You wait for a good river trip, and then two come along at once….
We had 9 paddlers who wanted to come out on the 29th for some whitewater excitement. Rivers were very bare on Sunday evening, but the forecast rain materialised, and by breakfast time on Monday there were too many options. A few people had to drop out due to illness or last minute commitments so we had six, with varying degrees of skill and bravery. In the end, we split our forces, with Mike, Martin and Rachel tackling Borrow Beck at G3(5), and John, Dave and Phil running the Greta from Ingleton at a marginally easier G2/3.
The Greta was great; lots of water, so it was fast and bouncy, with almost all the rocks covered. Plenty of fast, swooping turns, and wave trains to keep you on your toes. No real dramas – the river-wide tree we’d been warned about had gone – but Phil was so pleased at smashing through a hole that he failed to spot a horizontal tree the size of a bus which was a boat-length beyond it. First swim. But the sun came out, and the rapids kept coming too, all the way through Burton, under the bridge and on to the main event, the G3+ drop at the end. We ignored the advice to inspect and just went for it; 2 succeeded, 1 swam, again. This river doesn’t get any stars in Stuart’s guidebook, but if the river is running quickly at Ingleton, (sadly, no gauge except Wennington), it’s definitely worth doing.
Rachel first inspected Borrow Beck in 2006, so she has waited 12 years for the opportunity to actually run it. Fortunately, we had Mike Hayward to guide us (he made the first descent in 1987 with robin and Jim!) The level was a little low and dropping all the time, but maybe no bad thing for our first run. The river is shallow and bouldery for several kilometers, after which it narrows and steepens. We portaged round the grade V, but ran the grade IV twisty section. Unfortunately, all photos are from the easier first part. Far too busy holding on, after that! Lunes Bridge gauge on Lune at Tebay 1.3
photo 1 – at the startphoto 2 – nice day for a paddlephoto 3 – telephoto shot captures the settingphoto 4 – after the bridgephoto 5 – grade V