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With a fab weather forecast and three days off work, I headed up north with an open canoe on the roof.

Day one (scorchio) was spent open water paddling on a big flooded gravel pit - paddling and sailing to and fro, and playing round with trim. It seems that trim is everything in an open boat.

Day two (schorchio again) and today was river trip day on the Tees from Barnard Castle to Abbey Rapids. The downside of all the sunny weather was a low river level, but still enough to scrape down and play on the rapids along the way. Leading open boats down the river is much like kayaks, but definitely needs bigger eddies. Plus we practiced  lining the boat down the river - much easier than carrying it round a rapid. This was the first time I’ve done this bit of river and its one we’ll have to do on a club trip.

Day three (yes scorchio) was back on the river looking at skills, including poling up and down a rapid - yes its exactly like it sounds - you shove your boat up the river with a pole! Try it - its wobbly and blooming hard work, particularly in the warm weather. And you’re not supposed to bend the pole (sorry Brian).

So a great three days on the river in a big boat, and I’ll definitely be doing more in the future.