Dicing with death on the Dee - kayaking down the weir
Last Friday we walked the walls of Chester. Our route took us past the weir on the River Dee, where we witnessed an extraordinary series of capsizings.
First a man in a kayak shot down the weir, making it look reasonably straightforward. We assume he was an instructor as he then indicated for the next kayaker to follow.
We watched with growing horror as this next one flipped over immediately after starting his descent.
The foaming waters held the kayak upside down for several heart-stopping long seconds, with the occupant inside.
The currents were too strong for him to right the kayak. Eventually he emerged, separated from his kayak but still clinging to his paddle.
The flow then swept both paddler and kayak down the weir. He made it to the bank opposite, while the instructor chased the kayak, recovering it by the bridge.
A long discussion then took place between the instructor and the five or so would-be weir shooters. After this, someone was positioned by the weir holding a rescue rope ready for the next attempt.
This next one was tipped over at the same point as the first.
The instructor expertly rounded up the errant kayak.
This was the instant before the third victim's demise, and it is my favourite action photo.
Such a great expression as he loses it!
The last one to attempt the weir seemed to be the smallest. He was the only one, apart from the instructor, we saw making it down successfully...
... well deserving of the instructor's applause.
Perhaps it was not quite as dangerous as it appeared, but you'd never get me to try it! The undercurrents at the first step were so strong that a large log floating over the weir near the beginning of the events described above got stuck and remained there the whole time.