Woohoo! I am still buzzing with excitement from yesterday!
On Saturday, we went to paddle Stanley (a stretch of river Tay), which was good fun and made me realise that I still need to work on my breaking in and bracing, but at the same time reassured me that I can roll even a Jefe reasonably reliably. But then... yesterday! It was definitely the best day of 2011 so far. The Etive trip. Even though it is not the most convenient river for a day trip from St Andrews, we got up early (meeting at half past seven... on Sunday... *shivers*) and drove the three hours to the put in of the river Etive
. The water levels were low and as we were getting in there was not any more faff than there usually is. Too bad it wasn't sunny, but hey, this is Scotland, right? :) And then it started.
Triple falls. Yeah, I was nervous. I've never done any river like this before, no falls, not big drops. But after triple falls, my nervousness was soon substituted by excitement, adrenaline and truckloads of fun. What a river! I loved every last bit of it. Yeah, we were scraping the bottoms of our boats on rocks in some places, but that helped me learn how to manoeuvre my kayak better and to watch out for rocks properly. And the scenery, the beauty of Scotland distilled and concentrated, just amazing - and if I wasn't in a boat, I would probably never get to see it.
I thought it was going to be difficult to make the day any better. But it did get even better. After we got out, Jamie told us about about Allt a' Chaorainn
, a small river a bit of a walk away from the take out, where we were. I was considering paddling but wasn't really sure about it as I didn't really want to go beyond my paddling limits and the description made it sound a bit scary. But then I realised that I could go take pictures instead and that was it. After seeing the river with my own eyes, it is amazing and I definitely want to paddle it in the future, but for now... camera, rolled up jeans and wetsuit boots, I was ready to go. After getting stuck in the mud a couple of times, I caught up with the rest of us and started shooting. I was able to stand in the middle of the river at times, or on rocks overlooking the drops and chutes, so yes, I was very happy :) And you can see the results below.
I can still feel the energy of the day when I look at the pictures. Yesterday was filled with amazing paddling, great photographic opportunities and lots and lots of fun. Thanks to everybody who helped make this day what it was!