By: Blonde Two

I think that Not-at-all-Blonde and I have invented a new sport (please don’t disillusion me). It is a bit like gorge scrambling and a bit like bouldering, but is particularly suited to a Blonde who has always wanted to be a climber but is scared of heights, and has badly behaved knees.

You need a very specific location for underwater bouldering; it requires a river with a current that is just that bit too strong to swim against (preferably under a friendly little rapid). As well as a downstream current, a few gentle eddies are useful (see note below). Your chosen river also needs to be lined with a rock wall that has handholds (footholds not required as you will be floating).

The idea is to drag yourself upstream in a manner akin to bouldering, grabbing handholds and trying to stop your feet from floating off away from you. If you have chosen the right location, one minute you will be fighting your way downstream, and the next the eddies will be pushing you upstream. The whole thing is finished off (if you make it as far as the rapid) by launching yourself into the flow and bobbing back to the beginning to start again.

I can honestly say that I have not laughed so much in a very long time. It was great fun to feel for handholds only to find yourself slipping and floating back downstream again, and there was no risk of falls because we were in the water the whole time.

Rivers obviously come with their dangers. It can be a surprise how strong the flow can be, even in the shallowest of water. Even gentle rapids are not places to be taken lightly; my kayaking years taught me that! I would advise caution should you want to try my new sport, consider wearing a buoyancy aid, and definitely don’t do it on your own.

Eddy is probably a very nice chap; but this is also the name for a place where the river current reverses or stills itself. Eddies are formed behind objects. For example, a decent-sized rock in the middle of a river will have an upstream current behind it. Kayakers and canoeists use eddies as places of safety and recuperation as they paddle downstream.