With the Alpine season upon us and half of Irelands paddlers heading to Europe I hopped on the bandwagon, an early flight out of Dublin into Linate had problems from the off with the Airport jammed at 5am and some unhappy faces about a boat. Once in Linate and no sign of the boat I was told it was still in Dublin and would be sent the following day but then would take another 2 days to arrive. I had to explain I was staying on a campsite in Campertogno a town in the mountains Oh and by the way its also over 8 feet long in my best Italian which is obviously just English louder and slower.
So off I drove in my Panda (note to remember new pandas don't have roof rails and very flexible roofs.)
I landed in Campertogno to meet up with Paddy Tec and the I-Canoe van which luckily had spare boats and blades, (thanks for the lend) and Slev and his Limerick crew. That evening while sampling the finest Italian beer and wine a plan was hatched to hit up the Egua as my warm up run with Slev and his Scouts. A great plan except on the way to the plan we had some hair clipper fun with Mad Phil Connelly, Homeless Andy, C&B Graeme and Earthworm Paddy, so mullet headed I hit the Egua, a Italian Classic, steep and technical in places, beautiful smooth rocks and fast drops, as I came off of top drop I knew I was back in the game!
Some amazing paddling from Slevs Scouts some still very new to paddling but running everything with smiles, some sweetlines and lovely moves, a slow day on the egua but amazing, finishing with some of the lads running Cylinder drop.
Next day we hit Landwasser but the entry was low and some dismantling roof racks meant repairing, and so we hit up the sorba slides a perfect series of slides /moves and an easy walk meant laps were the order if the day,
Except for paddling Ice cream was also high on the agenda each day and wow was it amazing!
next day was race day so we hit the Alpine Sprint course for firstly the team race and then again for the individual race with the top 32 progressing to the finals, a technical course with the levels dropping meant for lots of rocks to hit and cause trouble I unfortunately finished 33rd one spot outside, disappointing but knowing I can improve for next time.
The Sunday after the party, magically my Shiva and blades had made it to the camp site only 5 days late so we hit the Semenza gorge a beautiful gorge section with some beautiful scenery and sweet lines, except the dirty lead in which took me for a pin and some skin from Neal's Knuckles.
As the lads headed off looking for water me Slev and Dave hit the Sorba slides for an evening spin before a chilled night and a spin on the Egua the following day this time getting to use the Shiva
A big boat well suited to launching off anything big, in tight technical sections consider a Burn as the lack of rail just keeps this boat driving fast, safe and straight, a great boat for Austria, Norway high volume and steep but I didn't feel in manoverable enough for Italy.
A fantastic weeks paddling at the Val Sesia river festival some great paddling with good friends and new acquaintances, Il be back!
Thanks to Neal Kelly at The Kayaking Company for the photos.