Sunday 29th. 1993, Mike H researches a rarely if ever paddled river section. Need lots of water and a strong team to attempt it. 3 times thwarted over the years the by high winds forcing closure of the A66.
Not often the opportunity arises but 7a..m on Sunday 29th Sept. gauge was on 0.48 low- but the ground was saturated from 2 days of heavy rain and it had poured all night- heavily. By 8.00 the river had risen to 0.8. We were on.
Mike H , Brian Rob and Mark left a car at the get out before yomping across the moor to the get in, just below a sheep fence. Yardstone beck, only 3 boat wide. Tight meandering bends, constant control needed, though not at all dangerous, Like a fair ground ride, even a weird arch in the middle of nowhere.
After 1km Aygill joined, doubling the volume and width. Still lots of meander and fast grade 2 to the old railway bridge where the grade upped to 3 and the waves increased in size and slides stared, nice easy angled slides, some with large stoppers, all easily avoided. One lower section stopped by a double fence in the final stopper. On one double slide Mark found himself sideways playing, or was it being played with! – only foiled when his paddle snapped!
Soon afterwards fall on OS map. After a sudden scramble when and an eddy failed materialise on a long bend, 100m of slides followed, then more 3 and more slides. just a delight then more 3 to God’s bridge where LES applied, the last eddy syndrome -make the eddy or die, a the river flowed underground through at the natural ‘God’s bridge. ( In all 4 fences to portage on the supper section)
We took the opportunity to scout the next gorge section by foot before paddling it to yet another fence. Below this a double slide past a larger hole. Then, sublime slides , then a steeper slide 3 hbigger standing waves, move left (or right) down a slab, more slides and holes to a normal bouldery rapid and a final S bend. 500m of WOW.
We were brought back to earth with a nasty river wide hole at the next bridge followed by 700m of portage due to trees in the river, and. a final bar fence before the junction with Sleightholme Beck.
The volume now doubled, the river in spate, very fast. The first bridge after the confluence held another fence, which we sneaked by. Caution. to a ledge which proved easy.
A tree tunnel that we should never have entered but brought us to and eddy> inspection again, then a death ledge – with such a nasty recirculation river wide. The final portage lead tin 400m and the relief the egress and food.
Not often you get to paddle a possible first descent- (unless you know better).
Oh yes the gauge peaked at a level of 1.2 just as we got of the river at 4.30pm.