October 15, 2009

Last weekend saw EUCC take a massive 36 people away for the weekend kayaking. Staying in Kinlochleven in a hostel which we had to ourselves it could only be a good weekend. Leaving early on Friday evening we took a convoy of vehicles up with us for a beginner based trip. Friday night saw activities including sock wrestling (in which I remain undefeated) and table mountaineering among others. It was a nice relaxed chance to meet all the people on the trip that I hadn’t got a chance to meet yet.

The next morning we set out and took over the lower roy. Splitting into 3 still big groups we slowly bumbled down the river. As the groups were fairly randomly split we had no idea of the ability level in our group. Although the river was incredibly low and I dread to think how much plastic was left on the bottom of the river we undoubtedly had numerous swims. Our group got off at Roybridge and waited for the others to finish the middle spean before coming to pick us up.

That evening, everyone was tired after a long day and the night before but everyone was looking forward to a more exciting day on Sunday. On Sunday we drove to the Etive to see if it was at a good level, but we soon realised that it was a bit too high to be taking beginners on. However we went down river to the lower Etive to a grade 2 section with a portageable 4. The harder section was good fun and I was glad to see most people have a go, even if they ended up swimming. After this we got off and about 8 of us stayed in kit and drove up back to the middle Etive to have a go, now with a crowd.

I only did triple steps as was knackered and quite happy to finish on a high, but even these claimed a few people. The video below is of my run of the first two drops.

After  this we began the journey home with the obligatory stop at the Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum. It was a really good and all the beginners seemed to enjoy it and hopefully get a taste of something harder watching us at the end. I’m sure that I’ll no doubt be going back to the Etive sometime soon with the club.


Settling into Edinburgh

October 2, 2009

Not being content with only being a Bachelor of Science, I’ve left England and headed north of the border to become a Master of Science at Edinburgh University. It’s been in the planning for a while and after getting the paperwork signed off and renting a van I moved up at the start of September. The drive up took a good 7 1/2 hours and we were met by a rather chilly Edinburgh for the first night.

It didn’t take long after moving in to get to know Edinburgh and the rest of my new flat in Marchmont. As things with uni stated to get going I got  in contact with the canoe club and managed to tag along a lift to the Wet West paddlefest that weekend. It was a great oppourtunity to meet the club before new members joined and go on a good intermediate trip. Based around Fort William we did the  Spean Gorge and the Garry on the first day with the first being exceptionally low. Although the Garry was a good little blast with a few chances to play about on the way down. The next day (along with about 200 other people) we did the Moriston, which is a grade 4/5 run north of Fort Augustus. It was great fun once you pluck up the courage to throw yourself over a meaty horizon line, even if it put a major scratch in my shiny new paddles.

moriston5Photo from the WWPF website of the Moriston

This drop is followed by a nice grade 4 section infront of the crowds that had gathered.

After eventually getting back to Edinburgh late it nice to have Monday off as a local and University holiday before starting uni the next day, where we got to meet the rest of the course over the week. Our course has a got a wide range of people/nationalities, out of 55 there are at least 15 Irish, but only 4/5 British, not that I’m complaining, it’s nice to have a mix. At the weekend we went to Murrayfield to watch one of teams local to a few of the Irish guys, Leinster play Edinburgh in the Magners League. It was an average match with an exciting last 10 minutes which saw Leinster clench it.

The following day I went off with the Canoe Club, back in the direction of Fort William where an ‘intermediate’ group did the Allt Kinglass into the Orchy, where we did all of the sections down past Eas a’Chataidh. I took my first swim of the year on the first grade 5 at Easan Dubha where I took the wrong line and subsequently took a beating at the bottom. But all in all it was a really good trip with a great bunch of (mainly new) people, if not slightly knackering.

Since starting uni I’ve also signed up to the Triathlon Club along with around 5 people from my course and one of my flatmates. The training has been good fun and I’ve realised that I’m rubbish at swimming, need to buy some padded shorts for cycling and need need to get out running more. However the club has 2 dedicated coaches who are really good and  compared to the cost of membership is an absolute bargain, even if I only go swimming once a week.

Now that I’ve been in Edinburgh a month it’s starting to get cold but I’m really enjoying it and I’ve been so busy, but I’ve loved every moment of it so far so the rest of the year should be great fun too.