A few intrepid paddlers (Nigel, Nick, Dave and Graham) from Nomads met up on the Friday evening to plan the next days paddling, or maybe it was to check out the food and drink at the local hostelry. Either way the plan for Saturday was to meet at New Bridge and paddle down to Holne Bridge along a stretch more commonly known as the Dart Loop.
The water in the river was rather low so a bit of a scrape but ideal conditions for all of us to practice our break ins, break outs and ferry gliding along with a few surfs on small waves. We met at Newbridge and sorted the shuttle and set off at about 10:30am. This was a rather emotional trip for Dave as he had spent many happy holidays nearby and Spitchwick Eddy was particular favourite of his mother’s where we took a few moments to remember loved ones.
We proceeded down to Lovers Leap (the longest stretch of white water on the loop) and lunched near the rock wall of Lovers Leap. The river is generally grade 2 with some grade 3 but even at this low level can present challenges as I discovered struggling to get out of a stopper I’d deliberately gone into on Triple Falls.
We continued down to Holne Weir which we shot and exited river left just below. A successful day paddling with no capsizes or swims!
Dave left us Sunday and the three of us decided to paddle the section of the Dart from Holne Bridge to Staverton. With the river levels low this lower section of the Dart meant the river was a little less of a scrape. Salmon Ponds weir needed a quick scout to find the best line and would need more care in higher conditions but this stretch is generally grade 2 so proceeded down to Buckfast Abbey and on to Staverton without stopping apart from the occasional sustenance of Jelly Babies holding hands (thanks Nick). Having passed through Staverton bridge we exited river left 300M below, had lunch and carried the kayaks back up to the bridge where there is a station on the Dart Valley Railway and car park. A Beautiful paddle through the Dart valley and another enjoyable day on the water.