A dart to the Dart – 12 Mar

Following an uncertain forecast for the preceding days, we decided to go ahead with our trip to the River Dart in Devon in the hope and expectation that there would still be enough water for an enjoyable trip – especially since we’d be spending twice as long on the road as on the river! Six of us met up at various pickup points between Brecon and Newport and travelled together in Steve’s wagon, with paddling kit loaded into boats on the roof and squeezed into the little space left in the car. We arrived to the minute in Newbridge car park at the start of the Dart Loop, where we met the rest of our party and made the decision to paddle both the ‘Loop’ and the ‘Lower’ all the way to Buckfastleigh: it seemed a shame not to, having driven all this way! So, after a swift car shuttle we embarked on this classic whitewater river section, slotting in between other groups but never having to queue at the key features (which is often the case at medium river levels!).

The river was at a good ‘low’ level – not quite the ‘scrape’ we’d feared, although we found lots of rocks to keep us on our toes and certainly touched-bottom at times. Nevertheless, we navigated all the key features on the ‘Loop’ without incident (apart from lots of semi-deliberate rolling by Andrew and Peter practising their tail-squirts, which we haven’t put towards this year’s roll tally!), running all the Grade 3 sections (Washing Machine, Lovers’ Leap and Triple Falls) largely on-sight (with a quick inspection by Steve of the best line at the first of the ‘triple’ drops). Past Holne Bridge the river eased off, albeit with numerous small rapids and two weirs which we were able to run after a quick inspection (at Holne and Furzeleigh) – and sooner than we expected we reached Buckfastleigh and the start of the long drive home!

It was great to visit the Dart for what must be the first time in about 15 years for our Club: it’ll be on the calendar again next winter, hoping for a little more water!

Our last winter white water trip is scheduled to the River Barle (‘solid’ grade 2) on Sun 26 Mar – subject to river conditions as usual. Another lengthy drive (not as far as the Dart!); this is currently ‘full’ – but we may be able to squeeze in extra places, so please drop Steve an e-mail if you’d like to be put on the ‘reserve list’. More details on both in due course…

Trip information & 2023 statistics to date:

  • 12 Mar 2023, River Dart Newbridge to Buckfastleigh, 10km
  • Low water (0.67m on Austin’s Bridge gauge)
  • 8 kayakers: Andrew, Chris, Dave, Pete, Phil H, Rhiannon, Sam Ha, Steve R
  • No swims nor accidental rolls
PaddlerNo of tripsNo of SwimsNo of Rolls
Mike1 (polo)
Phil H100
Sam C310
Sam Ha410
Steve H120
Steve R600

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.