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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

(Mostly Annual) Hair of the Dog Tweed Bimble 7/12/2008

Saturday night was the kayak club's annual Christmas night oot, which meant that Sunday morning(ish) was the annual(ish) hair of the dog bimble down the River Tweed. I missed last year's night oot and I don't know if there was a hair of the dog bimble. This year, we had competing trips with Tom leading a throw yourself off a hillside advanced trip. I think we lost Chris W. to that group but Robin, Charlie, Jean, Ali and I ventured out of our warm, cozy beds for the bimble. Babs was one of a few who were wavering but decided her bed was more tempting than a cold, wet river.

The original plan was for a 10am start from the boatshed, but Ali phoned Charlie to slow it down a bit. The shift to 10.30am meant I could bat my eyelashes at Brian and get him to drop me at the boatshed. He had absolutely no interest in the cold and the wet. I couldn't tell if he was laughing or shaking his head at us as he drove away.

Robin decided that he, too, wanted to paddle an open canoe, so he packed the swimming platform, the club's 9ft Dagger Prelude whose outfitting I still need to fit. Had the weather been about 10 degrees warmer, I would have been sorely temped, but that morning I had no envy of Robin whatsoever.

While Charlie and Robin ran the shuttle, Jean, Ali and I dragged the boats down to the water. We didn't have to wait too long.

Launching from below Manor Bridge, the current was swift enough that Robin wobbled a lot in the Prelude. He managed to stay upright, though, and all of us were impressed. We headed downstream pretty quickly in large part to stay warm. The random forecast generator suggested a high of 5C but we certainly weren't there yet.

Getting back into the spirit of open canoeing, I convinced Jean to help me get into whatever eddies we thought we could fit the club's Old Town into. Some efforts were more successful than others. I explained the two different bow draw strokes and suggested Jean mess around with them as she wanted. Occasionally, the wrong draw made things more interesting, but that's all part of the fun of learning.

It took us no time at all to reach the weir at Peebles, the one place where everybody expected Robin to end up in the drink. I didn't think he would. Two reasons. The first was motivation and the second was momentum. Robin hit the line just fine with not so much as a wobble until the eddies below.

We continued downstream, playing in the eddies a little bit less as the cold wore on. I could tell that Charlie was disappointed for not starting higher up, but knew the tea room waiting at the get out would make up for it. I felt a little disappointed, too, but not by much. On a warmer day, I might have appreciated more distance, but I think that may take a while to find again.

The tea room was perfectly timed. We reached the awkward getout and I could barely move my hands. Teamwork helped get the boats to the cars with reasonable speed. Charlie tried to ban us from the tea room while he and Robin ran the shuttle but that didn't even last until they left the car park. The hot bowl of soup was a perfect end to the trip. It's a shame the boats couldn't load themselves in the meantime.

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