Halifax trip 2016

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Halifax Trip 14-15 May 2016

We all arrived as expected sometime around 11pm on Friday night. After dropping Jack, Tom and Chris off at their salubrious luxury residence in Halifax (ask them about the interesting conversations with the bar staff which sounded like a 2 Ronnies sketch) , I proceeded to my exclusive bespoke accommodation for a camomile tea and excellent night's sleep courtesy of Dave and his delightful wife Caron.

We re-convened at 9.30am stoked and ready to roll! (or maybe just fall out). All kitted out, we were treated to some top-class coaching in white water skills such as low braces, edging and steering by Peter, Dave and Nick of the Halifax CC. We then proceeded a half mile or so up the Calder for our first little play on the weir. Everyone came down the weir with no spills and some happy faces all round. There was some fun to be had playing in the surf at the bottom.

After this we went back to the clubhouse for lunch. We were treated to a resplendent feast of sausage casserole, baked potatoes, chilli, tortilla chips and coleslaw, followed by cake and all accompanied by copious cups of tea and coffee. [This raises the bar for the return trip in November! Will have to get my slow cooker out]

Our white water freshmen then had their first goes on the Halifax series of shelves. The shelves have changed since last year due to the floods. I should point out here that HCC have had some tough times with the floods. All their spanky new changing rooms were flooded, and they have worked really hard to get them back to normal.

It was really great seeing the big smiles as everyone tried zooming over drops for the first time. The coaching in the morning had really paid off as there were few swims, and any spills were taken in good humour. Personally I found that after a year, I still found the course fun and could push myself to try some new ways off launching myself off things (ok, yeah..) ;) I tried a playboat for the first time which made it more exciting.

Our new white water supremoes were soon expertly ferry-gliding across the rapids! This really is a great place to both practice and learn. It is worth mentioning that this is not just a place for beginners- there are some interesting eddies up against the rocks in one or two of the drops, that the more experienced members of HCC still challenge each other to get into! We had a great afternoon.

After an afternoon of exhausting fun, we all headed off to rest and get ready for the restaurant. Dave F had researched a good deal which meant all our food was only £17 each! Bargain. We had the problem of 'too much money' when we all put in for the bill, so we took the extra after the tip and went to the pub for a drink. Me Dave and Caron went home after one- we're not sure where the lads went but understand it may have involved somewhere called 'Roxy's'. I got to see one of my erstwhile stomping grounds, the Brighouse Ritz, on the way home, bringing back memories of when I used to drive all night up north and back to dance all night.

The next day we all met bright, bushy tailed and earlyish to set off for our big river and canal trip. Having managed to trip and fall over on a sticking up piece of wood, I bounced up and off we went. [This set the scene for a day of amusing tumbles.] In gorgeous weather we paddled along admiring the beautiful scenery and taking in the wildlife, including herons and wagtails (can't remember which but Ged spotted it). I tried flinging myself vertically into the river at the seal launch, which gave endless amusement. There was another weir which afforded more photo opportunities and surfing fun. There was an open boat along and it was good watching this going over the weirs. After a while it was lunchtime and also time to move over to the canal. This involved an interesting dismount in which I ended up hanging like a monkey from the underside of the pontoon with my boat half full of water. I now know I cannot use a playboat as a step in the same way I use a WW boat. Most others seemed to manage with the odd heave with a strap or a hand. Anyway I managed to get out with the assistance of a very nice man called Steve who only drinks Tetleys, not soup, never soup.

Then the police turned up! They were pursuing an escaping criminal into a nearby breakers yard. Fortunately the police dogs were not interested in our sandwiches, although we were warned to 'keep away, she might bite!' We just carried on eating by the picturesque lock. We then set off on our canal trip. It was quite a long trip and I struggled towards the end to keep up in the playboat, but remembering the new very upright paddle technique that one should use with the little boat helped a lot, and I managed to keep the pace. We all helped each other over the portages. This in itself was good experience in finding the best ways in and out. At some point I ended up under my boat in some nettles whilst avoiding a cyclist. I also found this amusing, although I am still rubbing the cream on my neck to stop the itching.

All too soon we were back at the drop-in point and it was time to say goodbye. The cake re-appeared undamaged, having been protected by Paul of HCC throughout a capsize. (Dave: 'IS THE CAKE ALL RIGHT??') HCC were really great and took the boats back for us which saved us about 40 minutes on our journey- big thanks to them all for a superb day and weekend overall.

The photos are displayed on the HCC facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halifaxcc/phot ... =3&theater