Testing times on the Teith

Well here goes my report on our trip we assembled at the car park at Callander at 10.30 and got prepared to depart. Today was certainly going to be a fun day with 10 members all present it was certainly busy as we set off with the Newbies agreeing that first one to get wet would do the report I had a feeling this was going to be me and I was right!. It was going to be an interesting today with 2 members participating in their first river paddle. As we headed down river towards the first bridge I realised that my foot pegs had moved since I last used the boat. A quick stop and a bit of help adjusting and we caught up with everyone and practiced breaking in and out an eddy at the bridge and some ferry gliding we set off to the next bridge where there was more flow as the first bridge was ahem a little slow. Members who had previously been on the Teith said that the river had been higher before as we started to discover some of the rocks on the shallower stretches with people adding scrapes here and there.
We continued on further down being blinded by the sun in our faces enjoying some of the leisurely bits that were flowing gently although this involved some criss crossing the river with the rocks becoming more frequent. A few members started to create a single line for everyone to follow over the rollers a series of boulders not far from the second bridge this made some interesting boufing with myself getting stuck on some of the hidden ones that were shallow I managed with some help to get off. I looked back up river hiding in an eddy near the bank as there were some other member still behind myself coming down. I was glad they too seemed to be getting stuck being the newbie getting the bottom of the boat battered seemed like a strange sensation. As the eddy and river was flowing harder at this area we played around breaking in or paddling hard up the river to break out in a faster current. After about 15 minutes playing we moved off with some new found spirit and confidence watching the beautiful rainbow that had appeared and some geese fly overhead and ducks downstream it seemed as though it was rather idyllic…. This was short lived as the current picked up and more shallow rapids I knew my boat was getting a battering and at one point lost my grip on my paddle nearly a costly mistake being advised keep the blade in the water as much as possible. More shallow ground came forth and I duely caught a large rock unexpectedly which tipped me fully sideways. The scary bit being when its shallower than the pool is that falling out your boat is not as easy with the boat and you being pushed along with the water building up behind your boat while being face and your BA supporting you it is scary I reached for my spraydeck cord and missed so resulted in a gulp of the Teith not what I wanted and made me change my mind and went for the knee through the deck manoeuvre and I became free of my boat. By this time John and a couple of others were mid rescue as I came up grabbing boat and paddle and me. we made it over to a shallow eddy where now knowing that my new drysuit worked we continued down to the lunch spot.

I was caught once more on a large rock that was more of a hidden ledge on route a little more help from Stevie and I was free although in doing so I felt my back playing up. Lunch was a welcome relief with me rolling out my boat as ill fitting seemed to be playing havoc in conjunction with the battering on the bottom of the boat. We all enjoyed the sustenance we had brought and I was glad that my piece box still contained dry sandwiches after my swim as was the first time I had tried planking the box so was a second test that had passed for something new.

We set off again fed and watered as we started to get confident and proceeded down river again in single file I was feeling considerable discomfort as we proceeded towards the first island This was clear to all and finally we found an eddy and I disembarked and decided I would walk for a bit so from here I have little to report on the actual river conditions encountered by the group who gracefully escorted my boat down meeting up a couple of times as I walked along the bank. The interesting bit while walking for me was my encounter with 3 roe deer who startled at a fat paddler on foot walking along took off in front of me however they were within touching distance and a very pleasant bonus.

In summing up I must say thanks to everyone for working as a team and being a great club seeing the testing times of a shallow river mean we had one newbie fail to finish and one pass without spill all the way to the end well done Nola!!