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2022 LCC Alpine Holiday to Durance Region in France Day 5 Wednesday: Lower Gyronde by Elliot Bold

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2022 LCC Alpine Holiday to Durance Region in France Day 5 Wednesday: Lower Gyronde by Elliot Bold

Yet another day on the rivers in The Alps. Today we had a change of pace as we went from larger volume, wide rivers into one quite the opposite, steep, narrow and very technical.

Once everyone was ready and the faffers had  faffed, Keith gave us a grave talk about the dangerous weir that was to come, telling us to go river right, follow the flow but point left in order to avoid a piton. Then we were split into three groups of five.

Getting on it was evident that the levels were indeed very low, much lower than when Roy and Stuart completed their descent a few days prior. This made for the constant noise of plastic painfully scraping along what seemed like never ending rocks, as I led the scrape I saw a change in elevation in the distance, this, I assumed was the weir. Our group made an eddy just above the weir on river right. Roy was the first to go over, then me. As I paddled, rather frantically up to the drop and,  just as my bow started to lower following the gradient of the river, I saw what could be described as a small stream of water being funnelled down a channel not much wider than the width of a kayak. I think I can talk for all of us when I say that I trust Keith, however I did think to myself, what was he on about. Although after looking at some photos of Roy and Stuart’s trip, at higher levels I do believe that Keith would have been correct in his statement. This was the main event of our run, after the weir it was mainly just an exercise in not getting pinned and looking for the deepest flows of water, However, once The Gyronde led into The Durance things got more interesting.

We all eddied out just above the slalom course, Keith (Bold) somehow managed to capsize while sitting still in an eddy but he pulled off a clean roll.

The now reunited group started our descent through the slalom course, with about half of us “boofing” over the first drop and landing in an eddy, while the others took a different line down a rock drop. After this, and as you can imagine there was chaos, it turns out that having fifteen people all trying to catch eddies, surf waves and just survive does not always conclude in the best result but, despite odds being against us there were no swims, only a few minor collisions. At the bottom of the WW course, we all got out and went back into the campsite for lunch and to prepare for the afternoon’s river.

More photographs……