Dart Day Trip 2007

What better to do on a free thursday during exams than to run a day trip to the Dart?


  • A uni minibus limited to 60
  • A car
  • Lots and lots of straps
  • Playboats NOT creekers
  • A unhealthily early start

After a Maccy D’s stop to settle the Jesters stomach, we got to newbridge and agreed that there was “Loads of Water!” (slightly optomistic). Luckily it wasn’t too low, and the paddle to RDCP went without a hitch. Sightings included freshers loving the seal launch, Thom’s comedy flop off Holne Bridge, and Stubbles grinning like a cheshire cat down tripple 3.

All boats and kit made their way up to the bus, where they were returned back to the river to continue on the mighty lower dart. Everyone was very nervous about the club’s first descent, many of the leaders never having run continuous grade 1. Luckily Polo Nick has run it a few years back, and assured us there was nothing to worry about, informing us that he would meet us at the get out “It’s by a bridge”.

The lower proved to be a dart horse (pun) and it was agreed in should be run on future trips. Not too dissimilar to the loop, however a massive horizon line puzzled everyone. It turned out to be a tall but shallow-sloped weir with exiting steps on the left designed to put the wind up dozy paddlers.

A quick change, and we were back in time for the pool session! Thanks, Tim!

Scotland Easter 2007

Fun! Cocktails, paddling, skiing, mountain bikeing, beer, swimming, snow, rain, sun, wind, fun.

Friday Night…. the journey, during which no drivers got bored, fell asleep, or wore a stupid hat.

Saturday morning….the rest of the journey and the Middle Orchy.

Sunday..Snow.. Spean Gorge

Monday..Snow.. Etive

Tuesday..Snow.. Skiing/Snowboarding.. Harvey joins the gang.

Wednesday.. Spean Gorge on two pipes. Morley drops sideways doing a paddle twirl into a hole and survives…Alan gets sucked back and doesn’t.

Thursday.. Upper Roy, Gorge and lower. Laurent attempts to make Tony sick by driving Burto’s car. Swimtastic! Roch gets sucked off by Roy! Roy steals Vians boat! Roy makes Beth wet! Roy makes many more swim.

Friday.. Findhorn

Saturday.. The Etive in the warm, an amazing amount of fun involving right angle falls. No-one wants to leave

Sunday Morning… the final leg of the journey, unpacking very quietly at 5 in the morning, an interesting experience when George is involved.

River Dart 2007

A Dart weekend by Monkey and Squelcher… no- Squelcher and Monkey


As Jenny looked in dismay at the 3 of us being picked up from Glen, we grinned insanely! Somehow it seemed we couldn’t quite comfortably fit all our stuff (possibly because some of us had a little excess baggage – no names mentioned…ahem…cough**Jo …cough**) into the car. At this point the packing argument between myself and Squelch had reached a point where I was stressed enough to put on 2 hats and refuse to talk to her without using the word ‘moron’. Having made it to the boat hard we spilled out of Jenny’s luxurious automobile and loaded up for the journey ahead.

Having shot gunned the fasted vehicle known to man, I set off (after firmly putting on my seatbelt) for an epic journey to the Dart – I was willing to lose a few limbs to get there faster! And I shot gunned the anti-tardis that is Mr Harvey’s 5-boat-carrying-extreme-monster. Walkie-talkies in hand we set off heading straight for the Chinese. It seems the walkie-talkie idea was a perfect way to continue the banter between cars. The plan was going well we sped ahead making it to the Chinese with all limbs intact!! I consumed the best jumbo sausage (battered of course) known to man and the somewhat ‘phallic comments’ had us politely requested to eat outside like the dogs we are… we obliged. We continued on, pas-de-problem and arrived safely at the DART (yes, I said DART hut)… but where was Speedy Mcspeedy? …well speedy Mcspeedy was indeed speedy Mcspeedy but unfortunately it seems the tactic of driving to a place you’ve heard of is not the best of ideas. So we headed triumphantly to Bampton thinking there was no way anyone could catch us now! Hmm Kingsteinton you’d think a place like that would be on the map – no where to be found – I was rather surprised seeing as my hamlet St.Donats had made the cut – hmm I guessed it was just special. The absence of Kingsteinton on the map was beginning to cause a bit of concern – ah yes the walkie-talkies would have been a great idea at this point, unfortunately Mr Thom Harvey’s amazing technology seemed to lack battery power, therefore he is responsible for all driving errors made by team speedy. Cruising through Bampton we’re all feeling a little excited that we recognise places – we must be nearly there –time to wake up Jenny and get the map out of Helen Wilkin’s clutches! “There’s the pub – wait…that’s the pub for the Barle!! Shit we’re in Bampton!” Cries Laurent in a rather squeaky high pitched voice!! Right on cue comes a phone call from Laura– how handy! Yup it was confirmed Bampton was definitely not the place to be!! After a little touring of the country with the map safely back in the hands of the only non-blonde in the car we made it to the right hut!! But damn it we were the first one’s to the Barle hut!!

Eventually, we ALL came back to the hut after some pint-age. A rather miraculous discovery was made. A mysterious, glittery pink tube. Found next to cement and chalk- but what could it be!? Only two ways to find out. Cat…obviously having missed any childhood experience of eating things she wasn’t meant to… ate it. And our beloved captain Tim wrote ‘TIM’ on his face… obviously out of politeness to those who had forgotten.


The early rising olds set off for adventures new and exciting… then they decided to do the Upper Dart. We met them all at the Loop get in with one of their party looking slightly more moist than the rest. No it wasn’t Dr Matt (who we though would be too tired to paddle after his exciting night of drilling) Bastard. But, Mr Vian who it seems has no problems rolling a mini bus but can’t roll a kayak. The joys of the loop began – unfortunately my line seemed to be blocked by a humungous tanker captained by Mr Harvey. Overall a fantastic day on the water, everyone did really well and levels were lovely. We continued on down the Lower Dart- chasing ‘dartmoor chickens’ down the whole way and happily sliding down the ‘DEATH WEIR’ – it went something like this…(approaching the horizon line) oh dear…oh no what’s this…shit… I’m gonna die…(on reaching the edge of the weir) oh… that’s rubbish –so much for the ‘Death’ Weir! After 6 swims in my group I was beginning to crave the sweet sweet taste of swim beer – alcoholic! However it would appear that Sheffield are a little stricter on their swim beer regulations that Southampton… we ended up going thirsty! 🙁 Only fair when you’re the one pushing them in!! That line was fine last time I swear…

Off to the pub for some much needed Wales vs Scotland rugby action- what a game eh Squelch? No comment – it’s all about lulling them into a false sense of security!! We returned back to the hut for a marathon of peeling and the best club food ever- bangers and mash. Wonderful. Happy and full there was only one place to go- the pub. After some throwing of twine ball fun – those mumblings of paddling the Dart at night were finally voiced by a drunken Danny. So we set off… put on damp kit – morons, piled into Mr Harvey’s car and gave clear instructions that he was to call the emergency services if we hadn’t arrived at Holme bridge in 90mins. He gave us clear promises that he would be nowhere to be seen at the first hint that he was parked in a ‘dogging spot’. But after all the excitement, the river had risen enough to give us doubts and we reluctantly decided that it would be more foolish than usual to get on… we returned home. Thom looked the most disappointed! While this excellent demonstration of canoe club faff continued the pub crew had managed to form a karaoke team of old and new ready to mutilate ‘Stand By Me’ in ways you’d never think were possible! We did however show excellent ad libing skills by singing words that for some reason did not appear on the screen!! After which we promptly decided to leave the establishment in fear that are fans might get a little too friendly…


A few of us started off on Sunday morning nice and early to fit in an Upper Dart run – wasn’t quite so early by the time you left!! George started his car using a spanner as some kind of electricity conducting device and although a little concerned for his health after passing a voltage through him, we continued. What my friend Jo here fails to mention is that even though they were in such a rush, somehow they managed to find time to tie a particularly fetching cone onto the roof of Thom’s car and to decorate the car park with an array of boats and straps – carnage!! The Upper was at lovely medium levels, and our group made it down with no worries. I seemed to spend a disturbing amount of time upside down but I firmly believe there is no better way to enjoy a river. Ahem. But after waiting at the Loop get on for the other group, we became a little concerned for the other group. They eventually turned up, and again Mr Vian looked a little soggy. Having become use to this, the thing that suggested that all may have not gone to plan was the severe limp he appeared to have arrived with. But hey if you do insist on swimming the mad mile what can you expect?!? After much reorganising of boats on roof racks we made it to the start of the loop to meet the upper crew of drowned rats. Rain a plenty meant water to the max, who knew the Dart Loop could actually have water!!! A great paddle by everyone in the harder conditions and we all made it to the get out ready for some of those tasty Asda Smart price sandwiches. Home time – now all we had to do was try and avoid Bampton!!

Agreed- a fantastic paddle this afternoon. Everyone did really well, especially Anna G in my group, who I have never seen smile so much after running triple 3 with no worries at all, and even staying calm while we got a bit of a spin dry! A fantastic but exhausting weekend- home time! Thanks Jen for a brilliant time – yeah thanks, and a special thanks to your folder of fun!

Anna & Jo x

Lakes 2007

Please write a Report!

The aim of the lakes trip is to allow fairly confident paddlers a chance to try some slightly more testing rivers (Grade 3+/4). Rivers which have been run in previous years have been the Upper Duddon, the Kent and the Leven.

This year (2007) we will be spending an extra day in the lake district made possible by our exam break (Read Paddling Break).

Accommodation is in the village of Sparkbridge, south lake district. We stay in a small village hall 5 metres from a river, and possibly more importantly only 20 metres from a pub. Excellent!

Teifi 2006

The Mighty Teifi!

What a great source of stress that was………my first time organising a trip, and a lot harder than I first thought it would be! Of course that wasn’t helped by a certain Mr Wright and Mr Thomas’ behaviour. (cough)

Anyway……the journey started well enough, with Thom and John’s cars leaving the boat hard only about and hour later than planned! Though somehow, despite leaving at least 3 hours before the rest of the cars and the van, we still managed to get there only an hour before them. Must’ve been all the faff trying to find somewhere to eat……

So……we arrived in the dark and set about trying to find somewhere suitable for a SUCC style campsite. We decided that the bottom field where the rest of the uni’s were camped was far too common (well it was really in case of flood, some of you may have seen pics from previous years of cars with water up to their bonnets) so we trudged up the hill to pitch our tents very close to the party tent. Following a very speedy (considering it was so dark, and I didn’t have a torch!) erection of tents the evenings festivities commenced. After a brief trip to the party tent, which was less party and more… empty, everyone had found a beverage and a place to park their bum in Canvas Clive (as I believe it’s called). Thom decided he was bored so he challenged Mr Rochester to bring something back that looked like him. He did surprisingly well, returning with ‘Barnsley Seb’ from Bangor University… “but how can you tell I’m from Barnsley?”. They really could’ve been twins! A rather tipsy (as usual) Helen Rossall was then duct taped to Seb, despite her protestations, and they were sent out to find an umbrella, some snacks and something charmingly agricultural. They brought back with them a forester carrying an umbrella and a bag of crisps, therefore fulfilling Thom’s criteria. Unfortunately, unlike Seb, this one could get away from us quick enough, possibly something to do with Thom’s drunken ramblings! The third challenge of the evening brought the best prize of all. The challengees (for some reason my brain in telling me Seb, Rochester and Danny, though that may be a complete fabrication) were told to fetch something “big, green, and fun”, whereupon they returned with a gate. What followed can only be described as gate Olympics, with Danny demonstrating his ability to fit through the smallest hole in the gate and lot’s of people trying to jump over the top of it. Meanwhile Rochester proceeded to do anything anyone told him to do, no matter how dangerous, and a new catch phrase was born: Steady the Gate (quite possible Danny’s favourite phrase!).

After a good (ish) nights sleep I awoke at 8 and then spent almost two hours trying to drag Richard out of bed so he’d help me organise everyone. By about 1 o’clock everyone was finally kitted out and ready to get on the shuttle bus. Quite a lot of that was due to someone leaving poor Imogen’s wet kit at the boat hard so she had to find stuff to borrow from everyone! I do believe that is record amounts of faff even by Vian standards (5 hours between getting up and being ready to leave, blimey!). The organiser even came over especially to tell us we had caused the most faff he had ever seen!

After a shaky start (on my part) I soon got back into the swing of paddling. A good time was had by all, with all the committee keeping a particularly close eye on the number of times the freshers in their group swam. You see, we had set up a secret ballot in which every committee member was assigned a fresher, and the one with the fresher who swam the most won the money. Tom Wright won with Sophie Stubbles as his fresher (she swam an impressive 11 times!) and cries of “it must be a fix” could be heard around the campsite, with George even refusing to pay up.

The most entertaining swim of the trip was had by a certain Mr Rochester who swam on a chicken shoot and then got out on the bank without telling anyone he’d swum. When asked by Emma and Rich to get back in his boat as they wanted to get on with the river he just pointed vaguely downstream in the direction his boat had gone. Emma continues to ridicule him to this day! We had a rather comical moment in our group also. At the first get out Fran had put her paddles on the bank but then got pushed out of the eddy, she got dragged down the hard(er) rapids clinging on to Goose for dear life. She managed to stay in her boat though, well done Fran!

As we were the first group to finish I thought I would head back to the get out to see if any of the other groups had made it that far yet. It was at this point I found George sat on one bank with Hannah Tinsley on the other, trying to throw a rope to her to drag her over. Sophie Stubbles (who had also swam, what a surprise) was nowhere to be seen. What a shambles, Kev was not impressed when he joined us! I then spent a wonderful few hours walking down the bank helping the many swimmers to sort out their boats etc.

The main attraction of the Saturday night was, of course, Man in a Dress…in a paddling pool. I think Mr Leyland managed to amuse quite a lot of people with his antics. Lot’s of fun was had that night, I can’t remember everything that happened but there was lots of crazy dancing and apple bobbing. Rich and Danny entered a cart wheeling competition, and did quite well, I think anyway. The evening ended with Mr Harvey and a certain fresher getting rather friendly, nice one Thom! (Rumours were being spread earlier that evening about the same fresher and a certain other person, names will not be mentioned so as to protect the innocents involved).

After being very proud of myself for not swimming on the first day, I think I got a bit too cocky and managed to swim twice trying to get into an eddy on a rather flat bit of water…that’ll teach me!! Just don’t say anything about the lost schlegals……oops! We reached the get out but then had to wait another two (felt like longer) hours for the shuttle bus to pick us up, more faff. To keep warm we played skipping games with a sling and wrestled each other to the ground. I even tried to sing some songs, but I don’t think anyone really enjoyed that!

When we finally arrived back at the field, we had to pack the van in the dark and then try and remove it from the mud. A relatively smooth journey home followed, we stopped at Burger King where, to the horror, of Helen, Robyn, Cat and myself, Danny had a disgusting 17 sugars in his coffee. I’m sure there must be something wrong with that boy! Despite getting caught in traffic very close to a nasty accident (where we found Surrey Uni also waiting) we made it home in good time. A good trip was had by all!

Steady the Gate!

By Helen W