popped out of Roland’s boat and the shuttle returned we set out. The upper section was a good bouncy grade 3 with Serpents Tail catching a lot of people out and dumping them in a big hole. The rest of the section went smoothly… the calm before the storm.
The gorge section started with a long inspection of a relatively easy rapid, and then a portage of the “Grade 5-it’s gunna-kill-you-huge-undercut”. 50 metres downstream disaster struck in the form of a rather large hole resulting in numerous swims and a spectacular injury to Georges head. The group lead by James, on the sighting of frantic arm waving and carnage made a near vertical exit from the Gorge and went to investigate. The situation we were greeted by was that of 3 swims, 3 lost boats, 2 lost paddles and the group being separated by a large gash. We trundled down the river and by a stroke of luck we spotted Matt’s boat pinned by a large tree just above a small rapid section. A rescue effort ensued whilst Tim and Martin walked out to fetch the transport.
The boat was rescued and people ferried from one side to the other. Then it was only left to walk out up a very steep hill! Thanks to Nottingham Trent University must be issued at this point as they gave Tim and Martin a lift to get the Van and also found and rescued the remaining equipment.
“One up the bum, no harm done” – Group
Day 3 – The Orchy
Some great rapids, a fast and fun playwave, an example of how not to run safety on a rapid from another University and some exciting jumps off a rock wall into a Grade 6 rapid sums up the Orchy.
The evenings entertainment was a viewing of Shrek 2, German pornography, lots of Vodka and Irn-Bru and the Ten rotation challenge (Ten rotations followed by a challenge) in which in short was drunk people spinning round until very dizzy and then trying to run in a straight line in a confined space. Tim Ripper’s attempt guaranteed him a place in the Ten Rotation Hall of Fame (Good work Timmy).
The Next day offered some respite to anyone in need with the choice of a tinkle down the lower Roy or a high water run down the Spean gorge.
The lower Roy was unbelievably dull so will not be mentioned here. The more enthusiastic group of ‘messers’ set off to the Spean Gorge where they met another paddler who was described as “Straight out of the 80’s” and whose kit looked like it came from the depths of our very own kit shed. The river was run, smiles ensued and all was fine. So off to the café they went where they had a moment of clarity and realised there was time to run another river. The obvious choice was to return to the Roy Gorge and salvage some pride. Little is known of what happened here but what we do know is that Danny said it was one of the best rivers he had ever run and in honour of it his first child will be named ‘Roy Gorgina,’ so my guess is that it wasn’t too bad!
Day 5 – Falls of Lora
An early start was needed to catch the tide and the awesome wave which it brought. As the tide falls, the entire content of Loch Etive tries to do the same and piles under a bridge to form a massive surging wave. The long arm of the law appears to reach to every part of this country, including the stanchions of Connel Bridge. With the police banning us from using this usual photographer’s hotspot there wasn’t really any point in enduring the massive beatings following the wave. A few people endured some trashings for the adrenaline rush of the wave, and it wouldn’t be nice to name and shame the young red Riot Air paddler who parted company with his boat. Most people had some old-skool fun on the small wave ‘round the side, with paddle spins and guitar playing being the hottest moves on show.
Day 6 – Ben Nevis and River Etive
With the weather looking stunning for Scotland at Easter (i.e. slightly less cloud than usual), some of the group decided to attempt the mighty Ben Nevis. This merry band of intrepid explorers set off in earnest with promises to be back by 1pm to go paddling. As they struggled on upwards, this time was moved to 2pm. Then 3pm. By this stage they were sliding along through ankle-deep snow. Upon reaching the summit, Dickie decided that the only thing left to do was to get naked, so strip off all his clothes he did. Photos can be supplied on request, for all those that are interested in what the fuss is about. Meanwhile, the rest of the party decided to go and paddle the Etive. When the weary mountaineers arrived they found the paddlers approximately 20 yards downriver from the get-in, with one boat recirculation at the bottom of Triple 2, having already rescued Mr Hill, whose ‘deck popped, forcing him to swim’. When everyone (boats included) was safe back on the side it was decided to abandon the idea of paddling the rest of the river. Lots of fun was had running Triple 3, with different challenges: how deep can you go; run it backwards and a hammer to finish the day.
Day 7 – No Etive
After packing up the huts, we said goodbye to Roy Bridge and headed south. We stopped to look at the Etive but it was still too high. After lots of faffing about who was to be in which car, we left Scotland behind and trundled on down the M6.
- Pyranha Truck
- Rolls Royce Phantom
- Huge dump truck
And so we managed to survive Scotland, ( quite amazing considering we didn’t go to the pub once the whole time we were there! I know, it’s unbelieveable…). Big thank you to Danny for all his effort running the joint, and also to the river leaders, van and car drivers – we couldn’t have done it without you.
Taken from Mouthfuls Summer 06
National Student Rodeo 2006
Steve had driven all day from Scotland and he wanted to paddle – paddle he was going to!
The van screeched to a halt in the car park at HPP and a quick run into the office told us we had half an hour left before the course closed. Cue the most faff-free unloading of the van ever known. The secret to this involves opening the back doors of the van and allowing everything to flow out. This was followed by high-speed faff-free changing and we were onto the water in five minutes.
Our brief assessment of the course, each of us planning our tactics for the following day, left us feeling refreshed and ready. Being highly sensible students we opted to set up the tents early in the evening. This sensibility also led us to phone the other half of SUCC’s rodeo squad, on their way from Southampton, and inform them that the rodeo was again cancelled due to more flooding, but that they should really come for the party anyway. I don’t know the rest of the story, but I hear there was some serious consideration given to turning back early…
Now feeling quite hungry, we decided the six of us needed to go find some food. Problem: a Ford Transit van only has 3 seats. Solution: there’s plenty of space in the back, plenty of boats to sit on, and a bottle of vodka and coke to pass the time.
Friday night’s antics can best be summed up as follows:
Steve + Alcohol + Minibus = …(Get someone who was there to describe it if you really want to know, it wasn’t pretty).
Saturday morning was taken up by the Extreme Slalom, in which everyone paddled down the course, attempted to stay upright on top wave, hit a ball hanging over the water, pulled some old skool tricks and tried to splat a ‘rock’. As far as I can remember, everyone paddled well, the only note being that there is video with sound clip evidence that Dickie’s Mum can surf better than Mr Leyland. No comment.
Saturday afternoon was the heats for each category. A lot of effort and some enthusiastic paddling went on. Cat and Beth both made it to the Women’s Expert Finals, and well done to Helen R for making it to the Women’s Expert! Tony, Eric and Chris all made it to the Men’s Intermediate Final, despite both Tony and Eric not actually being students (and being under strict instructions NOT to get in to any finals as they had no student ID!). Steveo powered through to the Men’s Novice Finals.
Finally there was the King and Queen of the Wave events, where they all piled onto the Top Wave together and the last remaining paddler won! Eric and Beth were representing Southampton. Eric made the mistake of being first on (and hence first pushed off) the wave, while Beth bullied her way to the top and won herself a sparkly tiara as Queen of the Wave 2006!
We might have appeared to do alright on the water, but it was at the bar that SUCC members really showed what they were made of. We are now officially the best university drinking club in the country, and we think probably in the world seeing as teams would have been welcome from worldwide just they chose not to compete! Mr O’Connell kept up his high standards of entertainment as a turtle, and I believe still has possession of the legendary ‘buff’.
Sunday morning started much the same way as Saturday morning – dragging Steve out of bed. It was duo-day! We entered at least four teams, with quite a few comedy events including “Team Tiny’s” attempt at a duo-loop and the Steve & Dickie’s non-roll! Rich and I got into the heats where we proved we could roll…and that’s about it.
Steve seemed to excel under the aufluence of incohol and pulled all his tricks out of the bag to gain second in the Men’s Novice event! In the Women’s, Beth came 8 and Cat managed an excellent 4 overall. As a club, Southampton just missed a mention in the speeches at the end with a totally acceptable 4 . Go us! Thanks to everyone who came along, we all had an awesome event and I’m looking forward to next year already!
(Oh, we finished off the trip with a stop at a classy Nottingham kebab joint, highly recommended by Mr Harvey himself. Call him for directions if you’re ever in the area.)