This weekend, some of the team braved a stormy Glen Coe and Glen Etive to rally for the annual British Universities Creek Race. The brief resentment of the horizontal downpour and frustration as kit was blown around was quickly replaced by excitement as conversation turned to the river levels. It was clear as soon as the first shuttle left to go from race registration, down Glen Etive, that the Middle (you know the one you chuck your freshers down) was not going to be race-able. The surging water turning “triple falls” into more of a continuous 100m stretch of gigantic boils and terrifying holes would mean half the field wouldn’t even step up to running the course, and the other half would be ranked accordingly, by who survived their beatings and managed to actually complete a descent.
The racers therefore continued on down the glen, Guzzling the free Redbull and Tunnocks caramel Logs (thanks to our generous sponsors for a true athletes breakfast) to race on “corner falls” or “twist & shout” below right angle at the normal take out.
The first heat went well, with the majority of the field picking clean lines down through the first rapid. A mandatory left around an island followed (this island is normally not an island, it is normally a rocky outcrop several meters above the level of the river) and the finish line was to slap a banner below the take out bridge. There were a few swims but the good times seemed to be around the 2 minute mark.
The next event was the alumni boater cross…
and some casual, unrelated to the race, carnage!
The second heat was to take place on the Coupall, a tributary to the Etive flowing in the shaddow of Buchaille Etive Mhor, normally a rocky ditch, brought up to be a… raceable rocky ditch for the day!
The good lines continued and after everyone had posted their second heat time (a shorter, 1 minute course), the massive crew of racers and safety headed to the Coe for a few laps before the prize giving and party at Kinlochleven.
A massive congratulations to all the racers, especially Jiri from Bangor, taking first place and a big phat cash prize! And our very own team leader Josh who, also from Bangor, took 3rd.
Thanks everyone for turning up and making it such a sick weekend! Also a massive thanks to the race organisers…
See you all next year!
Photos Courtesy of Kirsten Rendle and Geoff Cooper