Police and Security Flt White water rafting
With great expectations, a select team from Police and Sy Flt headed for Lee Valley Rafting Centre in Hertfordshire.
Being one of the 2012 Olympic venues, the centre is an excellent place to experience white water. It has around 300m of variable course only interrupted by a conveyer belt system that raises you to the highest point once you finish your run.
On arrival we had the mandatory safety brief and kit issue. There was much merriment observing some of the ‘ahem’ more well built members of MPGS trying to squeezing in to the wetsuits supplied; and of course there was one who popped on a child size helmet even though you’re quite clearly warned not to!
Our over enthusiastic guide leapt around a raft on dry ground in a blur with a warning not to “put you feet here”, “watch your hands on this” and “if someone goes into the water try not to hit them around the head with the paddle.” Then in a flash we were on the water with the guide’s hyper speed delivered raft brief ricocheting around our heads still.
First up was the swim test. One by one our guide told us to jump in and on his command swim against the current to prove we were competent enough to swim to the side should we fall in. We all passed this (some more proficiently than others), and made our way back to the raft.
We set off for the conveyer belt and slowly climbed to the start point, then commands of “paddle, paddle, paddle, left, paddle, paddle, in, up, paddle, paddle, lean right, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle” were bellowed from the rear of the raft in staccato, resembling GPMG fire. The first run was a blur of commands and water as we got soaked from each of the drops whilst giggling like school kids.
The second run came around fast, a quick re-org on the raft as we travelled up the conveyer and we were set to go. This time we set off as fast as possible as the guide commanded faster and harder strokes. Some of us even managed to paddle in synchronisation this time! The guide deliberately threw us in to the white water with vigour. The raft was almost tipping over at this point; it was only a matter of time before someone took a dip. With heads down in the raft we didn’t notice a blue helmet going over the side and bob away from the front of the raft. It was LCpl Waller trying to save himself by doing his best drowned rat impression!
We continued rafting for what turned out to be a rather exhausting 40 minutes or so, by the end we were all extremely pleased to cool off by jumping in!
It was unanimously agreed that the day’s AT had been a resounding success and we were looking forward to more of it in the future!
Pte Collin (MPGS)