It was a weekend we had family to visit down Somerset but while were down there I felt the need to take boats in case there is the chance to paddle. With this news Sarah was keen and promptly packed all canoeing kit ready for a possible new river to tick of the ever growing list of rivers she wants to paddle.
Saturday morning arrived and were off to paddle the Dart Loop this is classic grade 2 river so the next step up from the white water course with real rocks and real features all of which are separated with flat bits and small moving bits. We arrived at the get on car park to be greeted by many more boaters that had the same idea, it was like a busy supermarket car park just before Christmas. The loop is just that a loop of river that has a road across its shortest distance. We got changed and I drove the car to the finish with the plan to walk the mile or so back but within about 500 meters I was picked up by another car of boaters.
We got on at the ledge just above the bridge and proceeded to paddle down the river. As always Sarah was anxious as never paddled the river before and not knowing whats round the next corner. Due to the trip only being about 7km we took our time eddy hopping, and giving her the chance to improve both river running skills like breakouts and ferry glides as well as river reading skills. This is an ideal river to hone the fundamental river running skills as it has a bit of everything.
Some features are big enough to have names and within about an hour we have reached Triple step a S shaped rapid with 3 noticeable ledges. We took our time going down this grade 3 feature and arrived at the bottom with both of us still dry and Sarah in amazement that she was still in her boat. Just behind us a group of 5 people followed down with 3 swimming, cue me getting some rescue practice with 3 people all swimming round in the eddies and boats in different directions. The rest of the river is all classic Grade 2 rapids that just kept going on and on until the get out. We got out just above the new weir that has recently been rebuilt resulting in a deadly stopper that you do not want to be in. The result was another river ticked off Sarahs growing list and a great day paddling in the sunshine on a fun river.
I really recommend this for people who have been paddling on the white water course and want to move onto real moving water rivers, I do hope to run another trip down this way in the future.