Clare F., Freddie, Gavin and I (Dan) travelled to Dartmoor on 16 and 17 November for a weekend of white water paddling and poker. Three of us travelled down to Dulverton on the Friday afternoon. We had rented a cottage close to Tarr Steps (Oak Cottage on Liscombe farm), but it proved very hard to find in the dark and we briefly abandoned my Volvo in search of it on foot, using our phones to light the farm track. Eventually we made it to our destination by returning to the car and following the signs to Dulverton and then Tarr Steps. The cottage was very conveniently located for the Barle which looked as beautiful as ever when we awoke on a bright autumn morning.
Gavin joined us on Saturday morning and we paddled the same stretch of river twice on both days (from Tarr Steps to Dulverton). Reassuringly, when we arrived at the get in, there were plenty of fairly young children waiting to be taken down the river, so I was confident that I would at least survive the weekend, and only slightly worried that I could be laughed and pointed out if I swam…
There had been some rain in the preceding week and it was a perfect water level on the Saturday – fast flowing and bouncey – and a bit more bumpy, but still a lot of fun, on the Sunday. Gavin and Freddie took it in turns to lead on the river and everything went remarkably smoothly, with no swims at all. Admittedly, I didn’t practise as hard in ferry gliding and playing on the waves as everyone else and I wimped out of bumping down the weir near the end to save my sore back, but someone had to capture the moment on film! Another unusual hazard on the river which unfortunately I didn’t capture for posterity had been horses being ridden through the water. That is a new thing for us to mention in our safety briefings.
It also made a nice change to self cater. Clare and Freddie cooked some tasty meals for us and we had plenty of time to relax and improve our card skills and amuse ourselves by getting the fire going in the evenings. I am grateful to everyone who came along for helping to make it such an enjoyable weekend.
More photos here