Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Punt slalom

According to this blog, the last time I went kayaking on a river was just over 11 years ago. Today I got back in a boat and did some actual river paddling for the first time since then.

For some additional context, last summer my family moved to Cambridge. Recently, my wife suggested to me that I should try out kayaking again, pointing me to the Cambridge Canoe Club website. Despite having just got rid of much of my kayaking gear, which had been sat mouldering in a plastic bag in lofts/garages over several house moves (my kag just had to be binned as the rubber seal around the neck had disintegrated), I decided that this was good idea. A few weeks ago I signed up for, and took, the club's induction session, which they required new members with some previous experience to do - they show you around the club, what boats and equipment they have, and then briefly take you out on the river (the Cam) to check you can paddle about at a reasonable proficiency and perform a wet exit (I attempted a roll, but didn't quite make it).

Today was my first proper paddle with the club, which was a nice sedate trip on the Cam from the club house (by Lammas land), up past The Backs and to Jesus lock. It didn't have quite the same thrill level as, say, taking on right angle on the Etive, but provided a good refresher on handling a boat on the water. It was a lovely evening, with the sun shining (I didn't have that too often on Scottish rivers in the autumn and winter) and the Cam was busy with people out on punts, so the main task was to avoid crashing into them.  Along the way I has to rescue a pigeon that for some reason was sat floating on the water, perhaps after getting itself confused and thinking it was one of the many ducks, swans or geese on the river. I successfully navigated around all these obstacles and manage to not capsize my boat. 

The trip was very pleasant and also provided a nice view into some of the Colleges that you can't get to other than via the river. However, I can already feel that my back is going to be protesting tomorrow about the exertions it had to perform. I expect I'll keep up the trips with the club and hopefully get in some white water paddling down at the Lee Valley White Water Centre over the summer.