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Alpine Paddling – Ubaye Race Course – Friday 28/7/17

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The Ubaye Racecourse – Martinet to Le Lauzet

The Ubaye Racecourse is the classic Ubaye run. A consistent stretch of class 3+ to 4 whitewater with fun big and bouncy rapids and surprisingly warm water. 15 rapids in quick succession, including named rapids like Dent de Requin (Shark’s Tooth) and Rouleau de Printemps (Spring Roll) make this section a must for your kayaking bucket list. The scenery is outstanding with views over the wooded valley, and at the end of the descent the river narrows through a sheer sided gorge. Put-in at the rafting base just past Le Martinet. Take out below Le Lauzet at La Source campsite.
Class: IV. Gradient: 15 m/km. Flow: 30 m³/s.
Paddling time: 2 hours. Distance: 8 km. Best months: May to July.

The best way to describe this river is big boulders and bouncy all the way. The team split into 4 groups and set off down the pinball course. The views were stunning, the rapids fairly continuous and the rafts were numerous. One raft guide flaunting pink bikini bottoms over his wetsuit shorts seemed to be more than happy to help empty boats for the girls. This was the first day without a chilly breeze making every wave train a refreshing splash. We got to the Roman Bridge for a group photo with 1 more rapid to go. Or so Ian said! There were at least 3 more rapids with a tricky bend alongside the gorge that caught us off guard. Gibbo thought we’d lost Hannah to Narnia as she went onto the wall and temporarily disappeared.

While waiting for the shuttle we were impressed by the ‘French approach’. Leaving the van and trailer at the get out and whipping out a mini-motorbike to shoot back to the get in. I guess this is only one step up from Keith on a bike and a motorbike would never make it in the weight allowance.  On the drive back the Keith set the 7.5 minute shopping challenge. Those that made it back were treated to an ice cream, those that didn’t were presented with an empty box.

More Photos…….