Transports arranged, boats loaded and bags packed. It was finally the weekend and 38 regents’ paddlers descended on the quaint riverside town of Dulverton.
Dulverton may be quaint but the rumours of a dark and deadly past had reached us even in London town. The town was haunted by 10 dead nuns who had all died in the hostel we were now staying in and we were staying there just 3 nights before Halloween (uh oh!)
Although I was looking forward to spending some quality time with my fellow paddlers, to say I wasn’t a little apprehensive would be a lie. However, ghosts and ghouls weren’t the only thing we were worried about this weekend. Despite all of Paul’s rain dancing the rivers were low and the real horror of the weekend had dawned on us… were we going to be able to paddle?!
Optimism and a bit insider knowledge got us all paddling on the river Exe from Bolham Weir to Bickleigh on Saturday. It was a beautiful, but chilly day; the sun was shining and we were paddling! It was a lovely section of the Exe that was do-able even on low levels with weir features nicely spread out throughout the journey. There was a lot of flat water to paddle but the scenery made you forget about tired arms. My favourite moment was turning round the river bend to see the spires of Tiverton Castel’s chapel tower over the trees on the edge of the bank.
Later that day, the dead nuns came out to party and they were hungry and in the mood for a good Thai meal. It was delicious and much Halloween fun was had by all!
The next day chaos reigned as we were wondering if the Barle was runnable – it was debatable. Many cut their losses and headed back home, but the optimists, the keen-beans and those who didn’t know any better stayed to paddle. We’d had assurances that Paul and Chrissy had paddled it lower. So off we went for better or worse…
Turned out it was runnable! WOOH for the optimists! It was a great day of paddling with a few more features than the Exe and much shorter so it made for a fun morning of padding.