Rather than take any risks with uncertain and perhaps rapidly changing levels, we had always rather planned to have Thursday as a playboating day on the dam-release Garry. Mary elected to have a confidence-restoring day on this known river, in her creek boat, while Mike tried out his new Jackson All Star and I was in the Flirt. It proved to be a somewhat bigger release than we were used to, but this was only really noticeable on the final wave. The third capsize off the top wave netted me my 200th whitewater roll, and another three followed on the bottom wave – I never did manage a flat spin this time 🙁
Heavy rain meant rivers up again on Friday, and we rejected the idea of paddling the Loy, having seen it on the Sunday of Wet West – the thought of it rising to that sort of level while we were on was just a bit too scary for a day when we didn’t really want to have any kind of epic before driving home. So we went to the Nevis instead ! OK, the Lower Nevis, which gave us the option of running the falls at the start.
Michael and Lowri did, whilst Mary and I camera-hounded. Unfortunately, the better viewpoints were very spray-lashed, whilst the one I picked, where the spray (and rain) was being blown away from the camera, didn’t give a great view of the bottom of the drop (and Lowri had already almost fallen in here on the slippy rocks, so I wasn’t getting near the edge with the big DLSR).
Michael was keen to ensure that this descent was recorded, so he took a GoPro, too:
What a long way down into seething watery hell !
Below the falls, there is a short section of rather good rapids, but the river rapidly flattens out to become a bit dull. For quite a long way. We were encouraged to know that there was one good rapid just before the end, but this proved to have a large tree blocking the obvious line, and the line which would be unavoidable in the event of a capsize or indeed any loss of perfect control. This was a bit of a disappointment, but did mean we ended with a fairly early start for the long drive back, and not in the usual state of physical and mental exhaustion !
If you could guarantee to get the left eddy, the tree was avoidable, but even then, the stopper would want to feed you back to it… nasty !