By James Mulholland aged 14:
In January we took our young members on a trip to the River Dart. We headed down to Dartmoor in the minibus and reached Dartmoor in late morning, giving us a full day of canoeing on the river. We seal launched our way on and had a quick practice of ferry gliding and basic surfing to warm up. We were soon ready to move on to the bigger drops: the Washing Machine, Lover’s Leap and the head-banging Triple Falls which resulted in quite a few swimmers! We had a calm journey back. Until Lawrence’s car, the minibus and trailer all got stuck in knee-deep mud. Nevertheless the Leaside spirit pulled and pushed through so that after several sets of muddy clothes and an hour later we were free.
The next day involved paddling the slightly less well-known Walkham which lead onto the Tavy. After much boat scraping we were onto some tight, rocky rapids which provided a good contrast to the day before. Once again there were swimmers (Josh) and injuries (Josh) but all managed to paddle well and there was a noticeable improvement from the Saturday morning.
As we neared the end of the river no-one wanted to get off but we managed to finish on a high: a mass party wave which had everyone surfing and pushing the others off. I’m sure the skills learnt and Three Star Awards achieved will be put to good use on the Olympic legacy course and many other rivers in the future.