As most of you know, here at Dewerstone HQ we are very much in love with Dartmoor, so it seems fitting that in the winter we go paddling at the heart of the moors; the mighty River Dart. Now summer is very much in full swing, as a kayaker I am left reminiscing about the days spent kayaking and canoeing on my favourite river, so this felt like the perfect excuse to share some cool shots from last season's paddling!
The Dart is a fantastic hub for all paddlesports and with a range of grades it caters for all paddlers, which is why ambassador Darren Joy uses it as a base for many of his courses www.fluidskills.com:
To appreciate the river fully, you have to start your day with the Upper section, which comes in at a solid Grade 3-4, depending on the level, and offers a wonderfully steep and technical section with some fun rapids like Euthanasia and Lucky Tor. There are plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself on this section of the river by practising eddy hopping, 5* Leadership techniques and even a few places to start really styling your boofs.
If you don't fancy paddling this section then you can always walk up the scenic woodland path which runs along the whole section and get some epic shots of paddlers styling the rapids, or even have a dip in the summer.
^ Author Becky Waters showing how it's done on Euthanasia
^ Amy Elworthy in control on the Upper Dart
^ Lyndon Williams on Surprise, Surprise, Upper Dart
^ Mark Allen looking cool on the Upper Dart
Once the excitement of the Upper has worn off you reach the Loop which is very popular for first time white water paddlers and club groups, as a grade 2-3 – again dependent on water levels - it is a very forgiving and fun introduction to white water. It is also a well used training and assessment ground for BCU 4* and MWE courses by local coaches. This section is a host to many different styles of paddling, such as squirt boaters, canoeists, kayakers, playboaters, SUP's and even inflatables in low flows! The two main rapids on this section are Lovers Leap, which is awesome for practising eddy hopping, and Triple Step, a great wave to practise surfing on.
Upon paddling the loop section, you arrive at the River Dart Country Park - where you can depart for a post paddling beer or carry on to do the lower section. This section is also popular amongst clubs, beginners and canoeists as it provides some great places to learn and practise ferry-gliding, eddying in and out amongst other skills, all whilst paddling a scenic stretch of river. There are many walks and footpaths to explore through the beautiful woodland that borders the river.
^ Open boat fun on the Lower Dart
^ Tom Rainey dropping the New Bridge - Photo credit Barny Young
^ Racing the train near Dartington, the South Hams
With the river now being in fishing season, we would love to hear about your overseas paddling adventures – remember to #dewerstone - and we hope to see you on the Dart next season!