The Swale looks intimidating

Two evenings ago, I was looking at river levels and saw that the Swale amongst other things had been dancing around a nice level. Jack said he'd get me down the Swale before Christmas, I was having kayaking withdrawal... I made the proposal.

The next morning Jack called to say it was too low, a no go. I was somewhat relieved. Then Jamie called saying it would go, so we went.

We got to the Swale.. it was low.. we jumped on, got to Rainby and decided it was too dangerous. Now.. Rainby when too low looked horrible.. the 'normal' line was pointed out, and things were put into a little perspective as regards height and consequences on the Swale. In some respects i'm happy it was too low.

We ended up running the upper tees (standard) which was surprisingly good fun. I got down everything, stayed in my boat, and got to experience low force with a tow back. I need to work on my boof.

I learned that taking your time and looking at stuff, back paddling etc is actually really good.. no point rushing and messing it up.

After we got off, the fun really started. I politely made the point that we were getting off in a field full of bulls. Jamie quite rudely informed me that i was wrong as they did not have horns. Turns out bulls do not always have horns.
I was a little behind the others having practised a few rolls. Shouting across the field I jested that the 'cows' were plotting something. Then they started charging. A dramatic few seconds, and a good adrenaline pump saw four grown men run across a field and over a wall, having decided that boats were not suitable 'cover'. The result five angry bulls surrounding a Jackson hero in the middle of a field, with no intention of leaving.
Fast forward twenty minutes, a series of staring competitions, some throw bag handy work, some childish jokes, and a lack of appreciation for the danger of the situation, the boat was recovered, and everyone survived.

It was so surreal it was incredibly amusing. Matt did not believe us when we got back to the car.. Just as well Bryn got photos :) All in all good end to a bad day.. and maybe i won't be so eager to run the Swale so soon.

Thomas Clowes

Thomas Clowes

I am a 31 year old software engineer from the United Kingdom. During the day I build multi platform applications. In my spare time I eat food, run marathons, and climb hills.