Aberglaslyn, North Wales. Pic: CE.
After a particularly dry and cold couple of months, it rained. Then the sun shone. We enjoyed it. A little sneak preview of summer before the clouds shroud us in half light for another month or two.
Fleming’s Drop. Rauma. Norway.
There’s a definite location theme running through this series as we head back to Norway and hear what Nick Horwood, one of Devon’s finest, has to say about this genuinely epic fall…
First run by Norwegian hero Fleming Schmidt, about 10 years before anybody else had really considered doing this sort of thing, this waterfall is both a spectacle of nature and an iconic piece of Norwegian whitewater. In a country famous for big, meaty waterfalls, this one stands out, offering as much bigness and meatiness as you could shake a metaphorical stick at.
The hardest thing about paddling this drop was the ferry out of the eddy at the top. At this water level it’s difficult, committing, and boily, and if you mess it up and get pushed right there’s a fast track ticket to the rock shelf and oblivion below. After watching canadian machine Maxi K style the line, and what seemed like hours sitting in my boat waiting for the go ahead, I managed to nail the ferry and hit my line exactly where I wanted. The impact of the rock nugget partway down twisted me into a slightly skewed second or two of freefall, followed by a soft(ish) landing in the chaos below. Rolling up below the drop the view was simply stunning, and after one or two close calls reminded us all of our mortailty, the remaining members of the group assembled safely in the pool and we were rewarded with the prize of a blast of sunshine and a beautiful rainbow.
A mention must also go to Maxi Kniewasser for the photos, as well as Shaun, Gauter and Ric who also fired it up that day.
The footage of Fleming’s incredible second run can be seen in Valhalla, and further footage can be found in SickLline 4 and Means of Production.
For any fact hungry kayak geeks out there, you may be interested to hear that the graphic which adorns the back of the Fleming inspired legend series strutter is in celebration of his first run of this drop, during which he broke his paddle in two places, on either side of his hand.*
*This is potentially a drunken lie on the part of a proud viking, but you’d have to be a right misery guts (or Fleming himself) to deny it.