Author Archives: Helen Tatlow

(not) a surf trip

We set off on the Friday night to load up at the shed; four of us, four boats, one car; what could possibly go wrong? OUCKC trips are known far and wide for their efficiency and flawless execution. Getting the four boats to sit on the roof racks took three goes, eventually proving successful as the boys boats stacked, and the Little Joes spooned side by side. Faff levels: medium.
We set off to visit one of our favourite retreats; Aldi. After purchasing dinner, it became apparent that the campsite that we were planning to drive to that evening had in fact not been booked.  Faff levels: rising to medium-high. Upon consultation with the owners, we discovered it was full. After much deliberation we found another campsite, and headed off out of The Bubble into the depths of the Forest of Dean.
Helen, Anja, Cormac, and Squishy arose to the sunshine on Saturday morning, and headed to Symonds Yat for a bit of surf kayaking (…). Mizdrak went into full on coach mode, seeing us lying on the carpark on our backs pretending to swim down a rapid, and stuffing pain au chocolats into our buoyancy aids, while the rest of the carpark looked on in envy. Squishy’s first time on moving water proved successful, and we worked our way up the eddys and rapids practising breaking in and out, ferry gliding, rolling on moving water, and throwlining unlucky victims. The evening saw a sunny BBQ and an enormous bottle of Pimms finished off, and The Times Crossword (of course); a very pleasant evening, until the crossword was destroyed by a stray glass of Pimms. A tragedy.
Day Two saw more of the same practice, with everyone enjoying the chance to improve their skills on the Yat, and have the chance to really focus on more difficult areas without gettingcold and wet. We drove home in the sun, after another great weekend of fun, faff, and paddling.


9 reasons why you need to attend the OUCKC Quiz Night Thursday 29th January, St Anne’s MCR, 7.45pm!


9 reasons why you need to attend the OUCKC Quiz Night

Thursday 29th JANUARY , 2nd Week, 7.45pm, St Anne’s MCR, £3 entry per person, BYOB, (+money for raffle tickets), everyone is welcome to come.  There’ll be people to meet you outside Anne’s/ the MCR so you don’t get lost.

1. Epic series of quality quiz questions hosted by former University Challenge competitor questionmaster
2. BYOB, as much (or as little) as you want
3. Chance to win £25 with the One Hundred Club (or in this case Fifty Club…) (everyone puts in £1, and is given a number. Lucky number wins £25, half the money, and half goes towards fundraising efforts)
4. Chance to win epic prizes such as FREE BEANS (coffee beans), food vouchers from local restaurants/cafes like Pret, £50 Oxford University Sports Shop vouchers, in our bumper Hilary Term raffle (draw nearer the end of term- more prizes to be announced soon)
5. Bond with your friends through a merry evening of drinking and quizzing, max 5 per team please
6. Win a mystery prize as a team in reward for your exceptional combined intelligence and knowledge (alcoholic likely)
7. Visit St Anne’s MCR! A sought after and exotic location
8. Cheap predrinks with the added bonus of prize winning potential; the ideal prelude to an evening at Bridge
9. Support OUCKC in raising some pennies towards keeping The Shed

Current members of OUCKC; it would be really great to see you come and show your support for the club, even if you’ve only been to one Sunday session, or even none, we’d love to see you and welcome you to the club! Come and have a chat about upcoming trips and events, and get to know some more people.

Facebook event:


The BCU Student Safety Seminar 2014, a.k.a. We go to North Wales, go paddling, eat bacon, and get far too excited about jenga bricks….

We set off from Oxford at 5.00am on Saturday morning, breaking free of the bubble at approximately 5.17am, after uncharacteristically minimal faff .The motorways were blissfully clear…except for one lorry who’s driver had decided that he’d gone in a straight line for long enough, and that swinging wildly across the middle lane and hard shoulder for twenty miles so that no one behind could overtake was a much better plan.

We arrived at Plas y Brenin, the outdoor sports Mecca of the UK just in time for the morning lectures to arrive. They had decided to get the boring stuff out of the way first. The first was on The Law, and our rights and responsibilities as club and committee members. This contained lots of useful information about legal minefields that can seem baffling, though arguably more useful was the tea and coffee break at the end of the lecture. The next was on transport, including lots of gory photos of people with golf ball sized eyes, etc, etc.

We could sign up for different afternoon sessions. The girls teamed up to do some work on personal paddling stuff, while the boys went off to do some bigger white water stuff. With a ratio of two people to one coach, the few hours we had on the water really made a difference. We picked up a lot of new ‘technical’ and ‘tactical’ tips, as well as ideas for coaching novices and leading river trips. On return, we each went off to sessions on Equipment, Personal Gear, Rolling, Trip Planning, etc…

We succeeded in piling four boats on top of the Berlingo without a step ladder or considerable height (again with little faff), and headed to the bar to eat. We sat sharing stories about the club with George, an Old Git who was working at the seminar. We downed our many pints (of water) and went to watch a lecture on some cool paddling trips, hearing about drunken elephants, crocodiles, gnarly white water, some lucky escapes, and lots of beer. Thomas beasted it the kayaking erg machine, with 12 seconds for a 50 m sprint.

IMG_1113Drinking the bar dry

Super tired, we headed to the mountain hut where we were staying, up a bumpy grass track. Suddenly, energy appeared as tiredness progressed to the next level (and energy drinks and alcohol appeared). We found an epic jenga set, made out of plastic bricks. After playing a few rounds of jenga, none of which lasted long because Ben decided that taking the bottom brick out every time was a good tactic, we realized that the bricks had other uses. The next few hours consisted largely of seeing how far we could flip them into the kitchen using a toasting fork / how many we could catch in a saucepan.

IMG_1115Anja and Hannah pre Jenga carnage

Sunday came around, and we packed up quickly, ate bacon sandwiches, and put on our paddling kit for the day. All was going to plan. We drove down the track, out onto the road, when, lo and behold, (standard trip) disaster/faff struck. Helen’s car (AJ) started to make some interesting metallic/scraping/ banging noises. It had probably made the noises yesterday, we just didn’t hear them with the music on so loud (Apple bottom jeans jeans), so it was probably fine. We kept driving. However, the metallic/ scraping/ banging noises continued, so we thought we should probably have a look, pull a rock/ grassy tuft out of the way. It turned out to be an absolutely flat front tyre. This was not good.

IMG_1118Not a happy tyre 🙁

Thomas, Ben, and Hannah went off to paddle, in the Berlingo, while Helen and Anja stayed to wait for the flat tyre man to come. We sat in the rain on a drybag, contemplating life, designing stash, and looking at the aweomse rainbow over the field, which made the whole situating generally more enjoyable. Spare tyre on, we headed into Bets-y-Coed to look around the outdoor shops to make the most of a paddling free day. Driving home at 50mph with the spare tyre took hours, and we tried to ignore the sight of kayakers on EVERY ROAD, EVERY RIVER, and EVERY LAYBY we passed. We also refined our eddy hopping skills as we maneuvered our way down the A5’s many (many) laybys. But it was a good team bonding experience, and AJ survived to tell the tale.

IMG_1122IMG_1135Pot of gold turned out to be new climbing gear

Despite the inevitable faff/ calamity/ sub-optimal situation, it was a good weekend, in the stunning autumn North Wales landscape, with some paddling thrown in, and we have gained, we are sure, a much more safety conscious mentality towards paddling…