The heavy rain during the week meant that the river was up when we arrived at West
Tanfield for the annual slalom competition. While jumping straight on the river looked
great, the more pressing demands of lunch and and getting the tent firmly anchored
in the howling wind had to take priority.
A little later and the river was still up, so never mind about the slalom course,
time for some play. Rights at the top of the campsite I found a ‘mint’ surf wave
to play on (who needs a playboat). A few more surfs on on the way down to the slalom
course where Pete and Vicky had just arrived and where easily persuaded to paddle
before putting their sorting tents and caravans out.
Early o’clock next morning and the river had dropped a good foot, but still higher
than usual for the slalom. So practice was interspersed with the course and river
bed being amended to make the course navigable!
When the racing started the HXCC team got stuck in to the prizes! In division 3
men, Roger took third place pushing him over the points total for promotion to Div
2 and Brian continued his steady progress to more clear runs. In the Ladies Naomi
added to her points total with a great 4th place and Vicky also up’ed her points
with a 8th place. Gill made it down the course in C1 to win the event. In the C2
battle was raging - with Sarah injured Les had paired up with Vicky, while Brian
co-opted Paul Davison. Despite a ‘wet’ 1st practice, Les & Vicky won through, although
this was largely due to Paul dropping his paddle before gate 6 and their missing
several gates in the attempt to pick it up!
Given the river levels, Div 4 was harder than usual, so we had excellent performances
from Ian and Dave to take 1st & 3rd respectively and earn promotion to Div 3. In
the Ladies Angela came home 2nd to also claim promotion up to Div 3.
In the evening the successes were toasted with Hog Roast and a little vino!
Sunday saw a further drop in the river levels and the arrival of Sam, Dig and Lois
to boost the club numbers.
In Div 3, Brian continued his ‘metronomic’ march towards the clean run chart prize,
while Lois got value for money from her dry suit and nose clip on her 1st run. With
neither Vicky or Paul around for the C2, Brian and Les teamed up and took second
having been narrowly beaten by a pair with a vastly lower combined age.
In Div 4, Sam recovered from a swim in the first run to get all the gates and claim
second place and promotion to Div 3. Dig had a great 2nd run until he paddled the
wrong way through the last gate to the anguished cries of the bank support - a mistake
that cost him promotion, but he still claimed the Master’s prize for the division.
Well done to everyone for having a go, gaining promotion and winning prizes.