7 of us set off to the river Dart for the paddlers party weekend, full of hope that the weather reports were wrong and that by some miracle, rain might actually fall on Dartmoor, making the lower-than-scrape dart loop actually paddle-able.
Alas the rain gods did not smile upon us, and with no rain by Friday morning, a quick look at google maps and magic seaweed meant off we went to Bigbury-on-sea to catch some waves!
As it turned out the 4* rated surf was great! There were successful surfs, rolls and a few swims. Shout out to Maria for rolling up 8 times and Verena for catching a pretty sizeable wave all the way to the beach at the first attempt!
The sun set at 6pm as we struggled to remove our kit with cold hands. Then it was off for a pub dinner and finally back to the River Dart Country Park to sleep in the hottest dorm room in the world.
Saturday: After stuffing our faces at the all you can eat breakfast (as is tradition), The continued lack of rain meant Saturdays activity was a hike alongside the Upper dart, as Paddy incorrectly identified every rapid we happened upon with ‘I think this one might be euthanasia’. To be fair I imagine they look very different if there is actually water in the river.
3 hours later and hike over, we decided to save surfing for Sunday, heading for coffee and cake in Ashburton, before Maria, Lawrence and Verena finished the day taking turns jumping in the river for some valuable throw bag rescue practice.
That night the paddlers party meant the onsite pub had an atmosphere, but despite spending at least £20 between us, no-one managed to win anything in the raffle. Paddy was secretly pleased I think, having lost his £10 worth of tickets almost immediately after buying them. Several pints and games of dodgy table football later, everyone headed for a much better nights sleep possibly due to alcohol consumption, but also as we’d actually remembered to turn down the radiators.
Sunday saw another successful surf day at Bigbury. The waves were a bit smaller and there were a few more surfers to potentially hit - but we still didn’t, so I call that a win. A cup of tea and swift 5 hour drive later we were back in London.
Thanks everyone for a great trip and particularly Paddy and Zibby for driving.
Now onto the next one!
Paddlers - Paddy, Me, Zibby, Tamas, Verena, Maria, Lawrence
Selected photos of the trip in our Facebook Group.