River Dart Trip Report

Trip report by Nigel Atkinson.

On Friday 21 October evening we met at the Dartbridge Inn in Buckfastleigh to plan the weekend’s activity with a hefty meal. With more non paddlers than paddlers (5 kayakers, 2 cameramen, and 4 support personnel (wives)) logistics were simple and we arranged to meet the following morning at 9:30 (after a hefty breakfast) in the hotel car park in kayak kit ready to depart for Newbridge our put in for both days.

After a quick safety briefing and a warmup enjoyed by all bar the oldest and grumpiest in the group we launched onto this beautiful river Dart with the water at a perfect height (just touching the slab at Newbridge). Considering the time of year, the forecast and the possible water levels the conditions could not have been better. Infact, the weather was very mild and stayed dry for the paddle both on the Saturday and Sunday making for a great weekend on the water.

Infact, the weather was very mild and stayed dry for the paddle both on the Saturday and Sunday making for a great weekend on the water.

The five paddlers, Rafael, Richard, Graham, Nick and Nigel set off from Newbridge towards Buckfastleigh our takeout point.

Richard had a prior engagement on the Saturday to walk alpacas (don’t ask) and left us at Spitchwick Eddy and the rest continued on down the river.

Time was spent honing our moving water skills with some excellent tuition from Nick (or at least shouting “paddle” and “stop paddling backwards”).

There were three rolls, one by Rafael while trying to boof of a rock and two by myself which I’m claiming was because I was hot and needed to cool down. Graham must have been really hot because he decided to have a swim!

Lunch was taken at Lovers Leap and before proceeding down triple falls and on to Buckfastleigh. Along the way we stopped to play on all the waves we could find practicing our surfing skills, break-ins, break-outs and ferry glides. The decision was taken to portage Holne Weir as there was a new shoot with a stopper which had been constructed since we last paddled the river. The group behind shot without even inspecting with no trouble so all decided to shoot the weir on the Sunday and did.

All in all a great days paddling was had by all.

A hefty meal on Saturday evening was followed by a stormy rainy night topping the river back up to the perfect level again for Sunday. After a large breakfast the five paddlers again put in at Newbridge but this time paddled down to Holne wear. Slightly shorter so we finished in time for people to make the trip home. Our camera crew of Conrad and Dave took hundreds of pictures and provided logistic support producing this excellent video of our trip on the picturesque river Dart. (Dave/Conrad – Thanks for your help ferrying boats, pictures and producing this video).

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