26 October 2008

Big Water, Tree Sunday

Another day and another day's paddling. A couple of phone calls the night before and a further call in the morning had a plan set to meet up at 9am and do what we do best; paddle. I was slightly apprehensive about the day's paddling as the previous day had seen biblical amounts of rain being dumped over the Lake District. Couple this with Thursday's heavy rain and you were left with an equation that equaled big river levels. Today we reckoned would be more of a case of finding a river low enough to safely paddle so it was decided we'd head over to Sedbergh, to the Lune Valley, to take a look at the Rawthey with the idea of paddling the Clough as well. On arriving at Sedbergh New Bridge the river looked big, but when getting on the Rawthey upstream, after seal launching from the top of a hill into the flow, it was decided that it was more of a medium level. Obviously it had stopped raining in the early morning, meaning that it was on the way down. Still the level was good.

The first hole, with a reputation of looping boats, was unrunnable with a fallen tree covering the lip.

With a portage of the tree, and one of our group walking out after deciding that a longer recovery from Thursday's swim down Troutbeck was needed, three of us carried on downstream with the news that their was an aggressive farmer looking for a fight with us neoprene clad kayakers.

One of the flatter sections of the river, with views over the Howgills.

Dropping into Loup Falls.

At the bottom of the awkward twisty slot marking the end of the Rawthey Gorge.

The main interest was now over and we drifted downstream, paddling when it was needed, admiring the interesting, geologically speaking, Conglomerate Gorge before passing under Straight Bridge and descending gently down to Sedbergh. On passing the confluence to the Clough and seeing the water coming over nearly all the final fall a plan was put together for a second river.

The shuttle was quickly run and we were off down the Clough, inspecting everything, like on the Rawthey, from the boat as we went. This was a speedy descent and we were soon entering the Clough Gorge. I was slightly apprehensive because of previous visits to the river. I had been told horror stories of recirculating boats in the hole near the bottom and from previous experience the entrance to the gorge can sometimes be nasty. Luckily, my line entering the gorge was good and I floated past the undercut left hand side from a distance. We had a quick bank inspection of the hole I was worried about and it was just how I remembered it. I stopped to take photographs.

Running the hole described as 'strong' in the Lake District bible in style.

My line through the hole was alright. I escaped it's grasp anyway, but seemed to end upside down on the run out. I went for the roll, came back up and went back over as the aerated water offered little support. I rolled again and this time I stayed upright. We descended the rest of the river quickly and took the main line, instead of the chicken chute I have taken previously, on the final fall with a big stroke on the left to boof the boat onto the foam pile of the hole and into the waiting eddy.

Another good day on the water. Supposedly the temperatures are going to be dropping now, so it may dry up around here for a while. Hopefully I'll be able to find something to keep me entertained.

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

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