Sharrah Pool, low water for winter, and an incredible 9ºC in the Dart today. The spooky greens and blues have pretty much gone now it’s warmed up, although there is a hint of urine-mixed with loo-blue about the rapids. Honey and I swim across the centre of the pool and I push her soggy bum up onto the rocks so she can go exploring. I glide up the central eddy and back down through the fizz, then I decide to put in some effort and hit the rapids against the current.
I reach and slide in my Kari-crawl as far as the big rock. Suddenly water surges over my head and arm, I sink lower, and almost inhale river rather than air. I realise I’m about to collide with the ledge on the far bank. I try again, eyeballs chilled as I’m not wearing goggles, and again hit the weird combination of oppositional force and lack of buoyancy.
I rest on the rock, and Honey appears on the far side of the falls. She goes in, and plummets beneath the surface, beginning to panic as her heavy, long coat combines with the foaming rapids to pull her down. I jump in and support her beneath her ribs, and we descend the river together. She hauls herself out, a matt of soggy ringlets, and tries to dry her ears by rubbing her nose sideways along the ground.
Thanks to Allan, Jackie and Plum for the photos – WWS’s camera is away being fixed…