A week in Slovenia, 19-26 July 2009

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The River Soca, Julian Alps, Slovenia.

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Paul and I have recently returned from Slovenia, a fantastic kayaking and holiday destination. The Soca Valley of the Julian Alps in the North East of the Slovenia hides the bluer than blue Soca River. The tone of the river changes with the season, and is surreally vivid.

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The river Soca is suitable for all kayaking abilities, the tourist information sells a comprehensible map detailing the get ins and get outs along with the grades of the sections of the river. The river varies from grade I-II up to grades IV-V. The sections are fairly extensive allowing everyone to enjoy a section that suits their abilities. The world championship slalom course is a grade IV section open to paddlers, the get out is just before the un-paddlable siphon canyon. The get ins and get outs are well labelled from the river bank, and you are often lucky enough to find a toilet in the car park! We paddled two sections of the river, the first was a grade I-II from Kobarid to Tomlin. The second day we paddled from Bovec to Treska a section of grade II-III. The scenery was stunning and the water so clear. Some sections of the river are popular with rafters, and we observed one group get their raft wrapped around a rock, and the subsequent struggle to free it. The grading of the rivers was fair and the boulder rapids good fun.

We hired boats from Positive Sport [1], a company run by two brothers in Kobarid. They were very friendly and provided us with all the equipment we needed, including two brand new Pyrannah boats. All our shuttles were organised by the brothers to incorporate all requirements and requests. They can also provide kayak instruction to those who wish to have a little guidance, or to complete beginners. Hiring such good quality equipment really helped reduce the costs of transporting things with the airlines.

We stayed in Kobarid, at Camping Koren [2]. This camp site is a 10 min walk out of the town centre of Kobarid, it is a well run shady site on the bank of the river Soca. Kobarid itself is a small town with a hotel a few pizzerias and bars. It was the site of a large battle of the 1st WW, the local museum and preserved trenches are worth exploring. It is also possible to make your way up to the source of the Soca in the Triglav National Park. A stunning cavern filled with bright blue water.

The Soca dominated our holiday, exploring it by foot, car and boat. There was something for everyone there, and I would recommend it as a paddling and holiday destination to anyone!

Sue Howarth