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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

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

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

River Tweed - Manor Bridge to Cardrona

Charlie's hastily organised two star open canoe training coincided with an easy kayak trip I organised for Brian and Scott, a friend of his from work, ahead of the end-of-festival fireworks. Torrential downpours would be considered terrible weather in most other outdoor sports. Kayaking? Not so much.

Graeme, Sheila and Hugh aka Shug rounded out the open canoeists. We the kayakers were late getting started, which made for a confusing shuttle but at least all of us made it to Manor Bridge in one piece with all of the right gear. All, except Charlie had thought to bring an umbrella to use in his canoe but didn't.

As soon as we put in below Manor Bridge, Scott demonstrated that he remembered how to wet exit from a kayak. That he did not intend such a practice bothered him a lot more than it bothered me.

We tottered along, sometimes ahead of the open canoeists but most times playing catch up. Scott got used to the kayak eventually and Brian seemed comfortable in his for a nice change over the last trip. Where I expected rapids, or more specifically, a lone wave where I can park an open canoe, we found just too much fast-moving water for anything interesting.

The normal get out for the Manor Bridge run is Peebles town centre. Especially because of the high flow, we decided to get out at Cardrona. The rapids of the day were the weir fish ladder at Peebles and fast water below. I went first and grabbed an eddy near the top of the island below to watch Scott and Brian run the rapids. I didn't need to do any fishing of my own -- Scott and Brian had clean albeit comical runs of the weir -- but I also missed some prime photos for the day.

We stopped for a soggy lunch break just past the Peebles bridge before continuing to Cardrona. Along the way, we found an old football that made for a great ongoing game of who could make whom wetter than the rain already had. It had the extra benefit of helping both Brian and Scott forget their awkwardness in kayaks.

The group reached the get-out at Cardrona far too soon. It was a bit more awkward than the Peebles get-out and required an awkward trek through tall grass, weeds and squelch, not to mention a little bit of barbed wire. The shuttle was reasonably quick and soon enough, all of us were clean, mostly dry and on our way back to Edinburgh hopeful for clear skies for the fireworks concert. The clouds parted just about perfectly for good fireworks viewing but not early enough to dry any of the lawns at Princes Street Gardens.

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