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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

canoeing and kayaking adventures born in the Southeastern U.S. and now centered in Scotland...

Monday, June 19, 2006

River Tweed – Galashiels to Dryburgh – 21/5/2006

Charlie posted a need for a bimble on SSPPP, relatively certain that we would be up for it. Surprisingly, chief bimbler Ali and deputy bimblers had other plans that interfered with the trip. Gordon, who joined us on the last Tweed adventure, decided he was up for it. Lucas looked up the word bimble on the internet and found it was British slang for “to wander in order to pass time”, more or less what I had expected. Bimble it was. Charlie picked us up early. The drive to Galashiels took us south of town, past a number of herds of (big surprise!) sheep and a windmill farm. Early at the get-in meant extra time for assembly. The Pakboat was nearly finished by the time Gordon arrived. As his boat required assembly, too, we were good to go by the time he and Charlie left for shuttle.

A bimble on the Tweed meant it was my turn in the stern. We set off downstream at an appropriately lazy pace, enjoying the (relatively) warm day and plenty of water. Charlie was pleasantly surprised – he expected a scrape. Early on, we sort of led the way and Charlie gave Gordon a few pointers. We had fun catching eddies and bopping our way down the occasional wee wave train. Lucas violated the “whee” rule once, but I forgave him.

The big rapid of the day was a broken out cauld (broad-crested weir) near Melrose. Gordon was the first to commit to not running it. I have a bias against man made rapids. Charlie decided no and when Lucas decided to run it solo, Charlie told us his don’t change your mind rule. We talked fantasy lines for a minute and then Lucas was on his own for actually running it. I walked to the river right bank to take photos and stand with my rope. Not sure what use I could be with a rope – the gnarly stuff was upstream of my beach and Lucas was perfectly capable of swimming to the bank below. Charlie dragged his boat across the rocks and took a better position for photos on the centre island.

Lucas hit his line with no difficulties and caught the river right eddy below me, with probably no less than 10 photos being taken between Charlie and myself.

Not long after the cauld, we stopped for lunch. One of the topics of conversation was Scottish slang. Charlie taught us several new words and phrases, of which the only word I remember is “numptie”, used to describe a stupid person. I remembered it only because I saw it written on a t-shirt somewhere later in the week and remembered the conversation with Charlie.

After lunch, we came to the bridges in one of Charlie’s photos from an OC weekender past. Catching an eddy behind one of the bridge pylons splashed some water into the boat. Lucas did a good job of blocking the water for me. I took some pictures of the others approaching. As we continued downstream, Lucas asked how old the bridges were. Charlie told him that the tallest of the bridges was built in 1272 by William the Bridgebuilder. Nobody used it because they were all afraid of heights and it didn’t really come into use until the railroad company started using it.

After the big bridges, more waves and eddies were waiting for us. I found a nice surfing wave and did my first ever front surf as a stern paddler. Big fun!

Downstream, the river split around an island, with good rapids on either side. We took the river right channel, seeing the wave ahead. Gordon followed us. Charlie took the river left channel through a slightly bigger wave train and I caught a well-executed air brace on camera. It was not followed by a swim, so it did not qualify as expert.

The get-out wasn’t much farther downstream. Just past a footbridge, steep stairs led up to where Charlie had left his car. A few grunts got us to the top, where a group of walkers were watching the spectacle. One finally helped me with the bow of the Pakboat after I we were on level ground. We (and by we I mean mostly Lucas) disassembled the Pakboat and got changed out of river clothes while Charlie ran Gordon and his boat in a bag back to the top. The weather got a little more cloudy and drizzly on us, so it would seem our bimble was well-timed! Another lovely day on the river. The section below the get-out looked equally lovely, but that could wait until another day.

Later in the week, Lucas found some of his 15 minutes of fame on the BBC website, where the world could see him running the cauld


At 21 June, 2006 15:47, Blogger Super Babe said...

I couldn't make the link work... the BBC one... I wanna see Lucas' 15 minutes of fame!


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