The outfits we were handed were suspiciously aquatic – wellies, wetsuit, helmet, a fleece base layer, a water-proof and a life jacket. Yep, this was not your regular ramble, we were going gorge walking. And we were very quickly introduced to what it was all about. We splashed our way along the chilly stream, boots and sleeves filling with water as we scrambled over rocks.
As we came to an opening, where the river got wider and deeper, it was clear we wouldn't be getting any drier. Our instructor showed us how to clamber onto a rock ledge and roll off into the pool of water. His small yelp warned us of the temperature. It was the type of cold that momentarily robs you of your breath but I managed to catch it in time to enjoy the carnage of my splash.
All three of us, now thoroughly soaked, continued to wade through the water, which seemed to be getting progressively deeper. First ankle-deep, then up to our armpits, then suddenly we were swimming (well, as close to swimming as was possible with a buoyancy aid and without losing your wellies when you kick your legs). And I couldn't help but notice that the rocky sides of the river had rapidly increased in height. Our mini tumble into the pool was just a taster of what was to come.
The first leap was only accessible by crawling through a waterfall. What looked quite gentle from a distance gave our helmeted heads a hammering as soon as we started along the ledge. It was a quick lesson in how strong water can be. So it wasn't surprising that the first in our group was a little nervous to jump off the ledge. Nose held, she cautiously stepped off, into the water and emerged with a grin.
The next jumps were, of course, higher than the last and each brought a bigger smile and occasional splutter, until we reached Loonies Leap, the largest of the lot. Even to someone supposedly not scared of heights, it seemed high. Knowing a hesitant stumble could cause a slip, I threw myself into the air. Most of the water flew up my nose but I happily bobbed out of the water, giddy to do it all again.