River Bugging

On Thursday afternoon, Claire and I went river bugging in Scotland. I can’t even find a Wikipedia article on it, it’s so little-known as an activity, but apparently it’s gaining popularity in New Zealand (presumably a direct result of access to white water rapids and a suitable level of insanity amongst the general population).

The activity first appeared, I’m told, when somebody using a floating “fishing chair” was whipped away by the current in his unanchored personal boat. The bugs we were using didn’t look far from this – inflatable armchairs that left your feet dangling in the water and let you either sit upright or lie right back (in the traditional lazy angler position – although I was distressed by the lack of a beer holder integrated into the chair). The river had only just defrosted the previous week from a particularly long winter, so we put on two wetsuits each (ever tried to squeeze into a wetsuit when you’re already wearing one?), and activity which, for my sister, Becky, seemed to take up most of the day. We wore wetsuit gloves with webbed fingers to act as “paddles”, and propelled ourselves through the water (whether aboard our bug or not) by paddling and kicking furiously against the clinging of our double-wetsuit constriction.

The photogapher managed to take some fantastic pictures, some of which I’ll share with you here (you can see the rest too, if you like). Just click on a picture to see a larger version.

Dan carries his river bug down the road. Carrying river bugs. They're surprisingly heavy. Claire under instruction. Dan attempts to capsize to practice escaping once underwater. Dan going over the first waterfall. Claire goes over the edge. In the splashpool. Another waterfall. Preparing to go over backwards. Dan goes over the big one! Dan tips over. Dan's down there somewhere.

As you can see, it’s a particularly wild ride. Despite Claire’s difficulties with some of the other activities (descriptions to follow!), she excelled at river bugging, even managing to stay upright after going over the largest of the waterfalls we paddled over, a feat nobody else managed. That said, she was too small to carry her bug up a hill. Bless.

It’s worth a go. The number of places you can do it in the UK can be counted on one hand, and if you enjoy it, two hours isn’t really long enough to do it justice (on the other hand, if you decide that you don’t, it’s perhaps a bit long for a taster session).

In other news, the script that’s being used to provide the funky image slideshow effects if you click on one of the images, above, on my blog, is Lightbox, and it is pretty cool, isn’t it? If you’re reading my blog through a newsreader, Abnib or, worse yet, Livejournal, you won’t see any of the effects. Try reading in the original context.

7 replies to River Bugging

  1. Lightbox doesn’t work for me with Firefox 1.5.0.2 under Win XP. It opens the image significantly below the bottom of the page with the close button in a funny place.

    Jus’ so you know!

  2. Hmm. Works for me on a few different Firefox 1.5.0.2 boxen. How odd.

    Hang on – how can you see an image that’s below the bottom of the page? Do you mean below the bottom of the window?

    Some of the images are quite large; if you’re viewing at 800×600 the bottom of the images might appear below the bottom of a default-toolbar maximised Firefox window. But I’m not sure how you’d get the whole image to appear so low.

    Ah well.

  3. Did you really have to mention that it took me a while to get into that bloody wetsuit!!!!
    I didnt need a second wetsuit anyway….all it did was give me a wedgie!

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