Whitewater Aptitude is an idea in development to highlight Gavin Hart's skills, adventures and accomplishments with an insight into the thoughts and feeling he has throughout his journeys. As well as this blog please visit his Photography Portfolio Website showcasing his best photography. For shorter more regular updates on Whitewater Aptitude adventures Like it on Facebook or Follow on Twitter. Get in contact via email using gavin@whitewateraptitude.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Descent Cycles

The week has been spent completing coursework. The week has not been pleasant.

Today however I handed in that coursework and balance is slowly being restored to the Galaxy. Also today I helped out my good friend Tom get some photos and video for his soon to be constructed website for his new mountain bike guiding company that he is aiming to have up and peddling strong as soon as uni is finished. The day was a new experience and hard. I was running/stumbling/rolling around Whinlatter Forest on foot chasing after Tom and his friend David. The trails were icy and I did a fair bit of sliding about getting into positions to capture the specific burms, jumps and climbing sections the two selected. Although bright out in the open the wooded sections of the trails were particularly hard to get good sharp images. I was relying on my Canon 600D, 18-135mm lens, tripod and GoPro HD Hero to capture the action I intend to to go through the footage and images with Tom on Thursday. The result from the day weren't my best so i hope not to disappoint my pal. Below is a snapshot from my GoPro of me filming.

I'm hoping to also do some kayaking with Tom this week but its rather chilly. Check out my Facebook and Twitter for on the day updates on my activity. Links to these can be seen on my website that has also had some alterations to it and pictures added so make sure you look at them.


In the world of kayaking this week has been the start of the White Water Grand Prix 2012 where the sickest white water boaters in the world compete over two weeks to win the title. Among the white water community this events coverage has been shared and viewed countless times the content showcasing the highlights of the different stages set in Chile. The competition currently only at stage 3 has many different competitions to test the different abilities of the paddlers. One of my favourite stages from last year was the Big Wave Freestyle where athletes perform kayak tricks and flips whilst surfing a wave similar to that of what a surfer would however the waves stays in place on the river. This is called a standing wave. If you cant imagine what that looks like the link below is to one of my all time inspirational kayaking films showcasing some of the best freestyle atheletes some of whom are in the WWGP. Good luck to all the athletes in the competition especially the GB guys whom are lagging.

Stakeout - https://vimeo.com/8208615

Monday, 3 December 2012

Travel Writing #2 - Boater X

The highlight of this week by far was paddling on the Leven again. This was on the 28th November 2013. After heavy rain a few days before, the river was very high at 1.3m, too high for the intended UCUM -v- UCLAN Boater X. This race event was planned to be a social competition between my University of Cumbria (UCUM) paddling club and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) paddling club. However due to many people dropping out the night before numbers to the event slowly dwindled and by the time we met at the river Leven there were a grand total of seven people from both unis. Clearly only the elite could manage boating on this day. Luckily I knew everyone that turned up and their paddling ability so making the decision to bench the race for another day was easy and we decided to paddle the whole river rather then just the top easier section. After a slow start the day went well. The group stopped to inspect each rapid before proceeding picking the best line suited to each individuals ability. We had two swimmers throughout the day, myself on Backbarrow Bridge rapid and Mike on a the last rapid of the day.

Backbarrow Bridge is a notorious spot in the Lake District for paddlers as the rapid is big, not easily inspected and intimidating due to the fact that there is a large stopper under the bridge that you can always see is there but you can't judge how large it really is. Due to this fact, only three of seven participants on the day paddled this rapid. In their larger boats Matt and Jack successfully managed to punch through the make or break stopper under the bridge however, I was not so lucky. The Boof stroke I put in on my right side was too weak to get the nose of my kayak over the foam pile of the stopper to then allow me to make progress through the stopper. Therefore the nose of my boat was taken by the water and I was flipped over, capsized. Feeling the water rush around my face I tucked up to protect it, something I had failed to do quick enough the time I broke my nose. Holding my breath still in my boat, I waited being thrown about by the water. I was waiting to be flushed out of the stopper into the large pool below where I knew I could roll up but I wasn't getting flushed. With this thought in my head, I held on one more moment hoping to feel the surface of the water with my paddle to then roll up, however, running out of breath I pulled my spray deck off to get out of my kayak and try swimming out of this sticky situation. 

Luckily by this point I had been flushed out and was on the edge of the stoppers grasp. As soon as I came up I took a large breath of air grateful to have made it out. I then started swimming to shore aided by my pal Tom. My boat unfortunately didn't get out of the grasp of the stopper and was thrown around before coming out and being rescued by the rest of the crew who also retrieved my blades (paddles), all before reaching 30m down river the looming Backbarrow Death Weir that is "unrunable" in a kayak. Looking back at the footage from Tom’s head cam I'm gutted I hadn't held on a little longer as when I came out my boat I would have been able to make that roll and paddle away in anger rather than swim away in shock. On the other hand, I feel it was a step that needed to be met at one point to make me less intimidated by these rapids and to allow me to focus on what needs to be done to conquer them.
The rest of the descent for me was great although a little chilly due to water coming in through my neck seal on my dry cag as it is split. It’s getting cold now and I’m not sure how many more kayaking session I'll be having before Christmas.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Travel Writing #1 Leven and Rothay

Had two days paddling this week, both with Mike and Tom again. One full day on the top half of the River Leven, Cumbria, at a good level that produced a number of reasonable sized surf waves for me to practice on. Personally I've been really pushing to improve my ability and confidence on waves over the past few weeks and am starting to get comfortable at front surfing just need to work on my side and back surfing then I'll be flat spinning!!

My second day paddling was spent on the River Rothay, Cumbria. The river was super high and had burst its banks in certain areas. At this level the river produced some great sized waves which I was able to get on and surf most, which was a great success for myself. The river level made for the lower quarter to have some very precarious low tree branches that we had to slalom our way through. One set caught me off guard and decided to catch my paddle and brush me over.

The danger of tree branches hanging into/over the river (strainers) is that, if you get caught up in them there is a good chance of you getting caught up in them for a while possibly underwater. Add in the factor that no kayakers on earth yet have developed gills makes them very dangerous.
Mike and Tom on the Leven
After going over, in that moment of my C to C roll when finding the top of the water I remember thinking to myself "If I don't roll up now there is a good chance I could die". Knowing this must have made my brain and muscles go into a state of fight (or flight) mode, as I performed my best roll to date, super quick and tucked up forward ready to paddle to avoid the next set of branches. We then paddled down the rest of the river with no problems. All paddlers had done great, Mike had put on some great braces stopping himself from swimming and Tom had lead us down safely.
The banks of the Leven are lined with trees to, less lethal though at this water level.
We then came to the mouth of the flooded Rothay to recognise a friend’s boat floating upside down and people running towards it. We then also blasted towards it to see what was going on. Turns out our friend Bob and Chris had been paddling Stock Ghyll which flows into the Rothay and both swam. Chris was here. Where was Bob? No one knew where Bob was. We then attained as much information from Chris as possible about his last whereabouts to try and find him with the looming possibility that he had not managed to get out the river after coming out his boat and was stuck under the trees/ fences we had encountered earlier. We split up into three teams to search the three obvious locations where he could be stranded. At this point we could have been looking for a dead body. Luckily on our way, now running across flooded fields I see and hear Bob, safe and walking across the fields towards us. Turns out a miss communication and maybe lack of leadership created the confusion and thoughts, that our friend might be dead. We then went on to luckily find Chris's black blades and throwline at the entrance to Windermere along with the rest of the debris being washed out by the high waters. 

This was a crazy end to the day and shone a light on a real scenario/consequence that could well happen in the future due to the nature of my our sport. I often hear of kayakers that have passed away on the rivers all the stories are harrowing.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Twelve Hour Timelapse

This week has been a busy week for me mainly due to my new part time job at the Sands Center, Carlisle where I help build stages for concerts and theater productions. Its tough work and sometimes late hours but good pay to fill the car up with petrol so I can go Kayaking!

Unfortunately, since my last post, I have managed to get out kayaking only once and it wasn't the most successful trip to date either. The trip has been named as "The Reconnaissance Session". Our intended plan was for paddling on the River Kent (Kent Gorge to Force Falls section). However unforeseen problems lead to our team arriving at the river later then planned and with the now winter sun starting to set around 1630, getting on the river that you have never run before around 1500 wasn't ideal. However we carried on paddling the top three rapids. Portaged the weir "you really don't want to run". Then ended up portaging the rest of the rapids on the river due to the light levels, the fact that none of us had run these rapid before and weren't overly confident running them anyway. Not a total fail of a trip as we now have inspected the rapids and different lines we might want to run in the near future hopefully.

I had another go at creating a time lapse this week. Inside this time. The time lapse was over a period of roughly twelve hours and was during my work time. I left my camera to capture the building of the stage for the band Rizzle Kicks. The clip has come out well and I'm just waiting for approval from The Sands Center to add some music to it then they plan to pass it onto the company SJB that manages Rizzle Kicks's tour, could be beneficial. Video below.


Tuesday night was spent in Kendal watching a presentation by Dom Bush about his inspirations in the adventure film making industry and showed some his own work. A good chilled out event.

Today again I spent my time in Kendal at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. A great event where i was representing my university in the its yurt that had been setup to promote the uni. I also manged to escape that and watch a few ski films. Interviewed some adventure and media freelancers for my D..d...d.... (I dare not type it). Ate a load of free samples and gained a many freebies from the stalls there. The best freebies being the coat water-reproofing spray and wash which will save me £30. Brilliant!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


This week has sped by. Last Wednesday I managed again to get out paddling on the River Greta with Tom and Mike. This time however it had rained heavily the night before putting the level of the river well above the normal height that we had paddled it at before. This height was great and a good test of my ability and this time when paddling down rather then avoiding the rocks we had to avoid the large holes that had appeared. The level also created a number of reasonable surf waves in some good locations for practicing. I managed to get on and stay on a few of these waves for a solid amount of time which I'm happy about. Half way down, unfortunately, Mike took a swim and after we had got Mike out the water Tom and I went charging after his boat and blades which we managed to recover. For me a superb day having started off a little nervous about getting on the river at the level it was at to finding that I was more then capable at the level it was at.

More Paddling again at the weekend. I attended the Tyne Tour in Hexham. This event was a great social and although I didn't consider the paddling to be that great it was nice to meet new people and catch up with some people I hadn't seen for a while. I particularly enjoyed the Ceilidh, a Scottish dance, twinned with drinking kept us warm throughout Saturday night.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Oh the clocks have gone back!

It took me a whole day to realize that the clocks have gone back this week.

For me this week has gone slow. I've been sat at home the majority of the week attempting to read for my dissertation and have also been learning to use the program Adobe After Effects. I succeded in what i wanted to achieve with this program and this was create an animate outro sequence to add onto the end of my Online videos to show that it was me who created them. See the develoupment of the outro here.


I also this week had my second Adventure Travel Writing lecture. This was a very useful discussion about how in the future for the module we will be needing to keep a blog to get marked on. Therefore expect the content of my blog to become slightly more focused and thought-out over the coming months.

Below is an image of a screen shot of what Adobe After Effects looks like, technical.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Dark Nights Week

Autumn is definitely here as I'm having to clear my cars window before I use it each time to get out on adventures. Managed to paddle a rocky low Upper Derwent and good level Greta on Friday. The Upper Derwent was ok, mainly very scrappy however had one good areawith a strong eddy line to play on that flushed out into a pool. I managed to swap into my friends older Pyranha Inazone it has a really slicey stern to it allowing me to throw down some pirouettes on the eddy line which helped practicing my support strokes. After doing the Upper Derwent the Greta ended up being quite challenging. Having already been paddling half the day to then go onto paddle a fast pushy grade III. Whilst also having to lead my friend Mike down the rapids. This was made harder as he was in a faster boat then me so I was having to blast it in the amrs to keep in front of him.

Last night I spent on the west side of Ulswater sleeping under the stars with just our cameras and sleeping bags. This was super fun and I had my frist attempt at getting a picture of star trails. A picture that shows the path of the stars across the sky in one image. The night was fairly clear and constellations were easily visible with the help of an App on Carrie's smartphone. The was also the planet Jupiter visible (white stream to the right of the picture).

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Photo Boating

My boating is finally getting up to scratch. Yesterday I spent half the day on the river kayaking with friends Tom and Mike. We paddled the River Greta, a river i have paddled a number of times now and voted in the top 50 rivers to paddle in the UK. Having paddled the river a number of time I have now grown the confidence to take my camera along for the ride. I used my waterproof Peli-case to transport my camera between my legs as we traveled down the river. I would then descend the rapids, staying in line of sight, to a point where I could take photos of Mike and Tom coming down the rapid. This was very interesting as this would be Mike's first real taste of white water kayaking and has taken a steep learning curve to get to the level the river required that day. Luckily Mike was very determined and if he capsized he would wait for Tom or myself to quickly assist him preforming a eskimo rescue.

Below is a sequence of a time Mike went over.
That evening I attended a university residential teaching the first year students on Adventure & Wildlife Media the basics of how to use and look after the equipment they would be using throughout their course. After this had finished Carrie, Ross and I stayed up till 2.30am trying our hands at capturing a time lapse of the stars that went quite well. Below is one photo from the sequence that shows a shooting star. 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Boating, Finally!

Wow having a car makes such a difference in ease to getting out paddling and with there having been plenty of rain in the lakes this has lead to plenty of paddling in the past week, super. Sometime before all this rain hit I managed to dig out some footage of my friends Mat and Pete paddling on the Upper River Swale and using my new laptop have created four very short videos showing four of the five main drops on the river. These videos can either be viewed on my Youtube or Vimeo channels. Dont forget to Follow or Subscribe.

Youtube > http://www.youtube.com/user/HARTridethestorm
Vimeo   > https://vimeo.com/hartrts

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Before returning to Uni

After having returned home from America I spent a short time at home where I actually managed to get out kayaking once at Bournemouth Pier surf kayaking, it was very strange and the first time in a long while I had been paddling on the sea, it was awesome. The waves at the pier ranged between 3-5ft. Mat and I had picked a great day to go out. Managed to catch some good waves and then usually ended up getting whipped out which was great for practicing my roll in moving water in a relatively safe environment I.e where I'm not going to smash my face in... again. However I did manage break one of my GoPro attachments, how I do not know.

Following my time at home I then ventured forth In my expensive go-kart to West Snowdonia, Wales. To again meet Mat and spend the next two days camping and walking based out of the Ogwen Valley. The third day was spent climbing in the morning then kayaking in the afternoon. We paddled a section of the River Dee. I did well on this grade III descent no swims, one roll, at Town Falls when everyone was watching. That afternoon got me reacquainted to wearing clothes again whilst paddling as had spent the last fourteen weeks paddling in just boardshorts, BA and lid.

The next two days were what our trip was all about, Pyranha Fest 2012! From last year i have definitely improved my boating. This year again on the Tryweryn, I felt a lot more comfortable giving it a good effort and making a lot more eddies then last year, a few rolls and only one swim on the last quick run of the weekend. Now I've got my car I should be able to also keep getting out (whilst doing my work, dad) and keep my ability up and hopefully get some more footage of my adventures. Looking forward to the uni year ahead.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Yeeeeehhhhaaarrrrr #2

So I've spent the last 10weeks over the pond in North East Pennsylvania at a camp called Camp Shohola. I was part of a two man crew taking children off of camp on trips to do different adventurous activities in real and challenging environments. Some of these activities included Kayaking, Canoeing, Rafting and Climbing. My whole time at camp was a great experience putting me in lots of new important decision making situations for the group I was helping lead. The best trips for myself were the kayak and canoe trips where I was able to not only improve the campers ability but also my own at the same time by setting specific goals for myself when on the rivers.

My final week in America was spent, not working, at a small town called Ohiopyle in South West PA. This town is built up around the Ohiopyle Falls and was comprised of either food or kayaking venues, superb. The waterfall (Ohiopyle falls) is 18ft and on the Youghiogheny River a lengthy river that has rapids ranging from class II to V. Mat and I spent the week kayaking on the sections named "The Lower" and "The Loop" These sections consisted of high class III rapids and took about 3.5hours to paddle at a steady rate. The first day of paddling here I was a little nervous still from my confidence being knocked after my nose break. However the morning of the second day I had managed to put it all behind me and from then on my paddling confidence and skill was back up if not improved. To the point where on the last day there we paddled the waterfall. I'm hoping one of my new found highly talented friends Jesse will have snapped a few photos of myself running the falls as I did quite well. A fantastic week, I strongly recommend anyone who is into their whitewater and in the area to venture there.

Below is a photo I captured on my GoPro on the back of my kayak going down one of the rapids called Cucumber. For more photos from the whole of my trip, like my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HARTridethestorm

Monday, 28 May 2012

Stephen Forster Photo Submission

I recently entered one of my favourite photos into the Stephen Forster Photo Challenge. My photo was posted on Bomb Flow Magazine's website which I'm quite pleased about with it being one of the leading media drivers on the white water kayaking scene at the moment.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Last Post of Second Year

Well that flew by. Last Friday saw me hand in my last piece of work for the second year of my degree. The piece was a 10minute film (link below). I'm not particularly proud of the final piece as it was a last ditch attempt at getting a grade as my original plans to make a whitewater kayaking film ended up failing due to plans falling through and not creating solid enough links with the Carlisle Canoe club YET. My film "follows CRAIG CHARTERS and GAVIN HART's week long mountain biking expedition around the Seven Stanes of Scotland." 

However its the summer now and am looking forward to working as a paddling and climbing instructor in the USA! So keep up-to-date on here and my facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/HARTridethestorm )  


Sunday, 6 May 2012


I've spent the last few days securing my visa for working in the USA. I should now be able to work out there over the summer now. Super excited.

My friend also finished editing his film this week that I helped film. A film about how Miles Hickey is dealing with being diagnosed with cancer and his adventures in the outdoors. The film is on Youtube at the link below.


Monday, 30 April 2012

Rheged Exhibition #2

This morning I helped frame and mount photos at the Rheged centre. The exhibition is called "Into the Wild" appropriate as the photos were all taken by adventure/wildlife and media students from my University. Below is a photo of the main wall of photos and me next to my favourite of mine.

Saturday, 28 April 2012


On a personal level I've had a eventful past week. I firstly managed to get out kayaking on three occasions the later resulting in a broken nose on Friday 20th. I managed to take a smiley picture when I was checking my teeth were all there, which they are. It was then my 21st Birthday which was excellent. The morning after my 21st I was filming Adam Hocking, one of the UK's top rock climbers with university. I was still quite wobbly when dangling on ropes on the crag but it quickly cleared my hangover. We also spent some time setting up and using a tyrolean traverse. Haven't seen any of that footage yet. Then on Thursday 26th I had a check up appointment at the hospital to decide the fate of my nose. I then ended up having an operation that night resulting in me staying over. I then had further operation the following day to try and sort my nose and returned home in the evening with vital painkillers.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Rheged Exhibition

Had a bit of luck with some more photos in a competition this week. My photos were selected to be shown in the Rheged Centre along with other photos from students studying on either the Adventure and Media or Wildlife and Media courses across all years. Students were allowed to enter one photo into each of the three categories which were available. I entered three photos and had all three selected to be shown, must be doing something right.

The three categories and my photos were...




Friday, 16 March 2012

This is my blog

Just to make people who view this blog aware.

For more frequent updates on what is happening in with HART ride the storm. 

Visit http://www.hartridethestorm.co.uk/contact.html for easy links to Follow and Like HART ride the storm. 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

River Swale

On Friday this week I did some filming of my friends kayaking on the River Swale for my 10minute film project for uni. I also managed to take some photos which worked out quite well here is a sequence of shots I edited together to show Pete's line down the Upper Kisdon drop. I'm thinking of getting it printed as I believe its one of my best pieces recently. If the second and third pictures of Pete had been a split second apart would have been even better to reduce the slight overlap of his arm.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Uni and Skiing

Not a lot has been happening for me recently mainly been completeing university assignments. However the pressure to do them has eased off slightly and last week I went on a short trip to Gleenshee Ski area with a few friends. The snow wasnt the best but enough to have a good time. I have also recently updated my website http://www.hartridethestorm.co.uk/ on there you can also find links to my Twitter and Facebook.

Below are two snapshots from video captured on my GoPro suckerd to my friends snowboard.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Return to Uni

A bit behind but I returned to uni on the 8th of January to ice-climbing, mountaineering, ice axe breaking and all that other dull stuff you have to do normally.

I tested out my GoPro in the chilly weather we had for three days up in the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. The highlight of the three days was constantly being told by our leader Stuart from climb365, "don't fall now else you will die". This encouragement made it an incredibly exhilarating few days. Below is a photo captured on my GoPro after having climbed up one of the snow filled gullys which was about 350m high at plus 60degrees.