Rivers are going to be a major part of the Jungle Ultra. For some crossings we get taken across by boat, for others there are various zip wire mechanisms, but for most of them we are going to have to wade across and for some we get to walk a fair distance along the river. So yes, we are going to get very wet, but the rivers are going to be quite refreshing given how much we are going to be sweating in the heat and humidity.
But something I hadn’t thought about rivers in the jungle was the dangers they could present to me. I have never been scared of the sea, or of jumping in a river or reservoir for a swim and so far, I have been lucky. But a session with a member of the local mountain rescue now means that I am better prepared for dealing with flowing water. A big thank you to Kevin Robinson for taking me down to the river at Slaithwaite to look at the potential dangers and what I need to think about.
Some things are too obvious, but I hadn’t even thought about and would have quickly been in trouble eg when walking along a river, try and walk upstream and always make sure you are facing against the flow of the water if having to walk downstream. And if walking across the river, walk sideways. And all because the water hitting the back of your knees will cause your knees to bend and you will be carried away by the water or knocked over at best. Another thing that I hadn’t thought about was if there is a guide rope across the river to hold onto, always be on the downstream side of the rope so if the water is fast moving, you don’t end up falling over and getting trapped by the rope and drowned.
So, a useful session to learn a few top tips. Unfortunately, there aren’t any piranha fish or caiman in the rivers of West Yorkshire, so we were unable to review what to do when under attack! Rumour has it that on one day of the race there are about 50 crossings, so wish me luck!