Swim down the Nith

As it felt like I did more swimming then paddling, I have the pleasure of telling you all about our trip down the Nith.

With the plan the night before being either the Nith or the Doon depending on water levels I had got up to have a check on the levels that morning. The Nith was sitting at 0.6 so all looked good. Then the text came from Andy D to confirm this and to give us a meeting time of 10:30 at the picnic area, so I loaded the last of my gear and headed off. As I arrived I could see Stuart and Andy were all ready there with some other kayakers from Monklands canoe club. Andy had all ready made arrangements to tag along with them and with there shuttle all ready left we hatched a plan to get us on the water fast. I put my dry stuff in Andy’s car and him and Stewart headed off to drop a car at the get out as I got myself sorted.The mercury was showing a temp of 7 degrees but there was still a lot of ice and snow on the ground so getting kit ready was an interesting time shall we say.

After both shuttle’s had got back we quickly got ours self’s in the water and headed down stream. The guys and girls from Monklands were have right good play on the waves with me holding back as I did not fancy a swim in the icy waters (fat lot of good that did me as you can tell from the title lol). We came to the first bigger feature and down we all went no problem. On the next one I had decided my head was a bit warm and that I would like to see what the river bed was looking like. Not wanting to swim I put my paddle into the pawlata and up I came, sorted no swim for me today, I thought.

It was at the next drop that I had got the wrong line and over I went again, this time with two failed roll’s it was time to check just how cold the water was. Stuart, Andy and the Monklans team were kind enough to get my boat to the bank for me and give me a lift to the side. It was here when I went to empty my boat that I stood on metal spike that looked like part of an old wire fence. After pulling it out and deciding that I was ok enough that I did not want to take off all my kit to get to the foot so I would carrier on and sort it at the car.

We then came to the gorge where Jim from Monklands was being a good guide and telling us what lines to take and where to eddie out so we could set up for the next drop. It was at this point I decided to check if anything was different at this bit of river bed, it was just the same by the way. This time my boat had washed down a few drops so it was a scramble down the gorge on my sore foot with a small swim at the end to meet up with the rest of the team. Only two more drops to go I was told.

As we got to the bridge the gauge was showing the river at 2.5ft. We had a short scramble up the bank to the cars where the guys from monklans had said when they were emptied my boat and waited on me coming down that the rocks they were on had became submerged. The river was rising fast. By the time we had got the cars the gauge was now showing 3ft. We bundle the kit in the cars where I headed of to A&E to get my Xray, anaesthetic, tetanus and antibiotics.

After looking at the SEPA gauge it shows that when we got on the water at 11:00 the level was 0.62m and 1.6m when we got off at 14:30. This was still climbing right up till 17:30 where it reached 2.2m, I’m glad we got off when we did.