Risk 28/5/19

A beautiful day to be out on the water yesterday and our first session in the faster moving waters of the river. Our morning started with us having a chat about the plan for the day and having a quick bite to eat before we unloaded the canoes and got ourselves into the correct gear. Being our first week on the river, instead of the lake we had been on in previous weeks, meant we needed to learn how to get onto the boats from the river bed. This required team work and a good sense of balance as we needed to enter from the rear of the boat and then walk forward, keeping our hands on the sides of the boats so that we kept our balance centred and were able to get on the canoes without issue or taking a dip into the river. Once we had all gotten ourselves into position in the boats we needed to learn how to push off of the river bank, this required the two people already in the boat to place their paddles on the river bed as the person sitting in the rear, the steering seat, would push off the river bank and get themselves into proper Canadian canoeing position. After a small time spent being shown this we were out on the water and ready to learn how to manoeuvre around the reeds and use the currant of the river to our advantage. This was a whole new challenge for the group as it required the person steering to look ahead and pick a route down the river that would avoid the reeds or islands as they were called by the students. This proved to be very challenging as it meant they had to trust in their use of the paddles to steer and could not be looking down at the paddle checking they were doing it correctly. Once we all had a good idea of how to properly paddle down the river we set off on our first real canoeing journey. The journey took us down the winding river and around many different obstacles, consisting off overgrown trees, reeds and the natural twists and turns one finds on a river. The group did really well heading down the river before reaching the end of our journey and realizing they would now have to paddle back up river. Paddling against the currant is considerably harder than when travelling with the rivers flow. It required teamwork and every member of the team to paddle hard in order to get back to where we had started so that we could get back on land and have lunch. Following lunch we set out on the river once more, this time heading up river and under the low lying bridge. In order to get under the bridge we all needed to lean forward and protect our heads, this was a challenge for some of the group as we needed to be flexible enough to get our heads down low enough to safely pass under the bridge. Once we had all gotten ourselves under the bridge we continued up stream and embarked on our most challenging canoeing session thus far. This proved to be even more challenging than in previous years due to overgrown trees and a relatively unkempt section of the Groynes. The team did incredibly well to take on this challenge and pushed themselves far beyond the limits they thought they had. It was amazing to see the resilience of the group and how well they supported one another as we journeyed up this very difficult section of river. �

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