Event details Social Paddle: Kentmere Village -to Staveley Village From Memory I cannot recall many eddies and trees are an ever present danger Not one of our regular rivers, probably not a premier river but a good journey down the valley. I have done the river when it has been very low and providing you don’t mind the odd scrape on a rock it is still interesting. There is an easily portable Grade 4 section at Scroggs Bridge and the final weir would be optional
Every bit of the information is true – It is just a question of interpretation.
Brian, Matt, Mike H, Sten, Ian H, Dave, Phil C, John.
Despite being worried about water levels the rain was kind and came in – just in perfect time. I looked on my marker rock at 8:30 in steady drizzle I noticed levels had risen – looking good.. 0.63 on Kent gauge at Bowston.
All cars loaded 4 boats on each and for once no walkers at the Kentmere Institute, I can’t think why! it was a perfect day of low cloud and rain.
On with a bounce, down the narrow quite steep section weaving round trees and through stoppers – there is a nice series of little shelves.
Into Kentmere tarn with an apparently rare flock of Whooper Swans and a time to chat and listen to a John’s talk on Diatomite and why the tarn exists. Then mazed our way through the mangrove swamp at the outlet, it was still water so not too difficult – just overhanging tree branches.
To protect the (not so) innocent from this point on, trees will not be mentioned again!! Thanks to sterling work from Sten, Matt, Mike and all – just a good story and no harm done. I must remember to advertise a White Water Training and Rescue Course in the Event Details for future trips.
Anyway back to the river. A canalised section through the factory followed by a steep grade 3 rapid, only one, but it was about 1.5 kilometres long. It was good, it was very good and the intrepid team misled by the information in the event details coped admirably. one enthusiastic local even whistling at us. Trickiest, a small island with a tight drop on one side
and tree blockage on the other was little more challenging and saw them throw lines used effectively to retrieve a pinned kayak. A very experienced kayaker was heard to mutter something about reassessing his skills and arranging a multiday trip to Idaho because he did not really feel ready for rivers suitable for “improvers”.
We were nearly at a easier section but the river was not done with us yet, tricking some us onto what looked like an innocent looking play wave. The wave proceeded to have lots of fun tipping a couple of kayakers out of their boats, who no doubt were looking for crayfish and fresh water mussels.
Next was Scroggs Fall, lots of head scratching and muttering. A tree in right channel of the first 2m drop. Finally avoid by using the fall on the left with a bounce but not too much trouble,
more steep chutes followed, until just above the second drop.
I was just at the top of the second drop chatting to Ian when he announced he had to go. Now we are all of “mature” years and over the years I have got used to our groups frequent stops and the importance of having relief zippers especially in purple undersuits – but I did think that this was a very inconvenient time for the Godfrey’s Syndrome to strike. Low and behold Ian promptly disappears down the drop. Now it was Dad’s Army’s private Frasers turn “We’ll be doomed”. I thought I’d better follow – fortunately Ian was not being mangled around in the stopper under the fall or that could have been interesting. I have just a small boat (not quite sure why) but still I am sure Ian would not have appreciated a little lump of red plastic balanced on his head or more probably bouncing up and down on it. The group followed with differing success.
Now all we had to do was limp down the last few hundred yards – but even this proved too much for Matt’s boat. It had split it sides no doubt laughing at us. I believe he is now looking for a second hand Dancer and rumour has it a Dancer sits more securely on my roof rack than a modern boat.
Off to Wilf’s for the customary café stop, lots of happy animated faces – a good day was had by all (I think)