The four of us headed off to llangollen slightly later than planned due to ryans lie in, however despite the delay we still arrived just a few minutes and late and still had time for a Dobbies breakfast!
We started the day by getting to know Andy, the coach, and having a talk about what we wanted to gain from the day and different types of kit.
Once the talking was over it was time to head to the water to practice some safety skills, first on the agenda...how to swim safely. After we all spent plenty of time swimming and getting used to the pretty cold water it was time to practice using throwlines. This was quite entertaining and some definately had better aim than others! Before heading further downstream we had a great opportunity to try swimming in a stopper, it was certainly interesting to see how a stopper that normally holds onto a boat so much was almost impossible to stay in when swimming into it.
Next it was time to head downstream to practice some more throw line rescues on a more difficult terrain, just like before some certainly had better aim than others and it was a good opportunity to see how useful it is to have someone with a back-up throw line.
After all having our fair share of swims it was time for some lunch then to get the boats out for the afternoon. The afternoon was spent running a small section of river and discussing the importance of good planning and communication to minimise risk and keep yourself and others safe. After a lengthy discussion we headed down the last rapid, making use of the eddies on the way, a personal achievement for myself making a tricky eddy that I know I wouldn't have made a few weeks ago! When we all finally made it to the bottom safely it was time for a quick debrief and then a quick opportunity to play in the wave before heading back to get dried off and head home.
Overall the day was a great learning experience for us regardless of the varying levels of previous experience in the group. It was great for us all to learn some basic skills of keeping yourself safe and how to look after others that may get into difficulty on the water. We all had a great day and came away feeling much more confident in knowing how to keep safe on future paddles.
A big thank you to Andy Grimes who ran the course, he managed to fit a lot into a short space of time and made the day enjoyable for all.
Paddlers: Sam, Ryan, Jamie and Tom
Post by Sam.