During the recent recession we've heard a lot about double dips. Today Afon Banwy produced a second peak on the Environment Agency gauge. Usually the Banwy peaks under heavy rain and then is good to paddle a couple of days later, this time it peaked again today. A quick text to Chris (an instructor who lives in the area) for her opinion gave me all the info I needed to cancel the trip.
'The Vyrnwy is coming out. The Banwy brown and ugly. I'd give it a miss.'
This was followed by a flood alert being issued for the road at the get out. That was it, trip cancelled - time to ring the crew and fetch the boat off the car. It was almost fate, both Phil and I had the same idea - load up in daylight for a quick get away in the morning. Just the sort of action that angers the river gods into sending a flood to keep you grounded.
Paddling a flood or not paddling is a difficult decision. I've paddled floods, I've got scary pictures of Chris and I running the Vyrnwy and struggling to get under low bridges. With Bill, I ran through Shrewsbury during the big flood of 2000. Guiding others is different, yes they want it exciting; but you don't want to scare someone so much that they don't want to paddle again or lose expensive equipment during a long swim. I know how it feels - I've paid into both accounts.
So here's to next weekend! Hopefully a dry spell in the week should calm things down a little and then back out to play. Lets face it, paddling is all about playing. If it becomes anything else, when the stakes become bigger than a knocked ego - you should ask yourself seriously why you're out there and will you being there have any impact on the history of kayaking? If you find yourself unable to answer - go home and get a life that matters.