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Monday, 7 April 2014

'Be the change you want to see in the world'

What would you do if you could do anything? ... watch this little gem....

For now I choose half and half, enough of the stuff that I need to do, to sustain the things I want to do - so for those who know me, and still wonder why id rather drive hundreds of miles just to go get freezing cold on a river, or out in the hills in my own time then keep listening. I shouldnt think ill ever be able to completely stop doing things I dont want to do, but, there are some pretty awesome things to do in this world, so get on it as much as humanly possible. Thats my plan, and I like it so far :) Whats yours?

This YouTube channel is all about a guy called Alan Watts, a british philosopher, touched a bit of a nerve with me today, after my epic week or so away in Scotland, and all the fantastic things I got to do in 2012. Roll on 2013.

'Be the change you want to see in the world'

Go Ghandi. Right on.


Saturday, 17 August 2013

To Jason, Love Sam

Sam made this video on 17th May 2013, for Jason, and its a beautiful thing....give it a watch.

NSR 2013!

Well that was an experience, my first NSR!!

Friday night, with Heather in the van with me, we trundled down the road from the container at uni...and firstly we managed to get a bit lost! BUT it was totally worth it because we were on the way to Chaz's house for dinner, YUCC have this tradition that Chaz's parents did dinner for us all before NSR....dear god, it was epic, we showed up late and everything but we got given this lasagne and cake for pudding, it was gorgeous and a great way to start the weekend. 

Then off to the campsite to let the carnage begin...and mine began with meeting Dave, Mark, Matt and Rush at the registration tent so we could all pitch up together. Then mandatory beers :) of which we had many...the party tent was heaving and we all had a few drinks and i was pretty battered! And it turns out...that at NSR....there is a LOT of nakedness. I was without a t-shirt within about an hour for the rest of the night! And so was Dave and everyone else...sweatyyy mmmmmm.
The course from the bottom
Saturday competition time, I was pretty nervous actually, never been to HPP before, and wanted to with a 360 - a roll or a turn etc, then just play as much as you can on the features on the way down, along with hitting this ball in the eddy which hangs from the slalom line. It was a disaster! I tried to get stuck in the inlet wave, managed it, and then got thrown over and swam out of my boat. Dear god. Then the eddy with the ball, and i decided to lick it. Yes LICK it, the ball at NSR, i thought sod it, im going to get ill anyway! Then, the waves on the corner, i got nailed, side surfing it like a bitch, then it chucked me in for a roll, then more surfing, then i got tired, then i swam again. I was live baited out twice, got back in and carried on both times but how embarrassing! And it was Chaz who bailed me out too!!! Anyways, i got off the water, Dave fed me bacon, nobody saw me thankfully on my run :) I got back on for a wee play but I was pretty hanging still and that was it. Funny thing was, I made the womens expert category!! WTF?! 
Turns out that was the sum total of the boating i did over the weekend, because that night, this happened....
Dave and Glen

Running about the campsite at 3am

Matt, conquering the bollards 
Party tent, raving!

Our well respected kayaking experts.....! 

...and predictably, i didnt make it to my heats, which were like 9.15am...REALLY?! As if im going to bed early at NSR?! Nah. Not a chance. I woke up at 830am, on time to make it, Dave rolled over sweating alcohol, telling me to go off and get it done but you can bugger off if you think im coming with you....thanks a heap! I wasnt feeling it, then i met this guy called Alan, who convinced me that the secret to life was, and i quote, 'to stop giving so much of a shit' - whilst walking around still awake from the night before, in an sleeping bag upside down, pretty naked too by the looks of it. I got his number and I said id try and make it to Hurley sometime :)

Anyway, we spent the day watching the playboating events, the mens intermediate was absolute class, the expert categories were sickening and the fresher runs were hilarious. As was the old school event, which was Saturday but still, old boats, old kit. Awesome. 

There was so much swimming, and it was encouraged!! An amazing atmosphere :) Utter carnage, lots of beer, lots of paddling...awesome.


Richard Green styling it

Also just remembered, I may have written in a WWPF post from last year that some guy from Aston uni wrote his number on my arm and Dave found it on me later when we went to bed lol...well, i bumped into him this weekend too...not sure if he remembered why he recognised me! lol! Anyways ...roll on next year! I heart NSR :)

Washburn 18th May 2013 - YCC release day!

YCC in charge of the release at the mighty washburn for the day....what can possibly go wrong! 

Ha, well apparently nothing, the day went off without a hitch and we had beautiful weather and everything...a rare day at the Washburn! 
Jon had asked me to help him out for the day with an intro to whitewater for a couple of our newbs, beginning with a run down of the washburn and structure of whitewater ...eddies and signals etc. His great idea was to have me and JBT paddling it and doing the things that he was explaining like a live demo - I had a blast doing this actually! It was like being a performing monkey! And to add to the hilarity, JBT had an out of boat experience at the broken weir so monkey came to the rescue. Hehehe. Jon also turned to me and goes 'Rach, just err, drop into that sideways for me will you?!' ... just into the play weir but still, i was in a nomad and its a shallow ditch so i was less than keen but in the end, did it anyway, Jon did it too himself but still, the look on my face was priceless when he asked! Down the bottom we did some stuff with the newbs, they did good considering that it was too early for them really but still, we gave it a good go and rafted/guided them down a bit of the river which was!
Sideways? In this?!


Lew having a blast :) I love that guy!

As soon as I had got off the river with those guys, the others were getting on and I was tempted into another run, and another, and then we took Adie and G down with a bunch of us - they told us, they didnt want to do the weir from the word go...but then we missed the getout for them to portage, and so they had to run it...and they loved it :) 

Adie on the weir

G on the weir

Me in the weir lol

Adie gettin his sea legs back :)

Then, between stuffing my face with a banana and some chocolate, back on for another run in the playboats before giving up for the day, this time I didn't mind the weir sideways because I was in a boat that I could play and then get out of it! :D Love my star, its great. 

Also bumped into an old face today, Chris turned up with a bunch of folk at the river, and I was pretty much stunned into silence when I clocked who it was and didn't know what to say so we exchanged knowing nods like you do and went on our way. I had a chance to strike up conversation but didnt, just didnt know what to say. Made me sit back and realise how far ive come though, doesnt feel like ive made any progress with my boating but seeing him and thinking back to the sorts of things we used to do and what was scary then, and whats scary now...definitely got me thinking.

Ive paddled 4 days out of 7 this week, and im so much happier :) more weeks like this please! 

Friday, 16 August 2013

All the way to Scotland, twice, to Germany and back again...

February turns out has been a busy month for me, I started the month with a trip to Scotland to go boating on the 1st, with the intention of boating with YUCC on their trip, but never caught up with them...oops! It started by arriving in Glasgow on Thursday night, working Friday morning at Daves, then a jolly out to the Clyde wave (guage at 2m) for an hour between things before an online lecture in evening, fresh out of the river! Turned out the Uni had ventured up to Roybridge for Saturday and with a three hour drive from Glasgow, we decided to make our own plans Saturday which in the end meant a run down the Kelvin (on huge) in the city, a quick run but all we had time for before going off to a ceilidh in the evening with the scottish uni's polo competition happening that weekend. I watched a guy do a yard of Guiness that night...trooper. Or idiot.

Mighty Clyde!
Legend?Eejit? Not sure.
Euan bootie
Murray bootie

Just, well, Glen!

The boat race

Matt bootie

The next day was kind of a big deal for me, not a massive day or anything but we went back to the Leny. I thought I would be more nervous than I was but I was still pretty jumpy. I remembered a few markers here and there but my memory from the run last time was a blur ... this was where I dislocated my shoulder 6 months ago, almost to the day. It was the 3rd February, level was 0.98, and before Dave says it was slightly higher and the 1st July last year. 

I ran the right line on the falls instead of the left as i did before, and have to say i do prefer the left. I know its meant to be harder and stuff but I kinda enjoyed in first time round. Did the right, got through the gorge and stuff and eventually at S-bends I asked Dave where it was it happened, and he pointed it out, and honestly, there is no reason for me to have gone in there! The rocky bit there by the top is totally not how I remember it, but we passed it fine, and I relaxed a bit from there, and I got off the river, still feeling the love for the Leny :) 

So we ended up with a sedate but nice weekend, I did feel a bit gutted we hadn't done more but it was still cool and I got something out of it. 

A week later, my supervisor announces that im going to go to Germany for a few days, so conveniently i chose to fly out of Glasgow, putting me back there for the YCC scotland trip on the 21st, so naturally i made the most of it the weekend before as well before I flew! Currey night with the girls on Friday night and then boating Saturday with YCC, on the Wharfe. It was a wicked little day, did some leading, had a fresher buddy, Batman, who is wicked and I got to run Linton falls for the first time as it was going at a really nice level, I think the guage was at like, 0.7 or something like that. So Shaun, Greg and me ran the falls, twice, and I led me and Greg down the second time - it was nice to go first for once!! 

Then back to Glasgow, where we wanted to get out boating but Dave was feeling really shite and I wasnt feeling the love for bullying him out onto a river, so a beer in the park was order of the day before the Jena trip the following morning. I returned from Jena on Thursday, Dave flew back up from London so once we were both sorted we shifted up to Fort William for the weekend with YCC. I have never seen Scotland so low! Half of the trip didnt take boats but I was determined, playboats and big boats at the ready!

Friday morning, we were all fired up to go somewhere even though it was dry and though that the Sporge was worth a shot, low levels, very technical but i thought it was a good laugh, lots of pin potential and rock smacking, and Dave got a spanking in headbanger I think its called, everyone actually worried for a second there, but then he surfaced with a grin on his face...that was close! Lots of the club arent used to this type of river, there were portages and stuff to be done but it was fine. After that, Dave, Elliot, Rob and I went for a run down the Roy gorge, and having done so well all day, I fell out of my boat almost Turns out its hard to get under your boat to try to roll in a low water gorge. It was cool, some reallllllllly nasty ciphons to portage and there was one drop which was a no go which took an AGE to portage but other than that a good enough little run, and Elliot managed to snap the end off of his paddles...oops. 

We ended the day watching England beat France in the rugby in the Fort and a few beers, followed the next day by the drive home, having exhausted the realistic dry Scotland options, we did call in at the etive on the way back and...
....nahhhh. Home to bed for more rugby, this time Scotland beating Ireland which was nice. Then, for me, back to sunny York  before NSR next weekend! 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

January Snowboating/Barraging!

Returning from Scotland in the new year brought a new wave of motivation for me, ive discovered that although I get anxious of doing rivers that i know will push me, I get really stressed, waking up in bed almost dreading the day ahead - or if its really bad having not slept the night before, the feelings that i have when i can feel a wasted day passing me truly horrible. I can make all sorts of excuses of being ill, the weather being off or whatever it is, finding reasons why its justified not to go out that day...its a funny thing as i hate myself afterwards. Same as the feeling as after a portage in a funny kind of way. I felt this a bit over christmas, and didnt like it one bit, so a more concerted effort to get less stressed about things is needed.

This started by hauling myself out of bed for two trips to the Tees Barrage over the last couple of weeks i the star - its pretty much guaranteed ill get a spanking if i try to playboat that thing or in acid drop, but its worth it...there are a couple of photos from the trip with the uni on 13th Jan, but not from the trip with Alex and Larry on the 27th :( I was able to get my star into a few features on these trips, i got my first ride in happy eater which i was really stoked with, and the feature under the bridge above it, got myself a few flat spins and was pretty chuffed, managed acid drop a few times, got backlooped and eaten in front of the uni lot though which was funny! Thank fully i stayed in the boat...! :D although on the day with Alex and Larry, I celebrated a victory over the flat spin in the hole under the bridge by falling out of my!
Double Duo Trouble on inlet

Gunning for a surf
I went along to a YUCC snowboating trip too at Garrowby hill ...
My van IS in there...

Shaun 'chillin'...ahem


Gotta love the Chaz hat


Pub :)
So nothing too exciting for January but a couple of days out and snowboating more than keeps me entertained with a sprinkling of climbing, swimming and  running :) Fingers crossed for good water this year!! :)

Monday, 28 January 2013

Christmas & New year boating fun 2012/2013

Yeahhh, with HPL out of the way, im home for Christmas...:) im sure i promised myself that i would work this week for at least 3 days but nah, it was too nice being at home, visiting family and doing stuff like baking with mum and other stuff for Christmas prep. Even a spot of climbing at Craggy with Rob, an hour Christmas shopping in Guildford, some awesome Thai food and beer in Crawley, back down the motorway to Reading to get on a train to London Zoo and a walk to a whisky shop and down the Thames where there was a full on xmas market thing going on :) awesome. 

Dirty wench :P (Xxx)
Sea of truffles!
Feastalicious! Only took 2 days!!
A thoughtful gift
Feet up before bed with a glass of red

After 3 days of basically nothing but eating too much, well i did go for a run on christmas day and one other day, but still, lots of food, i trudged the 6 1/2 hours to Glasgow. Not as long as i thought it would be but still a fairly long way to go! The first day, i woke up feeling a bit rubbish and so Dave and me outfitted boats, well, he outfitted my boat is more like it - new footrest and I put padding in my helmet. Second day was much better, Dave, Euan and I, rose out of our pits at 7am (aka stupid o clock) to go see if the Calder was going, it wasnt, and so we ended up on the Gryfe which was great acutally, bit of a one hit wonder but nice all the same :) we went up and scouted the Kelvin too, but once we discovered that it wasnt worth getting on, we opted for home, food, pub. Awesome.

The next day?

The plan was a big 3 river day for us, drive out to the Lyon, do the Braan gorge and then something, probably the falls of Dochart on the way back. I was a bit nervous but up for it. Then the Lyon, on the smallest rapid probably of the whole day, i dropped an edge next to an unfortunately undercut rock. I shouted as loud as i could before i turned but i knew Dave couldnt hear me. Underwater was pretty black, hands up to find a rock ceiling, wheres the surface....i popped out seconds later but i took the involuntary breath under there and i came up coughing, and had Dave worried, but he got me in my state of spluttering and mild shock into a small cave, when he disappeared to go retrieve my boat. My paddles came out a bit longer after i did apparently. I climbed out of the cave, gathered myself, a bit shaken up, then Dave knew how to get me back on track with what must have been a 10ft seal launch off of a ledge back into the gorge. Fucking boaters. We did the rest, with much less carnage thankfully, got a roll in anger and then came to the end with a smile on my face. Lungs were pretty sore so when we moved on, too late for the Braan, Dave hit the Dochart twice (with an adoring audience, not that he was showing off) and i elected against it and manned the camera although it does look good and ill be back, hopefully later in the week.

New years eve, we got the call that the Calder was finally going, Monday 31st December 2012. Last run of the year. And it was a cracker :) 
Dave on the main drop of the run

Me on the runoff from the main drop

After dropping Matt off and retiring for showers and food, we ended up over at Sarah and Louises flat party which was an interesting evening. 
Needless to say, New years day was a writeoff, hangover happiness didnt happen as much as Matt chatteed about it! 

The 2nd Jan was pretty awesome, Matt Dave and I went off to what we called 'fluffy bunny gorge'...more commonly known as the Nith, followed by a random pick out of the guidebook which turned out to be a day-maker, Crawick water, a really tight little gorge that was well worth the effort! some really tight corners, pretty blind all the way down, nice chutes and moves to make - a lot of fun :) Bit of a pain parking the car on a random stream by the road, but first new run of the year for us all and we even had a bit of local crackpot action at the end....hilarious, Matt or me coundlt understand a word but didnt want to say! Eeep!

On the 4th, friday, I wanted to get up north and this was the last chance to do it, so i booked us in to climb at the Ice Factor! We called in at the Etive on the way past and it really was at medium i swear!
Dave hadnt ice-climbed before, but the guys at the centre (mostly thanks to Isi) made me feel so welcome back at the centre, it was truly amazing! Caught up with those who i knew and befriended those that i didnt and ended up climbing with Kev and one of the instructors (name escaping me again!) which was awesome, and Dave seemed to get into it which was nice...and of course, that meant he could be a show off!

Kev on the bridge above the cave
Me - right of the chimney
Dave - right of the chimney

Kev mastering the logs

Dave showing off on the bridge

Beaming to be back!
A great day, followed by beers and a wee dram in the pub with Isi and after, we went and camped up at the Kings house, pitching up at 1am! hehe! Although, it was great not having to get up early to get on the Etive, we rolled out of bed at 11 just as the others arrived! I was proper nervous, the Etive has been a river ive been building up to since I started paddling - and for one reason or another, didnt get on it until now and i desperately wanted to do it well if i was going to :) Me, Dave, John and Little Steve (?) three physicists and an engineer to tackle the Etive...hehehe couldnt help but smile! The river dropped overnight so it was low but still, high enough to go well and I was happy ...

John on Triple (top)
Little on Triple (bottom)
Cant remember, maybe skijump?! bottom of crack of doom!? 
Right Angle....
So. That was the Etive. Tick. 

Back to Glasgow and the pub for epic tapas (nom) and beers and all we did the next day was ice skating and skating though, i got my worst injury of the whole trip by stacking it on the floor...! This was also the only thing that we did the Dave didn't kick my ass at! Although, before we got on the ice, we rocked up to find some guy stacked it so bad there was ambulances and stuff and everyone assumed that there was a fight or something...only in Glasgow! I drove home at 7am or something equally stupid the next morning so ill sign off here... until next time!

Dave clinging on...HAHA
Steady on...
Merchants Square:)
 Happy Christmas and New year!