So having done our best to wear the bottom out of our boats (some even got out to
walk in places), we arrived at the first biggy - Salmon Leap falls (aka the s-bend,
aka the dog-leg).
After inspecting (much umm-ing, ahh-ing and chin stroking) everyone seemed to know
the line to follow. So with safety in place the only thing left to do was let John
As everyone followed down there were some good runs, some that were a bit ragged
and the start of a slowly increasing jellyfish count for the day! The swims are too
many to mention - but a honourable mention to Lawrence who disappeared for a worryingly
long time as he swam down the middle part of the rapid!
Also worth a mention was Rob S, who started with thudding into the rock wall at the
top of the rapid before recovering to do some big and impressive (although not convincingly
intentional) pop-outs either side of the third drop on the fall.
Regrouped after the s-bend we quickly arrived at the next of the big drops - Low
Force and the nasty little horseshoe fall immediately above it. The result - even
more pondering here than at the previous drop. The stopper on the smaller fall was
looking rather grabby, but most were distracted from this by the size of Low Force
- probably the biggest drop that most of the group had contemplated paddling.
Finally, everyone was set, so we sent John first to see what happened to him - his
big boat helped him through the grabby stopper on the horseshoe. Following behind
was Ian S - who bypassed the main horseshoe passing behind the assembled throwbaggers
(and but for a timely shout would collected Rob A on the way).
Just to demonstrate how sticky the stopper was Gareth obligingly swam in it - much
tugging on the throwline brought him and his boat out - and helped quite a few people
decide that walking round this would be a good idea! Although a few other decided
that they had to check the stopper out for themselves.
Low Force itself handed out plenty of treatment to the un-wary - spitting people
our of the boils sideways and into the rock wall or flipping people and washing them
into the wall where rolling was difficult. A particular highlight was young Tom -
having (wisely) walked round horseshoe fall, set off over Low Force, as he went over
the lip he was heard to scream the he'd changed his mind about running this bit!
Too late - he got flipped and a bash in the head for his troubles.
Cheers from the assemble support team greeted each paddler as they came over the
drop. And then worried look if the paddler came to grief! (not that that stopped
then from taking pictures!)
As we were doing Low Force, the river rose - check the different levels on the picture
to the right with the one above!
The rise in river level meant that the little drop before the get out was somewhat
tricky and gave out a bit more punishment for those that ran it.
And then there was the few who explored the little side fall - but that's a another
All in all an enjoyable trip, ensuring everyone paddling was tested - and lots of
jelly fish activity!
News of the fun we had on the same trip in March had obviously spread as a mass group
of club paddlers turned up to run the Upper Tees - and we weren't the only ones on
quite a crowded river. (and there were a fair number of supporters following on the
bank - could this be the most photographed club trip ever?)
The top section of the trip was quite simply a torturous bum scrap down rocks with
the occasional bit of river in between. However the torrential rain was a more telling
pointer to how the day would turn out. Stoppy, paddling his new creeker led off in
the hope of simply knocking the rocks aside for the rest of us - but to no avail.