Seals on the Clyde

Stuart writes…

As the one who was likeliest to swim it falls to me to write the trip report!

I suppose living two or three minutes from the get-in (I’ve stopped using “Put in”) I was always going to be first to arrive. No fool, me, I did most of my changing in the house. As I approached the lay-by I was passed in the other direction by a car with a kayak and within an astonishingly short space of time Stevie Burns was behind me having executed a 360! A glance at my dashboard confirmed that the temperature hadn’t risen from -7 since I left the house – a bit colder than I was hoping for!

Once everyone had arrived and completed changing we did the shuttle, my car ending back at the get-in. Hands were variously freezing and numb and it was necessary to scrape the frost off my paddle. After sliding the boats downhill to the waters edge we proceeded to seal launch as nobody was going to voluntarily get in the water for a floating launch. I wriggled and hatched trying to get myself into the boat (as it turned out my footrests had been adjusted at the pool and there was no way I was going to fit. Just as I was thinking of getting out to investigate the problem, the boat which was generously coated in frost took off and as a result of an involuntary seal launch I found myself on the creek without a paddle, half in, half out of my seat! Not wishing to do Triple Falls in that position I decided to hand paddle back to the beach and just as my hands were about to lose all sensation Andy bravely stepped into the water to pull me up.

Spray decks were cold and stiff and for the first time I needed a hand to secure mine as did Davey. Unfortunately Davey’s didn’t look like it would stay put so he wisely decided to abandon the trip. After wrestling my key bag from the dry bag wedged behind me Davey set off with the keys (including Andy’s and Stevie J’s) with the plan to take my car and meet us at the get out.

Well, we finally got going and it was decided early on that there would be no playing in the waves. It was a wise choice because having plowed through a stopper at Triple which hurled a dollop of Clyde at my chest I had frozen droplets decorating my drysuit and like everyone else the boat and spraydeck were glazed!

At the get out (we had chosen the approach to the park upstream of Crossford bridge) we humphed the boats to where the cars were parked. No Davey! His car was still there but mine wasn’t. Fearing that he had succumbed to the freezing temperatures Andy and Stevie Burns set off to find out what had happened – luckily Stevie had kept hold of his own keys. We all breathed a sigh of relief when all returned safely. So what had been the problem? Davey’s glasses were in his car at the get out and without them he couldn’t drive!

All in all a fun couple of hours and an appreciation of some potential hazards! I think Andy has some photos, assuming his camera wasn’t feeling the cold!

Paddlers: Andy Dean, Stevie Burns, Stevie Johnston, Davey McFadyen (for a bit) and me. ;D