some text, too – better have a lot more, or we can’t see the effect of bludgeoned themes. Need some bigger pics adding (FIXME).
Midweek paddling using the “Paddling partners” forum on UKRGB, Thomas Woodstone and I paddled the River Bain, England’s shortest river (which Tom had scouted previously) – this starts flat (water lilies don’t usually feature on the run-in to a spate beck) but once it got going was quite continuous, with various low branches and rocks to dodge before the final set of shelves and a drop under the bridge at Bainbridge. This continuity and the restrictions on lines of sight provided by the trees meant no photos of this run.
The series of rock shelves above the bridge offer a line of least resistance which tempts you river left, and makes getting back right quite difficult. That’s bad, as you want to shoot the last drop as far right as possible in this water level to pass the stopper. If you hit the middle of the drop and have lost your speed owing to trying to get right, you hit the stopper, which immediately circulates you further left until you hit the wall, then stands you on end. If you took your hand off the paddle to fend off the wall, you are now in a poor position to roll, even though the stopper spits you out once inverted….
Since it only took half an hour to do the Bain, we went to look at Widdale Beck. The bridge at Apperset is the usual put-in for the upper Ure, but this was the take out for our run, starting at the bridleway from Tarney Foss. From the map, there seems to be about a 40m drop over 2½ kilometres, and we could only see one short drop from the road, so weren’t entirely sure that there was nothing nasty here in the woods…
But it turned out to be bouldery shingle rapids at no more than grade 2, which would have been very nice with about twice as much water. Eventually you reach the drop visible from the road. Shooting it where the water goes in low water (river left) produces a bit of a bump on landing, but there is enough water not to jar too much if you land flat.
Not a lot further on is a second drop over a similar rock shelf, which is again shot far river left, watching out for an overhanging branch on the run-in. Probably at a level to make the rest less of a scrape, there would be more of a stopper on these drops, which could become quite meaty at high level. The first drop is easy to get out and inspect from river right, the second would probably be just as easy, but after the first drop, we found this easy enough to scout from on the water.