12 November 2006

Local Paddling

When November comes around many of the paddlers in the north-west head for Halton Rapids at, take a guess, Halton, just east of Lancaster. This section of river has some of the strictest, and most ridiculous access agreements in the country. Paddlers can only frequent the water in the months November, December and January and during the rest of the year they are 'unpaddleable'. Now this is the stupid part to the agreement; fisherman, the people who seem to have the upper hand when it comes to agreeing access to rivers, don't fish this section until the end of March and then when they can fish the river they don't. So why can't we paddle the river then? Well, know one is sure, but the agreement states we can only paddle it in the last two months and the first month of the year. Stupid isn't it?

Well, today I paddled the river for the first time this season and it was pretty similar to every other time I've been there at this particular level.

It was at a medium to high level with water coming over most the wear at the get in. Once changed I headed up the river as the rapids are upstream of the get in and worked my way up the smaller sections of rapids by ferry gliding and eddy hoping my way gradually upstream. When I had reached the farthest point upstream I could get with out getting out of my boat I explored the play potential in this area. The play potential was actually quite lacking. There looked to be this really sweet wave, which was actually near impossible to get on by ferrying out of the eddy. There were two further waves, but again these weren't great and required a ferry glide of momentous proportions with a really high stroke rate.

I eventually got bored of the rapids so I jumped out of my boat and clambered over, round and through trees until I was below the big open-book wear, which marks the farthest upstream point of the rapids. Again there wasn't anything that really stood out as being a top play feature but there was the odd wave that could be surfed and some lumpy water you could get wet in when the waves crashed into your face. I also managed to drop onto the good looking wave I mentioned before and had a bit of play on that. I walked back, once more, to the top before getting off the river.

There's a short video of one of the play features here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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