Canoe Soup in the Ardeche

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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!

2 Replies to “Canoe Soup in the Ardeche”

  1. Hey Islay – it was touch and go for a while and I was kinda obsessed about getting my sunglasses back – I don’t know why, I think I suffered some kind of blow to the head! See you for drinks Friday xx

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