Undertaking a physically demanding task for several hours in a natural environment, far from habitation or roads, is always an adventure.
You must be able to swim and be in good physical condition.
When the water is high, possibly even in summer, certain risks become more serious. You can be pinned against branches after a capsize, blocked by the undertow which forms at the foot of the embankment.
Embankments with undertows
When the river is high, dangerous undertows form at the foot of nearly all embankments (here is the embankment at Les Carderies; take the route to the extreme right, i.e. near to where this photo was taken).
The instructors on the course from la Base de la Minoterie will teach you about navigation difficulties.
Even with the easiest river routes, a good canoeing or kayaking technique will help you to follow the best course:
avoiding rocks and branches
- by going through low waters into deeper waters
To fully benefit from a downstream river trip, a half day of instruction at beginner or advanced level at la Base de la Minoterie is recommended.
Don’t forget: Drinking water, a hat and sun cream.
If the weather conditions are cold: A woolly jumper and an light raincoat.
If you wear glasses: A simple piece of string will prevent you from losing them if the boat overturns.
Look well ahead to find the best route (the deepest one), and anticipate the effects of the current (but don’t forget to admire the countryside!).
Leave about ten metres between each launch.
Don’t hook yourself to branches to slow down.
Never set off alone.
Don’t let go of your paddle if you capsize.
In the event of a serious incident, and you are in search of human habitation, throughout the whole of the Moyenne-Vézère it is preferable to leave by way of the right bank, except for the Uzerche-Vigeois section where it would be better to leave from the left bank. This very simple rule is given by way of guidance; It is possibly not necessary to apply it if you can see a path, a road or a dwelling on either bank.
If you wish to land: Before setting foot onto land, use your paddle to beat the undergrowth or the tall grass several times, to frighten off any unwanted reptiles.
Bring back all your rubbish.
Respect barge moorings, as well as spawning grounds in the appropriate seasons.
Respect fishermen: Take care how you are manoeuvring and make no noise well in advance: Avoid paddling during optimum fishing times (early morning and late afternoon).
Respect private properties in the area.
We should be grateful if you would contact the administrative staff at la Base de la Minoterie if you encounter any problems during your river trip (such as pollution, obstacles, etc).