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.

Perranporth 2005

The Freshers’ Fayre had been a success, the welcome meeting went well, despite Chav “It would have been fine with cordial” Mike vomming after half a pint of co-op snake bite. Many new people had been introduced to the Itchen, and said hello to new skills at the pool session. The time was ripe, to show them what a SUCC trip is all about!

So it was that we all met on an unseasonably warm Friday night at the boat hard. Despite most people being new to the trip thang, Faff was average, and we were well on our way by 6.30. The bus journey was interesting. My first time driving on a trip, and Tim Ripper navigating for me. It’s his route home, no worries I thought. However, news of traffic jams on the A35 lead us to taking an alternative route. On missing the turning to Salisbury, we ended up on minor country roads for a sizeable portion of the journey. There is now no doubt that I can handle a minibus like a pro! A chip stop at Honiton later and we arrived just after closing time. Bugger. Oh well, straight in to the drinking games then….

I don’t claim to remember details of the night, which is usually a sign that everything was successful. The freshers were mingling, the olds were drinking Woke™, all was as it should be. Until one or two people had a little too much. Both toilets had a vomiting person (both sexes represented), but Dickie chose the female toilets in which to letch offer valuable moral support. I think I nodded off just after a topless Dickie called someone a tw*t at 5am. Sounds about right.

Saturday everyone woke up bright and early as is usual on club trips (!). Bacon sandwiches all round and to the beach! ‘Twas a lovely sunny day, so no one was in much of a rush. Much faff later and many people are enjoying themselves on the water. Fresher fishing for the committee was most enjoyable, but did lead to me discovering my dry trousers hold water in better than they keep it out. Doh. Dickie woke up much later than everyone else, but still managed to be first in the water, opting for the lightweight paddling kit of just boardies. On asking him “Dickie – are you still perhaps a little bit drunk”, he replied “battered”. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is dedication.

After the majority are surfed out came the obligatory tea shop visit. Dickie and Thom lead the Freshers’ (using a High Vis jacket – safety first kids) to the retro 80s café, for some Tomato Soup and Ice Cream (Steveo, it’s called Flitwick’s restaurant, and is the finest purveyor of Tomato Soup in the UK – Dickie). Er, of course. This then lead to a walk up the picturesque hill side. It is at this point Dickie and Thom stripped the Freshers’ of their names, giving them all numbers instead. A game of “Getting to know you, learning to love you” involved rolling things at them, and asking questions. I’m sure it was truly special, but I went for a pasty and sunset body board instead.

Saturday night, and everyone is again enjoying a beer or two, in the fine establishment that is the Green Parrot. There is a bit of an olds/youngs divide, until a game of I have never commences, and some olds join the youngs to see what the excitement is all about. I seem to remember most of the I have nevers being quite unsuitable for a pre-watershed publication, and that Number 8 aka Juvenile Delinquent was at the heart of the more scandalous admissions.

Back to the hut for further drinking, no vomiting this evening from my recollection. Instead many walks in the fresh air down to the beach. An extensive hilltop walk lead us to a new mini-bay slightly further down, requiring only slightly dangerous pissed rock climbing to reach. Back to the hut, and more drinking ensued. A Perranporth tradition, the vicious pass the parcel was commenced. I don’t fully remember the details, but I seem to remember Dickie and Laurent (sorry, I don’t know his number) rather enthusiastically swapping clothes (and getting very naked in the process). Another forfeit of note was the particularly brave Elly Pryce taking a shower with a semi-drunk Damage. Respect!

Towards the end of the evening/start of the following morning a few of the more artistic SUCCers formed a bit of a band. The original components being a reasonably talented guitarist and singer. However, the alcohol flowing in many peoples veins lead them to believe that what the duo truly needed was some accompaniment on the pots and pans. Hmmm, I went for a walk, and when I came back all was quiet. Except Dickie. Again.

Bright and early again Sunday, and down to the beach. Apologies if this is beginning to sound like an extended version of Tiny Tim (Mike no vomiting during this please). Much surfing again, some body boarding too. Dr.Matt found himself a lifetime companion, but tragically lost Inflatable Ingrid in a fatal Duo incident. May she be deflated in peace.

A fine journey home on the minibus, made only interesting by an obscenely long stop at Bridport, and the fine musical choice of Beth and Tim, including French language Disney songs and some Vengaboys. No finer driving music I say.

A good trip had by one and all.

Scotland Easter 2005

A merry band of students and ex-students from Southampton (and one hanger-on from Warwick) made their merry way to merry Scotland in April 2005 for a jolly old time. Thinking about it now, it is actually a surprise anybody got there at all. With lactose boy choosing roundabout exits to take us back the way we’d just come, football fans deciding that the motorway was the best place to park for the England game, the van voicing it’s displeasure by locking itself with the keys inside and Rich Hill deciding that the pin at the top of the rev counter was a target rather than a limit, it was a pleasant surprise to find ourselves a while later in a bunkhouse with beds for all and enough alcohol to douse the Mountbatten building.

Sailors wile away the time talking about weather fronts, gardeners chat excitedly about the current rise in aphid population and paddlers chat about the river levels. It’s just the way the world spins. But BOY did we do river level chat with a vengeance! The lack of water was a constant issue for the week in question and this meant hunting far and wide for rivers with enough water to float our boats (so to speak). Books and oracles were consulted, wise men were called up from retirement and every inch of paved road was used to get us to rivers worth making up stories about when we got home. In the end the people in the know managed to find enough fantastic rivers to keep us amused for the whole week.

The Spean Gorge provided a good start to the week enabling us all to get used to the local water temperature (some more intimately than others) a few to try out their skills on a brand new river and Louise to use her first aid knowledge and florescent jacket. The Findhorn was a drive worthy of a TV documentary but possibly the best river of the week containing lots of interesting sections that were testing and tons of fun – and new to almost everyone. Other rivers tickling our cheese and pickle sandwiches during the week were the Arkaig (slow, pretty, river polo, bridge jumping), Lower Tummel (bimble, one good drop, dam that should have been releasing), Tay (‘elite’ group, rafting, smallest waves in the world), Gary (raft dodging, play spots galore, river shuttle, dam that was releasing!) and the Etive (classic river, steep drops). The play wave at Falls of Lora also provided much enjoyment for both the participants (being an awesome wave with huge play potential) and the spectators (because the swirly water demons lurking after the wave were out in force with particular eyes for Palm and Tim!)

Even with all this excitement during the day there was still time to enjoy the evenings and it goes without saying that many of the highlights of the week weren’t river related or remembered by many of the instigators. The keg of bitter and local pub provided respites from the usual beer and wine but all varieties contributed to some good times and unpleasant photos.

Scotland offers much more besides incredible rivers and some of us took full advantage. Ben Nevis was climbed, Tea shops were frequented, rugby balls were thrown (Chris disapproved), Diaries were written in (Chris approved) and climbing walls and restaurants were visited to get the most out of the short time available. It was a fantastic week that contained many more memorable events than can be told over dinner so I suggest you find someone who was there, allow them tell you some tall tales and then sign up for the coming Scotland trip to experience the highland water for yourself.

Dart November 2004

Dart Trip report

Twas dead of night, well 6.00! All was calm by the mighty itchen, Only to be disturbed by the thunder of a transit, All burst into action………………………..well chris did.

The straps were found, the boats loaded,





It was meant to be simple

It ended physical.

You see I was going to write a hilarious poem for the entire trip, but hey, lifes too short. Instead I will write a mildly funny, probably ranting description of the trip.

The trip down was simple for most people, i.e. straight down to Honiton, onto Exeter and then a left to Kingsteighnton. Gibbons car, I’m afraid including me, decided that they wanted to explore (well to be honest we missed many crucial turnings). This meant that we saw the delights of Poole, went round one roundabout three times, and were really only sustained throughout the journey by the thought that once we got to Honiton we could indulge in the feast that are the Honiton Fish and Chips. We weren’t amused that by the time we got to the fish shop, we only had to wait five minutes and the minibus crew were in. Apparently they left twenty minutes after we did, and they were in a crappy minibus! Things were not looking good for the street cred of the gibbon car. Despite the fact that we probably averaged well over ninety on the entire way down, the minibus still managed to beat us to the pub by half a pint.

Friday night, as some people know more intimately more than others, involved drinking, drinking, drinking games, and maybe a few more drinks. Some enjoyed the drink more than others, with Mikey WannaB proving that yes it is possible to get hideously drunk, …….when no one else is! Well done my friend. The hardcore group (Beth, Stevie, Rich, Will and someone else – to be honest I cant remember) stayed up playing 21’s till the early hours. We didn’t get past number 8 most of the time, which resulted in Dr Matt the following morning being able to recite the entire game, having had to listen to us half the night. Oh and I believe that it was also the night that Hurfo and his ladies were getting to know each other – the night ended quickly when they realised that Hurfo had fallen asleep – smooth….. The following day, …. Mikey WannaB looked shit (sorry Mike but you did!)

Hurfo looked as though he realised he had just lost his chance of fulfilling his teenage dream.

We made our slow way to the Dart, and unloaded at the pick up… what madness was this I hear you cry…yes we unloaded the boats only to load them again and drive to the drop of. I hear a repeat of the rhyme coming on.

The river was low, but good for us that were (are), frankly, a bit shit. The run was pretty uneventful, but did involve some swimming on sections, that frankly, were not even on features. Sam?…. Most people came out at the pick up smiling, cold, and a bit knackered. For the hardcore paddlers on the club, of which I believe even Chris was included in, it was straight back on the river for round two. For me it was about an hour and a half of hanging around in wet kit (don’t ask, even I don’t know why), and then back to the hut to make supper. After many accusations of forgetting to put the meat in the Bolognese, of putting meat in the veggie dish (that really didn’t happen), and trying to burn down the hut….don’t panic Chris it was just spaghetti ‘overcooking’, we all ate in manner much reminiscent of communist Russia. (Where that came from I don’t know, its getting late….)

That evening was surreal in so many bizarre ways, many which I can’t even remember, but I will attempt to give a sense of the scene. Scattered in little pools around the floor were strewn portions of Spag Bol, (we will return to pools of other kinds later on…… Mike?) in a corner was Mikey WannaB refusing to touch any drink ever again, and vowing to become a new man from this point on (enjoying your beer mikey?). I believe that Dickie (more of him later) initiated a game of spots, resulting in Essex Mikey resembling a little boy they used to send up northern chimneys. As the evening wore on we saw the horrific return of the Custard used earlier. This time it involved much force feeding of me (it was actually quite nice). Stevie then commented that he could do much better. By the time it actually got to him, it had evolved in the mighty monstrosity that was MACHUSTARD. (other spellings are available, ask Stevie). Machustard, to be called machustard, must have the following ingredients, Custard (obviously) brandy, and mini cheddars. It must also have a man that has been dirtied enough by Dickie, and therefore insane enough to take up the challenge. Stevie looked a bit worse for wear after….not bad enough to jump on Dave, when asleep. Dave is renowned for being an angry man, and cant even remember throwing Stevie and me off him.

Dave is a very angry young man!

Returning to the pools, of various kinds, there were accusations on the Sunday morning, of Essex Mikey feeling the need, shall we say to ‘relieve himself’, in a places not suitable for the task. Oh dear Mikey, when will you learn….. This could have been parallel to Dickie and Lucy playing ‘truth or dare’……

Next morning, Dave gets everyone in the mood for yet more extreme paddling, by throwing Stevie out (much like a cat) onto the wet grass. He is such a nice man, is he not? We unpacked in the right place on Sunday morning. Although tempers began to get frayed as tiredness wore in – Jackie, poor Jackie, had to withstand the wrath of angry Chris.

Paddling, cold, fun, more water, woo hoo! The water was higher this time. Repacking the transit proved, well, difficult to say the least. I’m sure we ended up gaining a boat, because they would just not fit in! There are so many other things that went on, I probably have missed out the funniest moment of the trip. However I hope this gave you a sense of the trip – there was some paddling, honest, much drinking, and I’m sure you will all agree, a good time had by all.

Cheers, Will

Woolacombe 2000

Woolacombe, Devon, 20-22 October 2000

On the second weekend of a new academic year 40+ hardy souls ventured off into the unknown that is North Devon. They carried nothing with them but their excessively large Invaders and plenty of smeggy Kit. The Minibus journey seemed to go in a flash except for those in the Blue bus that spent 20 minutes trying to refit the Petrol cap. But eventually all of the buses arrived safely at the Scout hut in Braughnton. With in seconds of arrival Mikey B was stripped and left in the middle of the floor minus his trousers. That other serial victim of canoe club cruelty was already strung up the Flagpole.

This was no ordinary day as it was Karen’s and Paul’s birthday and so a cake was magiced out of the packet and distributed around the hungry masses. Unfortunately Paul’s housemates had been kind enough to give him in his words “a very large firework” that he and Aiden decided would be good to let of at 1 o’clock in the morning. This didn’t enamour us to either the neighbour who came to complain about the noise or the friendly Policeman who payed us a visit. Eventually, after a large amount of beer had been drunk and several human pyramids formed, people retired to their beds leaving a select band up until the wee small hours. It was odd therefore that this same small band were up first in the morning and trying to work out how exactly you cook for 50. This was managed and the food was suprisingley edible even if it took 3 hours to cook!

So then after the usual phaffing off we went to Woolacombe for some serious surfing. With the committee teaching whilst up to their waists in the surf the freshers and other new members got to try out the surf. As usual there was the odd swim on what were very nice big waves. Most suprising of which was our former president, Ben, who in mitigation was actually almost hit by some random paddler. Luckily for all concerned the large number of invaders in the water didn’t skewer any defenceless surfers, have to try harder next time. So after a few hours of playing in the surf off everyone trekked to the local coffee shop that also happened to serve beer to warm up a bit and then on back to the hut.

The absent trip organiser had been kind enough to suggest that we all might want to go in school boys and school girls uniform to the pub, the committee in drag. The current committee declined this offer but not so some of the older members. Some how Paul still doesn’t look very feminine even with a skirt lipstick and various other make up on. But before we got to go to the pub there was the small matter of food to be dealt with. The thought of cooking Chilli for 50 people is frightening enough but try doing it when the stove will suddenly light from one of he valves! After the chilli came the custard which Joel and Ben had a downing competition with (Ben easily defeated Joel who actually seemed worried that the custard was burning his throat).

So properly filled up and raring to go off we all went to the Pub and what a nice pub it was too having been gracious enough to lend us its rear room for he night complete with skittle alley. The landlord was even kind enough to go and find us a bottle of Tequila to commit suicide with. Though unfortunately one rather large fresher jumped off the table and put his head through the ceiling. A round of drinking games was started though it fell a bit flat as one end of the table was too drunk to think so just drank more. After the final orders had been called and it was time to go home there was a very inebriated member of he committee seen wearing a lab coat trying to work out how to get back into the scout hut, the answer is to pull not push. As the night went on various people drifted off to bed leaving another group of idiots to stay up until the wee small hours, though this time they found Toby’s video camera. Eventually they all departed and were not seen again until the breakfast was cooked on the Sunday. Joel and more culpable Chris failed this feat. They introduced the collected masses to barbecue flavoured baked beans, otherwise known as burnt.

Chris Vian