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2022 LCC Alpine Holiday to Durance Region in France: Day 12 Wednesday: Romanche by Graham Devaney

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A group of people kayaking in a river Description automatically generated with low confidence

2022 LCC Alpine Holiday to Durance Region in France: Day 12 Wednesday: Romanche by Graham Devaney

Day 12 Wednesday: Romanche by Graham Devaney

Wednesday morning 5 of us got up early and left the site at 8.30 to head around an hour up the valley and into the next valley to paddle The Romanche.

I, Keith, Roy, and Stu had never paddled the Romanche before, so we were relying on beta from Sara who had paddled it earlier in the year.

Arriving at the put-in, the river was steep, fast, and intimidating. Set in the shadows of the Meije mountains the excitement (and nerves!) grew as we waited for the shuttle. The river was clearly meltwater straight off the glacier, but I foolishly decided to risk it in just a rash vest and no cag – a move which led to me having cold shock for the first 500m paddling haha.

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Keith took the lead, followed by Sara, then Roy and me with Stu at the back. On the river and we were straight into continuous quality grade 3/3+ paddling with no flat sections between. The first few hundred metres we just paddled through without stopping, everyone getting back into the groove of ditch boating. Eddies were small and shallow, only really big enough for one maybe two boats.

This led to about 3km of eddy hopping and fast-paced read/run boating until we reached two large boulders in the river. Here we jumped out of the boats onto the river’s left bank and walked down to inspect. A 250m grade 4 rapid looked really intimidating from the track high up the bank so I was a little unsure about getting back into my boat. Keith peeled out the eddy first, followed by Roy, then me and Stu at the back again. (Sara had decided to walk this rapid as she was in a playboat). Dropping in I had a clean line through the first couple of features only to look up and see Roy 50m downriver stuck on a rock, the feature he had just gone through had grabbed at the slicey tail of his boat and sent him offline. I pulled into an eddy and Roy sorted himself out and was back on the way. Stu passed me and I peeled out of the eddy a few boat lengths behind him. An excellent rapid that blew the cobwebs out and left everyone high and smiling at the bottom.

A person in a kayak in a riverDescription automatically generated with low confidence

Another 300m or so below this rapid was a large pour over rock in the middle of the river, Keith leading went over this and had an unexpected roll. This left the rest of us upriver, sat in various eddies, slightly apprehensive – turned out it was a relatively straightforward line and Keith had just been unfortunate in his playboat.

A group of people kayaking in a riverDescription automatically generated with low confidence

That was the last fun of the river and 500m of easy grade 2/3 rapids took us to the barrage and the get-out.

An excellent, small group, fast-paced, alpine river which had everyone on a high for the rest of the day.

Keith, Roy and Stu headed off to paddle the lower Durance, Sara rode her bike back to the campsite and I headed back to the campsite to relax and soak in the morning’s fantastic alpine boating.

A new river for the clubs’ alps holiday and one I would definitely recommend.

More photographs……