Scotland 2006

(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.

Notable sightings:

  • 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.

National Student Rodeo 2006

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.)

Christmas Dart 2005

Taken from mouthfuls christmas 2005

The Dart December 2005

What happened on the Dart Trip Steveo? Dart would be telling!

It only works if you say it in a dodgy West Country accent. Ask George to oblige if you’re struggling to get it.

Friday, Boat Hard, Boats in van. This time though, the Van is to be driven by me. After much arguing with Stu, Martin and everyone else in the Minibus, it was agreed I was allowed to keep my tape adapter. By agreed, I mean I dictated the result, despite claims that my sole passenger, George, should be entertainment enough.

Driving conditions were interesting; Me and George were constantly surprised just what high crosswinds can do to the direction a long wheel base, hi-cube transit (read giant sail) is traveling in. Ironically, after my victory with the tape adapter, it started playing up mid journey. George felt the best chance of fixing it involved holding out in the wind and rain for half a minute. We were both surprised when this didn’t fix it. Honest.

Much dodgy local radio later and we arrived at the hut, and had time to make it to the pub for last orders, bonus! Many paddling tales were told by those who had paddled the Dart during the day, exciting those yet to paddle with stories of lots of water! Except George, who spent most of the time exercising his wrist with the Gyroscope (that thing that looked like an Ariel liqui-tab). He has a weak wrist apparently.

On returning to the hut, much drinking took place, and of course the odd couple of drinking games. The return of some old favourites – Deutsches Erotica, and the learning of some new – Knob, Plonker, Bollocks. It was shortly after these that George demonstrated his ability to entertain the masses. I don’t fully remember the events leading to it, but me and George agreed that I would attempt to eat 3 dry wheat bisks in a minute (like Weetabix, only cheaper) if he managed to do so successfully, which he was adamant was not a problem. For those who haven’t seen the video, George did not complete the challenge, he just ended up spilling wheat bisk all over the floor. You spill it, you snort it George. He did indeed, and I quote “Hoover it like a Bitch”. Georges hoovering skills impressed Tony, who then proceeded to drop his trousers and mount George. Whatever floats your boat. (Oooh you little tease—Tony (probably)).

At midnight, the celebration of Mikey Wannabs birthday took place. Myself and Danny prepared a suitable beverage for Mr.B, containing a bunch of alcoholic things, some Pepsi and Paprika. After much singing of the classics “Happy Birthday”, “Why was he born so beautiful?” and “Mike is the captain of our ship” he still hadn’t downed the pint. So we sang them all again and he did it. He claims it was quite nice, but that he really didn’t want another, thanks all the same.

Saturday morning and many people arose very early to go and paddle the Upper Dart. Many people stayed in bed and had a bacon sandwich instead, me included. Minimal faff (maybe, I can’t remember) later and we were at the get in, kitted up and ready to paddle. Some pre-paddling shenanigans took place, involving much bundling and chest jumping. All good fun! The loop was running at a decent (it looked good to me anyway!) level, and everyone enjoyed seeing the Dart a little fuller than it had been 2 weeks previous.

Off the water, some free cheesy chips were enjoyed by a lucky few, courtesy of the man in the Dart café. However, the main culinary excitement was to come later, Christmas dinner! Back at the hut, the festive spirit was high. Mark had managed to bodge the broken tape adapter to work in the hut, so that Christmas tunes filled the air! The traditional festive meal was served, club spag bol, and crackers were pulled. The same five jokes were told many a time, people donned colourful paper hats and no end of fun was had with crap plastic toys! All was followed by Christmas pudding. Alas, Brandy had been deemed “too expensive”, so some Vodka was scrounged and Mike Buntons pudding was set alight in honour of his growing old!

Off to the pub for some beer, crisps and chat. Which lead to Danny and some chums agreeing to paddle the loop in the dark. After I’d had a couple of pints, it sounded like an awesome plan, I’ve always wanted to sellotape glowsticks to myself and go down a river. However, on departing the pub, Me, Dr.Nick and Seb all agreed it was much colder and darker outside the pub, and probably not ideal paddling conditions. Instead, we returned to the hut and commenced the consumption.

Oh! What consumption it was. I don’t fully remember the night, and anything from here on in might be more speculation/retelling/Chinese whispers than the rest of my reports. It all started with a game of Ring of Fire, as all good evenings do. The cards were written on the whiteboard to prevent disagreement, although they were made up because we couldn’t remember them all. Oh well, you can’t win them all. It is at this point my memory is a little hazy. By all accounts of those sleeping, both in the hut and neighboring villages, I was quite a loud chairman. However, in my defense, the Bunton Brothers did need controlling. A game of categories lead to Tony Bunton (From hereon to be called MR.BUNTON SENIOR) claiming American was a language, and Mike Bunton (From hereon to be called MR BUNTON JUNIOR) backing him up. After much arguing, and shouting on my half, the monsieurs Bunton had racked up approximately 20 fingers each. It was agreed for MR BUNTON SENIOR that a Stella bottle full of an Amaretto/Tequila combo was an acceptable substitute. He necked it, and looked much worse the wear for having done it. Respect. I can’t remember what MR BUNTON JUNIOR did, but I think it’s fair to say he was probably battered anyway. Any accusation that I got away with claiming “Antipodean” as a language can be combated by the fact I drank a triple Tequila to leave the table, despite being the chairman.

Beyond this, I know that Tim C downed a pint in record time, and that I did a Tequila suicide as did Tim C, because I have video evidence. I also know, that I attempted to recreate Machustard. I’m not quite sure what this years ingredients were, but they most definitely did not include Mini Cheddars and Stickle Bricks. Brown sauce, lager and plain crisps have been speculated as their replacements. It was tasty enough, but more fun was had flinging it, which I know occurred because of the state my jumper and the floor was in. Me and Mr.Casalis also incurred injurychasing Stu (probably being a juvenile delinquent again), which lead to cut knees. Which we both poured vinegar in to, in return for cheese on toast. I can only assume it was worth it.

After the events of Saturday night, I felt surprisingly well on Sunday morning. Some major faff this morning, I believe attributed to MR BUNTON JUNIOR having the keys on him to the hut, preventing us from locking up. Note – if you are trusted with the keys, it is in your best interests to remember you have them! The river was still at a good level, and the day was sunny. Ideal conditions for Team Fun! Myself, Dr.Nick, Seb, Tom W and Laura all jumped off of a cliff in to the unseasonably warm Dart (I may have been wearing a Beer Thermal. Oh, no I remember, it was just a pair of board shorts.). The seal launch was enjoyed by a few, and Holne bridge offered another jumping point. Most notable jumps included Seb, who got a nosebleed, making him look double hard, and George, who rotated during freefall, landing on his front. For those who can’t see the immediate problem with this, his reaction was a high pitched “My balls!”.

A smooth departure from the get out, and everyone was home in good time. Another trip enjoyed by all, touted by some as “the best trip I’ve ever been on, in the world, ever”.


The Barle 2005

The Barle November 2005

Steveo, do you know how to run a trip? Barley.

Boom Boom.

I’m getting better at these, don’t you think?! It started at the boat hard, boats on van, chip shop en route, get to hut. You’ve got the picture by now.

Although it wasn’t quite that simple, the hut was a little elusive. Just past the pub apparently. Just call the Scout master they said. Oh dear. It wasn’t just past the pub, and all we could get was his answerphone. Solution – have a pint. It worked, the Scout master turned up at the pub, they’d been playing Charity Bingo. A couple of Cheddar Valleys (for those not in the know, it’s the luminous orange cider available at the Seahorse Inn. Imagine a pint of Kia Ora and you’re on the way) and the Scout master had finished his pint so was ready to introduce us to our accommodation.

There were a couple of rules to the hut, namely not going near the Karate stuff. Which was dangerously close to getting broken before the Scouters had even left us alone. Club curiosity eh?! After deciding what could and could not be used as a roll-mat replacement, a table and some cheers had materialized in the middle of the hut, and drinking games ensued. A slow start with some spot game and a bit of what the f*** (this is a family publication) and it was on to the hard stuff. My personal highlights were the beautifully choreographed introduction to Deutsches Erotica (I gave up on the family publication idea) lead by Danny, and of course Ring of Fire. John Goode took the position of chairman, but promptly needed support as he forgot which card did what. After Ring of Fire some went to bed. I’m not sure if John Stockley did or not, but he downed a pint of crap for the 4th King too. A lot didn’t go to bed. Danny introduced a few of the hardcore to a new game, a Chinese game, an intellectual game. He then introduced us to Taiwanese and Philipino variations of the game. All this became a bit too much for Fresher Charlie, who as far as I know is the only person to chunder on themselves, and sleep through it. Whatever Trevor, Ming Chowmein!

Away from the drinking however, romance was blossoming. Noted only by their absence were a certain social sec (I’ll remind you Hannah and Lucy don’t come on trips) and a certain fresher (we’ll call her Laura, because it’s her name). After some espionage, they were tracked down to the gate of the hut, “chatting”. Mmmm, is that what the kids are calling it these days?

A good nights sleep and a bacon and egg sandwich later, we make it to the get in. A picturesque location, populated by some of those open boater types. The get in doubles up as a road to landrover owners, providing some mild pre-faff entertainment. After much discussion, suitable faff follows involving van and minibus relocation, and people hunting high and low for kit, which they had definitely packed. While the shuttle was taking place, president James took an awesome warm up, making sure everyone was ready for the adventure that lay ahead.

The Barle journey was notable mainly for the high rock to water ratio. Despite being bumpy, our group had fun playing the Chinese intellectual game on the water. After commencement of “Ping, Pang, Pong” by our leader Danny, last person to find an eddie had 2 digits banked for the evening. More fun was had when we realized we were the first to the bottom, but didn’t have any keys. Ah. Oh well, let’s run around until our feet actually freeze and drop off!

A particularly cold getting changed session later and it’s out with the traditional ham and cheese rolls, which are fastly becoming a favourite of mine. As darkness fell, some shuttling occurred, during which some British Bulldog was played in the car park, to everyone’s delight. The excitement continued when we visited a spooky deserted mill on the way back to the hut. A giant weir keeps the hardened paddlers interested, and the Blair Witch stick men and cans hanging from the roof kept everyone else interested. It was agreed that for future trips it would make for ideal accommodation, the gentle breeze/draught would offer excellent kit drying opportunities!

Back to the hut for some traditional club spag bol, followed by not so traditional, but ever so lovely swiss roll and custard. After the culinary treat its back to the Seahorse Inn, to celebrate the growing old of Stu. He may or may not have been 21 at the time, I can’t remember, but it was a good time for everyone to donate some cash to buy the man a dirty pint. I tasted a bit, and it was worth every penny. Not sure who finished it, but well done that (wo)man! More Cheddar Valley was also to be seen – 2 nights in a row sounds like a recommendation to me, check it out next time you’re in that neck of the woods!

No points to anyone who predicted that we went back to the hut after the pub, it’s a bit of a recurring theme! Again, no points to anyone who predicted that Ring of Fire kicked off. My memory is a little hazy, but I think John forgot what the cards did and everyone was getting very good at banking mistakes. Good job! After many people had gone to bed, George provided much entertainment (as ever, thankyou George!) being quite the knowledgeable man. Those of us still awake managed to convince him that “cold heat” existed. George was puzzled but then justified it by saying the Sun didn’t exist, it was just a lack of dark. Or something. I’m not entirely sure what he was spouting, but I think it proves the fact that 8 cans of Red Stripe and some dodgy shots does not an astrophysicist make. Another lesson learnt – Mikey B loves a lemon in his mouth at midnight. Bonus Bucking Burto points!

Despite our love of rocks (remember kids, Rocks are your friends, hug rocks) it was decided that the Dart would be a better paddle for Sunday. A warm up was most definitely needed, the night before had been particularly cold and most kit was frozen solid. I had to crack my board shorts back in to shape, and Tim R had to remove the large blocks of ice from his wet suit boots before he could snap them back in to shape! Beautiful weather and a slightly better (ever so slightly) rock to water ratio made the Dart an enjoyable paddle for most. Some cheesy chips at the get out, and it was time to head back to Southampton.

Again, another trip enjoyed by all. (Of course they did, me and Beth only run enjoyable trips!)

The Usk 2005

So Steveo, how good was the Usk trip? I was drunk, don’t usk me!

Boom boom.

Now that I’ve got the first line out of the way I can start the trip report proper. After much debate as to which river would be best to take our lovely new people down, the Usk was chosen. Bonus – some motor way driving in the minibus!

It all began, as all good trips do, at the Boathard sometime after Countdown has finished. Yes, I did have to miss Deal/No Deal, but Noel Edmonds is getting on my wick anyway. It’s not like the banker is really on the phone is it, it’s just him improvising a rubbish conversation. Anyway, I digress. All things were packed, and people were on the bus. The lovely drivers for this trip were myself and Jackie. Unfortunately for most people on the bus, the age old law of “I’m driving, so I get final say on the music” came in to play. Which is why for the first half of the journey everyone on the bus was subjected to the Charlotte Church album at very loud volumes. At the food stop most people were happy to admit to any crimes they had or hadn’t committed, and some were willing to walk the leg from Bristol to Cwmdu.

After much coaxing, and less controversial music later, we arrived in the idyllic town village/hamlet house/pub combo that is Cwmdu. To the Farmers Arms, and half the pub is ours. Much beer later and back to the hut. Not sure why, but a few people hit the sack early, namely George, Tim and Tom. Those still awake find it highly amusing to see how much damage can be caused with a burnt cork to the aforementioned – answer = lots!

Saturday morning is a bright an early start, with everyone eager to get on the water. The level is reasonable, and everyone enjoys a paddle. Some enjoy it so much, they decide to continue paddling past the get out. The leader of the following group informs the observers on the bridge that a somewhat dangerous weir is ahead. Some Baywatch running along the bank reveals everyone is safe, albeit with one Fresher sat on a rock in the middle of the river for a while. Someone should point out eddies are found behind rocks, not on them. A notable swim is Thom. Not sure why, but I’m sure the reason will become clear at some point (Steveo, it was my second only river ever—Thom (Thom you paddled the hard bit fine then fell in on flat water – Chris)). What with the trip being so popular, two runs were needed. I volunteered to ferry people about in the minibus and take part in the second run. The hardened crew of people left with me were given the task of making sandwiches for the soon to be hungry paddlers getting off the river. Plates and plates of beautiful sandwiches were made, and presented in a simply delightful manner. Unfortunately, we didn’t think the logistics through completely and left the sandwiches in the hut. Much to the distaste of everyone doing both runs, who weren’t returning to the hut. Ah. A quick sandwich run by Thom and everyone is much happier, and the faff is calmed. Some loudish Half Man Half Biscuit from the minibus helped to raise spirits.

In a mould-breaking tea, many sausages were fried and a trip to a not so local chip shop meant that everyone enjoyed an alternative club feast. Followed by one of the most creative puddings I’ve ever had the honour of; Bananas with grated chocolate (white or milk!) and various sauces, administered by Hugh and Thom in a variety of manners, including some, all or none of the following – creative, arty, thoughtful, generous, dangerous, messy. Sometimes people even got the sauces they asked for. Sometimes.

Evening falls and it’s back to the Farmers Arms. A fine evening of beer, wine and a little bit of Tequila ensued. After some alleged Dart Banditers received a stern lecture on the wrongs off breaking access agreements and it’s back to the hut for more drinking fun. But no! Only seconds from the door of the Farmers Arms and we’re in the middle of a full scale midnight rally! What excitement! Cries of “oooh”, “aaahh”, “was that a Nova?!” and “I really think he needs to work on his lane management” were not uncommon. Thom even joined in for the small stretch between the pub and the hut, wheelspinning and attempting to take out the crowd in the hut car park.

After the good cars have gone, and everyone got bored watching Grannys carefully accelerating their Skodas past, it’s inside for some Ring of Fire. It’s around now I have to admit to going to bed somewhat early. All I know, is that the next morning people were eager to show me pictures of Stevie Shaw covered in cork, Jack with a giant shaving foam penis drawn on his chest and pictures of possibly the best game ever – Bucking Burto (information to be found elsewhere in this fine publication!).

Sunday, and the hardcore paddlers are greeted with a treat, the Usk is in Spate! It is indeed big, fast and chocolatey. Alas, those of us not so confident with our paddling decide it’s not ideal for us. Instead, we head off to practice some skills in the canal and eat more cheese and ham rolls. Rock on!

By all accounts the Usk in spate was decidedly more exciting than the canal. However, those who did paddle the Usk missed out on a certain mischievous minibus driver repeatedly inching across a car park whenever Mike Bunton tried to get on. Still makes me giggle. Hehe.

A fine bus journey home, and another fine trip enjoyed by many.