Burrs Trip – 23rd September 2012

A bumpy start at Burrs

The day was a good day as what seemed the whole club had turned up for this river section. Les and Cliff had everything in military order. We arrived changed and again sorted into groups.  I was with a group of people who did not have a group, Rob and Peter had experience of the Burrs and the necessary coaching skills.

There were 9 in the group and some walked up the path to the top of the weir and some paddled up the environmentally diverse canal, overgrown as some would say. We all helped each other to get to the top and those   keen to start launched themselves on the water above the weir whilst other watched and made up their minds to throw themselves down the big weir.

The weir is a large drop of 15 meter across the top and 6 meters drop and a steep angle on one half the other has 8 steps. Les dropped off first and Cliff spotted a goldilocks spot to launch off. Too far right and you end up in the wave that will stop your boat too far left and you go down the steps. I followed Cliff’s pointing and I paddled down the steps bang bonce bang bonce I went till I hit the bottom.  Got out at the bottom and looked at my boat with two great big scratches down the middle. Others followed the same line and also followed down the steps until Rob stood on the weir top and pointed out the best way, good on you Rob.

The groups re-assembled and reorganized to set off down the river, there were two good coaches who would work with the group but with no real organization I placed myself forward to do a group session on signals. Christine shouted from the back are you in charge then? The response was yes. Leading the group of individuals we set off down a river not at state passable for any one.

A warm up ferrying and spangles (speed and angle) helped everyone meet each other by helping or banging into each other.  I could hear Rob and Pete giving good advice to others.

The river seemed to have changed somewhat to my last visit and the water was flat for a while before  the  river kinked away to the right, causing a wave with some holding power. The river flowed along the right bank forming  a difficult eddy directly left and a safer one below. I gave a good brief on how to safely paddle the section and then dropped into the eddy on the right. The brief told them to eddy out left. The first down came down and broke out right and held on to the rocks and oops upside down. Rob took my spot and I sorted the problem and he lead the rest down. Once we were all back in our boats in the lower eddies and those others who made the eddy or paddled up enjoyed the strange wave that took everybody by surprise and most if not all had a capsize in the wave.

Next up was a short flat section before the river narrowed and produced two very small but equally as powerful waves. These though had a standing wave cross its width though the far corner did hold and stay held if you  were in the wrong place. I demonstrated what happens if you get it wrong. When I got back in my boat there was another two folk out and emptying theirs boats. The second wave was a good one to surf on and for smaller boats to loop. Les popped up from the bank to encourage us to have lunch and so we followed on down spending some time in the surf wave just below the bridge.

By the end of lunch most people had warmed up but had had enough for the day, a small group did a quick second run.

Paul  Scarborough