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February 25, 2016
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Canoeing the Upper Exe

It was a freezing Saturday morning with snow blizzards, sleet and gale force winds forecast, but we were going to canoe a section of the River Exe in Devon!

The day was organised by the Women s Challenge Club (a group of like minded women who get together to do things which are a little bit different), and booked through Exmoor Adventures who are an easy-going, patient, and well equipped adventure company based in North Devon.

We met at Exbridge where we were equipped with all that we needed; wetsuits, waterproofs, buoyancy aids, helmets and of course Canadian canoes. After a thorough briefing we got into our tandem pairs and grabbed a canoe.

There is no denying that tandem canoeing as a pair of novices requires patience, communication, co-operation and a good sense of humour, but it is all part of the experience. It wasn t long before we mastered the basic skills enough to feel quite relaxed in gently paddling down the river and the clouds divided allowing the sun to break through.

A few more basic skills practices and we arrived at our first weir. This was optional but we are the Women s Challenge Club, always up for a challenge! So down we went.

We all survived the experience, managed to stay dry and happily re-grouped in an eddy. Eager to get to the next one there was just a short paddle, and a relaxed break on the river bank before the next white water encounter. Dan and Tom from Exmoor Adventure even supplied flasks of hot chocolate and cake to keep us warm and energised.

This was one of those days when it would have been easy to cancel or make an excuse to stay in the warm and comfort of home, but was one with no regrets. We had moments of hysterical laughter, stunning scenery and just the right amount of adrenaline. It was also a stark reminder of just how incredibly lucky we are in Devon, to have the opportunity to experience so many fun activities. The hardest part is trying to decide what to do next!

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