There was snow on Dartmoor, the Dart was very high and
busy so we headed to the quieter, but still high River Tavy.
There were four of us less confident paddlers led by our
A vehicle was taken to Denham Bridge and we then launched
at Tavistock from the large car park.
We paddled off confidently down a small series of drops
forming Grade 2 rapids. Once we left Tavistock behind, the
river passes through woodland with frequent Grade 2 rapids
and drops. Bertie encouraged us all to learn
some river leadership skills rather than just following him
down. I think we all learnt a lot from him.
At one of the early rapids we met up with a group from
Kingston Mauward College. The picture shows Jamie and Alison with
their dog. One of the highlights of the trip was to witness
Jamie Lawrence swimming!
The first Grade 3 rapid was taken carefully – Andy had an
unintended 'play' on the way down and was hugely relieved to
At the next Grade 3 rapid we all got out to inspect. The
longer you look the more frightening it becomes! However –
we sorted out our 'line' (Water, Obstacles, Route,
Markers, Safety). Bertie led and John brought up the rear –
swimmingly! Bertie managed to rescue John and the boat but in doing so lost his own Werner paddles.
Fortunately Bertie had split paddles in his boat and was
able to continue down river until the Werners turned up.
The next big Grade 3 rapid found Ian, Barbara and John all
swimming at the same time. John really lost his boat this
time and ended up having to yomp his way down the riverbank
for about a mile before being repatriated with his boat.
Meanwhile Barbara managed to stay upright for about 100m
before taking another swim – managing to scramble out on a
small rocky outcrop in the middle of the river – hanging
onto paddle and boat (phew!) and got going again with
The next obstacle was a weir which we portaged on river
left. Following the weir it was manageable Grade 2 rapids
that we negotiated successfully before reaching the take out
at Denham Bridge with a few minutes of daylight to spare.
Altogether there were 10 swims. (not including Jamie
Lawrence) a lost boat – subsequently recovered lost paddles
successfully recovered and a pinned boat subsequently
A good time was had by all, really!