Loaded with boats and kit we left Leicester en-route to Jackfield rapids at Ironbridge, this was our only local option with enough water given the low summer levels that were stubbornly hanging around but it made a nice change from our usual default of Matlock. A quick stop on the way to get Shaun his much needed flat white added to the already high level of faff.
After arriving at our 'normal' get on (we don't visit very often), we were told by a very helpful lady that the access is now private and we would have to find another spot. Thankfully she caught us before we had unloaded!
We relocated to a suitable spot and got kitted up. After a safety briefing covering kit checks, what to do if someone swims, what to do if you're the one that swims, and what we each expected to get out of the day we were off paddling down under the iron bridge that makes the area famous. The weather was surprisingly warm and the water level was perfect, just enough to create nice eddies, a few play waves and enough flow to provide a challenge to the group.
The trip was designed to give paddlers that have become comfortable on flat water the opportunity to try some moving water with coaches and experienced paddlers on hand to rescue and pass on technique.
3 or so hours of learning to ferry glide, s-turn, break in/out and, in some cases swim brought out lots of smiles and groans, with everyone having fun while learning and helping each other. The day ended with a long carry out through a fairly steep path that someone had carved out of the bushes, a quick chat and then back onto the minibus for the trip back to Leicester.
We shared the rapid with 3 fishermen and the West Mercia Fire and Rescue team who were practising rescue techniques (though not on us!), all were very helpful and respectful of each others needs which is great to see.