This time last week we canoed 24km of the Ardeche Gorge; totally beautiful scenery, stunning river running at the base of breathtakingly steep cliffs, perfect setting for a day of whacky races down a river with thousands of other day trippers, let loose in canoes, hurling down rapids with nary a clue how to handle them.
And I include myself in this. My approach to a rapid is to shut my eyes, paddle as fast as possible, scream like a maniac and hope we’re still upright at the other end.
Which for the most part we were. Although we developed a weird pattern of pirouetting 360 degrees at the end of each rapid as for some reason I seem to be unable to paddle in a straight line.
Then towards the end of the day. Disaster. There was a three boat pile up in front of us that we couldn’t avoid. We hit a rock as well as a couple of other boats and turned over. I lost my sunglasses then got my ankle trapped between two rocks. The force of the water and the never-ending line of canoes coming through the rapid didn’t make it so easy to extricate myself.
But it all turned out OK, we got to the shore eventually and a very kind boy with a pair of goggles even retrieved my sunglasses from the rapid for me too. A total superstar.
It’s always good to have a bit of drama on your holidays, not too much, but just a little. It took about 8 hours in the end and was a very memorable day – completely knackering but great for the Bingo wings!