For the last couple of seasons we have a published a regular programme of winter trips and we follow it up with another. We have learnt from experience and your valuable feed-back, so hope this season will be better than ever. There are ten qualified river leaders available and we intend to provide at least one led trip each week through to the end of March. On the programme we indicate the day and level of experience needed for each trip. We are not going to specify the river at this stage, as river levels need to be assessed in the week before. Use the categorization below to assess if the trip is for you.
Please download and print off a copy of the programme and keep it handy. Last season we published a list of trips and sent it to everyone, following up with an email in the week before the trip. But quite a few people said there wasn't enough notice, as sometimes we had not been specific which day was intended. We will work hard on our communication so you can plan your diary.
For each trip we need a viable group size, so if only one or two people respond the trip may not go ahead. If there is not enough river water we may substitute a surf trip, subject to conditions. If there is too much we will look for easier options. Or you may end up mountain biking if all else fails!
The best thing is to come to the club pool sessions and chat to Sue or Pete, or other leaders shown to be leading the relevant trip. Otherwise, email or ring the River Leaders, who can assess with you the best options. Check that the clothing and gear you are proposing to use is OK. The club has good kit for hire at nominal cost if you don't have everything, including boats.
The cut off time to book your place will be the Thursday night for a weekend paddle. We have difficulty coping with extra people turning up without notice.
Please note that all trips are subject to potential change to take account of weather and water levels.
Experienced paddlers, who may not have their 4 Star, would be most welcome to join these trips to assist and gain leadership experience.
Details of the planned paddles are available in the trip programme. Further details will be made available via the forum, by email and by updates to the website. You can also download a printable copy of the programme which includes contact details for the trip leaders.
Below is a loose categorisation of rivers. If you are new to the sport, then it's vital you progress logically from easy onwards. We don't want you to have a bad experience by unwittingly taking on something you don't yet have the skills for. If you are already skilled and experienced, we can discuss with you what you want to do and help make it happen.
Note: these trips tend to be organised as conditions and demand require, so not part of the main programme.
Any of the Improver trips in higher water flows become proficient trips. i.e. faster currents and less thinking time.
Note: these trips tend to be organised among known expert paddlers rather than widely advertised, but new people with proven skills are welcome.
Grade I: Moving water, unobstructed and without technical difficulties. There may be small waves and riffles to amuse the paddler.
Grade II: Waves, small stoppers and other minor obstructions to avoid. Eddies and cushion waves may be strong. Route finding straight forward.
Grade III: Waves, stoppers and technical difficulties are more severe. There may be drops and powerful constrictions. The main distinguishing factor of Class 3 water is that the paddler will have to follow a recognisable route to avoid obstacles and hazards.
Grade IV: Severe waves, drops, stoppers and other obstructions. The route is not easily recognisable and will usually require careful inspection from the boat or bank and confident white water skills. Class 4 encompasses a wide range of rivers, from those with pool-drop rapids to those with extended continuous rapids; so there is a huge variation in difficulty. It is common to distinguish easier grade 4 rapids by grading them as 4- and harder rapids as 4+ (or in some cases, 3/4 or 4/5).
Grade V & VI...well we will leave those to your imagination! See UK Rivers Guide Book for details.