posted by John Robertson on 14-Apr-09 at 11:23 AM

We had half a Canadian rugby team staying with us this week (for the Melrose Rugby sevens tournament) and a couple of them were desperate for a ride in a hovercraft. The weather had been very windy up until Sunday when it was blue skies and calm. After rousing two of them from a hangover-induced sleep (they were knocked out in the first round of the tournament ) at 11:30am we set off for the coast.

Unloaded and launched up river from the Berwick Launch site. The guys were very impressed by the transition (the tide was half out so the 30 degree sand ramp onto the water taken at high speed is quite scary if you aren't used to it). Passed a couple of jetski guys wating for the tide to come in far enough for them the launch from the harbour slipway (Ha Ha - they should have a hovercraft ).

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We travelled upriver to Norham Castle and stopped on an island for some exploring and to watch the geese and other wildlife. Both guys had some extended driving experience on the wider parts of the river - Cheech was pretty good but Adam couldn't quite master the the over-correcting issue - the zig-zag course).

During a lunch stop at Paxton House we met up with Matt and his friends in the UH18 (three of them). By this time the wind had risen a bit (around 12-15mph blowing directly upriver) so downriver progress was slowed a bit (quite a bit more power needed). We passed six jet skies on their way up river (they can't get up even as far as Paxton until the tide is fully in - and they can't get any further than that because of the wiers (wrong craft type again )

As expected, the harbour was quite rough (incoming tide with a wind behind it) so the guys had to resort to sitting down and hanging on (they had insisted on standing up until that point).

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After returning to the launch bank we spoke at length to a local policeman who was very friendly and interested. He took two calls while we spoke from people complaining about the speed of jet skies in the harbour even though there was NO other water traffic apart from the jet skiers and us. He was pragamatic about it - people complain about anything nowadays he said.