I have just spent the last 5 days working for my good friends at ProAdventure working with a group of lads who are preparing for their gold Duke of Edinburgh (D of E) expedition. The programme was split as follows:
Module 1 – Canoe Specific Training
The first day was spent on Bala Lake looking at the fundamental canoe skills (forwards, stopping, turning, sideways and reverse). With the windy weather conditions, we were also looked at trimming the boat and setting a ferry angle to make paddling against / across the wind more efficient. Day two was spend on the River Dee at Llangollen looking at river running techniques (ferry gliding and breaking in/out of the current) and dealing with unplanned events (boat and person rescues).
Module 2 – Practice Expedition on the River Severn
With light winds and a reasonable flow on the river it all looked well for the practice expedition. The group had decided to paddle from Melverley to Ironbridge a distance of 81km. A summary of the paddling days is given below.
Day 1 – Melverly to Montford Bridge (18km)
It was good to be on the water today and after a quick review of river hazards and checking on the groups navigation I was soon able to take a back seat role and we safely arrived at the campsite at Montford Bridge. Once off the water, I found that I had left the bike lock key in the van and had to borrow a saw to remove the lock so that I could cycle back and retrieve the van. On my return, we looked at towing and a few simple rescue scenarios.
Day 2 – Montford Bridge to Atcham (35km)
Today was spend off the water but meeting the group at prearranged check point, one of which was Shrewsbury Weir, which given the water levels and the groups ability they were able to run. With paddling speeds of over 5kph, the group soon arrived at the wild campsite at Atcham feeling tired but pleased with their achievements. Before leaving the group for the evening, we discussed, water purifying techniques and the importance of the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles.
Day 3 – Atcham to Ironbridge (28km)
With the lads in good spirits they left the overnight camp and started off to Ironbridge and again with paddling speeds of over 5kph they were soon at the get out in Ironbridge well ahead of schedule.
I’m pleased to see that the group were all signed off for their practice expedition and I wish them every success with their assessed expedition in August.