River Name: Ouse River
River Level: 18-20 cumecs
Number of Participants: 12
As our newest appointed club guide, Owen Rees was keen to take advantage of a water release on the Ouse River, over the weekend. He and I were both keen to cross off another river from the back of our rafting-club t-shirts so, with the idea of getting on the water as soon as possible, we were all at the shed by 7am on Sunday. We quickly packed and headed off! Once the shed had been returned to and the pumps had been loaded (good old Ted and his on-highway mental checking), we eagerly headed toward our destination. Unfortunately, Owen’s car headed a bit too eagerly into a corner when the river was all but within reach, resulting in it riding on the back of a tow truck, never to be driven again.
At the Ouse River we met many other paddlers who had either been competing in the Lea Race or had heard of the water release and were keen to get in on the action. It was nice to see the the community that we are, with several members recognising others and engaging in conversations. Once on river, we paddled at a relaxed pace down what seemed to be a landscape painting of a colonial artist. The scenery on the Ouse River is quite different to that of any of the other rivers that I have rafted, with low-growing shrubs and rocky features. Those rocky features continued beneath the water and my guide did a great job of avoiding them. Sometimes. The rapids become increasingly more interesting as the river progresses and I managed to have an unplanned swim, as did all but one member of my team! For all the talk of the water being cold, I found it quite nice compared with what I experienced recently on the white water rescue course, where I sustained repurfusion injuries in my feet during a hot shower, after having them in the icy water for a sustained period.
Once out of the water, we packed the rafts on top of cars and squeezed our group into the vehicles we had brought. Minus one. Needless to say, Owen has secured my vote for the Gondwana Award (for driving excellence) after this trip, which I am very grateful to him for running.