Lower Tavy 14 November 2010

On 14 November 2010, 11 members of Stroud Valley Canoe Club met at the riverside car park at 10am in Tavistock to run the section of the Lower Tavy down to Denham Bridge. The river was running at a moderate, although not high, level.

The group was of mixed ability including beginners, the Lower Tavy being a superb river in that all of the more difficult grade 3 rapids can be portaged.

First half of the trip was lead by Jeff, supervised by Dave T. On approaching the first S bend grade 3 rapid, Jeff ran it first to set up the safety, capsized, but fortunately his roll was working today.

Andy emptying boat

Andy started the swim score here with a beautifully executed capsize and boat evacuation.

Jeff in eddy below S rapid

Proceeding on down the river through lots of lovely grade 2 water we came to the next grade 3 rapid, a slot drop river right.

All ran this this except for Tom, with varying levels of success. A perfect performance running this was put in by Jonny.


We continued on down to the next grade 3 drop, a river left slot. This was portaged by the beginners, and run successfully by all except Justin, determined to catch up with Andy on the swim score.

Lunch beckoned next as we carried on down river past the next grade 3 rapid to our lunch spot, conveniently equipped with benches. Time for Dave P to take over group leadership.

After a bite to eat we proceeded down to the last and hardest grade 3 rapid just after the Walkham confluence. Again the beginners didn't run this, and Dave T and Jonny decided it looked knargly enough to take the river right chicken shoot.

The rest of us chose to run it.

Unfortunately Geoff capsized in the centre of the slot. Jeff roped him out and his kit was recovered successfully, however it was clear he had sustained an injury, a suspected dislocated shoulder, and needed to be evacuated. Jeff, Will and Chris were glad of their recent WWS&R training and Geoff was ferried across the river using a tension diagonal arrangement adn evacuated to the road where an ambulance awaited him.

The remainder of the group proceeded quickly down river to the take out as dusk was rapidly approaching.

A big well done to our youngest member this trip, Tom, who paddled brilliantly for the whole trip and almost avoided having a swim, coming out in shallow water 200m from the take out.

Jeff, Will and Jonny travelled to Plymouth Derriford A&E to recover Geoff where his suspected dislocated should had been confirmed and popped back into place.