Tamar Canoe and Bushcraft adventure
We have just returned from our 3 day canoe expedition on the river Tamar. The weather was looking a bit unsettled with some heavy showers and breezy winds forecast but it was not at the point of cancelling the trip. I was optimistic that the bad weather was going to hold out until we finished on Sunday. We met our group at Saltash at 3.30pm on Friday afternoon just after low tide.
We began with a safety brief as we do with all of our events, we then packed kit into canoes and I gave the students a quick look at the os map of the journey we were about to embark on. Our trip was going to be a distance of over 60 kilometres which would take us from Saltash passage near Plymouth sound up to the tidal limits of the river Tamar at Gunnislake weir.
As we were packing to launch the boats we were soaked by a heavy thundery shower, despite the rain the paddling conditions where fantastic because there was no wind and the water was as still as a mill pond.
We set off paddling up the river with the tide and made one stop on our route to Cotehele which was around about the halfway point at Weir quay. We only stopped briefly for a quick drink and snack as we wanted to make full use of the tidal power to help push us up river. We arrived at Cotehele at 7.30pm, it was a high tide as it was just past the full moon. The tide covered Dung key which at one point looked like it was going to cause havoc in our camp. It was a beautiful clear first evening with owls calling as the sunset. me and Steve cooked our evening meal and then sat and relaxed around the campfire.
An early night was in order as I had to wake the group up for a 6.00am start to catch the morning tide to Gunnislake. We rose early and stuffed some breakfast down as we were in a rush to get on the water. It was a beautiful morning with no wind, a slight lingering mist and the sun rising. We paddled constantly to Gunnislake as we where against the clock before the tide turned. The plan was to arrive at the weir at Gunnislake have a good break and a snack and then have a super chilled out paddle back to Cotehele letting the tide that had turned do most of the work. We had nearly made it back to Calstock before we were greeted by an aggressive downpour and strong gusting winds, luckily for us it disappeared as fast as it arrived. We continued back to Cotehele and arrived back just before 1.00pm. The group was keen to prepare some game for lunch so we prepared wood pigeon by hand which we then cooked with stir fry veg. After lunch we had a few chilled bushcraft sessions and relaxed in camp as we had paddled a fair distance now. The group had a session on wood carving and produced some fantastic results, mallets , spoons and spatulas where all made.
We enjoyed another beautiful evening had our dinner and relaxed near the fire, everyone was keen to get an early night as most of us had been worn out by the paddling over the past 2 days.
The final morning we were all up for 7.00am and had breakfast. We didn’t have much time as we needed to sort and pack our kit and head back down the river with the tide to Saltash. The journey began as calm as ever but by the time we reached the open water near Cargreen we were challenged with a blustery head wind. We overcame this problem by rafting up and digging deep for the final push back to Jubilee green at Saltash.
The Journey was fantastic , it was challenging and tested the group but was well worth it as the scenery on the river was simply beautiful. Everybody really enjoyed themselves and myself and Steve were honoured to lead such a inspiring trip. Roll on 2018 for the next adventure