Rattz, Mart and I arrived at the White Hart Inn in Broadoak at 10.15pm last night about an hour after the evening bore. We parked up and had our first glimpse of the river... Flippin' 'eck!
The water was almost overflowing the banks, and then we spied a beer keg floting up river at what seemed 20mph - I repeat, up river - swiftly followed by a whole manner of other detritus, half a canoe, trees etc! We were taken aback.
Composing ourselves, we headed for the pub to join in the revelry and carnival atmosphere that we'd been told would be going on into the wee small hours.
Once through the doorway the empty silence that greeted us was breathtaking. The pub contained no more than eight people, none of whom looked awake, never mind excited, and certainly no hardened bore veteran types!
We ordered a pint, found a seat - which wasn't difficult - and proceeded to giggle and plan our next morning's strategy.
We left after a pint, strategy in tatters. It's funny how the maths of three surfers and two cars can cause so much confusion. There was a tentative consensus that no one should be left on the river solo without a vehicle to get back to if others fell.
Next stop, the Severn Bore Inn. There was a real crowd in there - well, at least double the number of the first place, including some types who presented a surfer image. But certainly there was no evidence of the guaranteed "Bore Fever" that was supposed to beset Gloucestershire at this time.
We felt more comfortable so settled into some beers and played Killer on the dartboard. Rattz, alone, kept the OTL drinking credibility intact by drinking far more than Mart and me.
By midnight, we decided to call it a night and headed for the van and car. As we got ready to settle, Rattz's new friend Peg Leg, a sponsored Cornish Cockney amputee surfer, invited him for a drink in his van. Reluctantly Rattz, leg trembling from excitment, snatched the van keys off Peg and raced him to the beer.
Rattz, Plumby and Dan seemed less comfortable due to cold and lack of space respectively. Plumby also had to remove a bootfull of logs from his car before they could get into the back to sleep! The next morning, after a reasonably comfortable night's kip (for Mart and myself, at least), we queued for breaky at the pub door.
We wolfed down some breakfast (last supper) and headed off for our first spot at 'Newnham'. I was so excited by this time that I was getting cranky that everyone else seemed to be taking forever to get kitted up. I think the adrenalin was flowing so much it speeded up my own personal time space continuum!
We met up with Nick and his mates here and I was pleased as they seemed more a bit more with it! Eventually, we headed for our entry point. Mart slipped flat on his ass on the muddy bank and sylishly slid in, while I mistakenly jumped from about two feet into knee deep water with a craggy bottom and fell on my face into the water!
We paddled across and downstream to a sandbank 500-600 yds further down that had been identified as the place to be.
Then we waited, chatted, waited a bit more, then noticed what we thought were bore regulars moving out into the stream. So we copied, and looking further down stream about a quarter of a mile away, we saw it for the first time.
Approaching was a low but fast moving wall of whitewater heading around the furthest bend in the river and engulfing everything as it came. There seemed to be one guy up and riding with a boat following him.