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White water rafting on a sunny Saturday

Posted on: 27th May 2016

Saturday was one of those golden Spring days that linger in the memory– a drive with the windows down through the scented pine woods and rolling green Alpine pastures of the twisting Col des Mosses mountain pass that joins Aigle, in the heart of vineyard country, to Chateau d’Oex, high in the mountains; and then white-water rafting on the Sarine, the river which roughly marks the border between French and German speaking Switzerland, and whose clear waters eventually flow into Lake Gruyére.

Sporting somewhat old fashioned wetsuits that Tristan, our guide, assured us were “from the Spring 2016 Collection” (we were dubious), and armed with a yellow paddle each, we had a quick dry land lesson on the essential instructions of white water rafting: “Forwards”, “Backwards” and, crucially,“Bonzai” (essentially – get down into the boat so Tristan can get us through the technical bits). Then we were ready to go.

The journey down river was idyllic: warm sun rays shining through Spring leaves to dapple the water, which was blue-green and glacier-grey and foaming white in turn, with dancing light and shadow, and snow peaked mountains rising above the trees into the endless blue of the sky. But it was also just the right amount of scary to get adrenalin fizzing, and just the right amount of carefullycalculated near-misses from Tristan, who was steering, to get everyone shrieking and laughing. And our three white-water girls, Crystal, Linda and Alisa, (once they’d safely secured Go-pros on their helmets), were up for every challenge– whether it was standing on the sides of the raft itself as we sailed over gentle ripples, or throwing themselves down the chilly waters of the river itself –floating on their backs with toes pointed over the peaks and troughs of a narrow channel of rapids.(To acclimatise us to being in the river “just in case”, but also a welcome cool-off after lots of rowing in a hot day!)

It was a perfect afternoon, and despite being on the river for about two hours, not nearly long enough – if only the Sarine ended its journey in Lake Geneva, I’m sure we’d all have chosen to sail home to Surval!

For more photographs, please click here

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