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Sunshine in Sesia

Posted: 12.07.2014 BY Natty Cordon

Italian paddling is famed for that perfect combination of food, drink, sunshine and whitewater, so when I got the chance to spend a week in Valsesia at the beginning of June, I couldn’t resist.

The first day got off to a pretty sluggish start. Having all got a little over-excited by the existence of 10 litre bottles of wine, most of us found ourselves feeling a little bit precious. We decided to use the Middle Sesia as a warm up river but things quickly became fruity when all seven of us ended up in one recirculating eddie. There’s nothing like a bit of beatering to clear a hang-over and it’s always nicer to beater with a friend.

Fortunately, over the next few days, the paddling went much more smoothly with clean runs down the Lower Sesia, Gronda, Sorba Slides, Mastelone, Alpine Sprint, Egua, Sermenza and the Landwasser. It quickly became apparent however, that the River Gods were replacing our boat-based carnage with a bit of bank-based and kit-based carnage.

I put in a strong entry for the carnage award by climbing down a bank that I would never be able to climb back up in an attempt to rescue the Shewee I had dropped. Not in the history of mankind has anyone managed to waste quite so much time using a labour-saving device.

Oli arguably had a stronger entry from the carnage award when he somehow managed to acquire three big splits in hisboat on a high-volume river. Luckily, he had a ready supply of ‘Back-Seat Welders’ to annoy him and to provide useless and contradictory advice whilst he made his repairs. Unfortunately for Oli, the ‘Back-Seat Welders’ had failed to mention that using a blow torch alongside highly flammable contact adhesive might have some negative consequences. All’s well that ends well. 

Overall, my trip to Italy was exactly what I wanted it to be: a holiday; a warm-up for Norway; and most importantly, a right laugh. Thanks to everyone involved for showing me such a good time.