Christmas treat; Greenfield Beck and the upper wharfe.
Well. Hurricane Bella did her worst. Wreaking damage across Britain, causing flooding, and other untold damage….mainly to southern tribes. But our strange sport thrives on this doesn’t it?!
WhatsApp group set up 2 days prior, discussions had, preferences discussed. And excitement about Bella.
Unfortunately she passed a little quickly, which meant Greenfield Beck emptied far faster than we wanted! Onto the confluence with Oughtershaw Beck, and we were romping again. Albeit at quite a low level, a fairly constant gd 2/3/3+ for it’s 6km length. What it lost in ferocity it gained in technicality.
Despite the strong wind and sleet – a joyous trip. 3 rapids scouted – protection discussed and put into place – good signals used by all. Fancy that….eh? Communicating with each other on the river! No spills today. Only thrills.
Stopping to discuss features on route helped all and was a chance for more chat.
The Graveyard rapid had more options at this level so I decided I would have a look river right. Pete followed me and everyone else picked their own way through. The sun low in the sky and in your eyes didn’t help mind. Onwards to the broken weir and then the main event. The decision was taken earlier to eddy out river right, put protection on and run one by one.
John H decided he would walk down and put protection on. With a running order decided I kicked off requiring a roll in the meaty, boiley water under the bridge.
Next up was Adam, who literally skimmed across the top of the white-water like a stone in his slicey play boat. Duncan then followed in only his second time on the river again requiring a roll. Nice.
John then made his way back up and with his new ‘Machno’ was keen to test its extra volume. Nice line but like me gobbled up in the mush at the bottom. A roll required then. Nicely done.
The normal portage then round the next weir had us pondering over the stepped weir below. A strong tow back was evident. With a quick inspection, protection stationed and a route decided I ran it first. Not the exact line I intended but with a high brace was through, (I’m blaming the sun in my eyes). Everyone else then followed keeping hard left with relative ease.
Onwards to the slalom course and at this level the shoot down the weir was particularly sticky. Fast moving too and with most boulders covered there wasn’t the opportunity to play as much as we would have liked. That said it is exhilarating even if it is fairly short.
The next weir then, which is normally quite tame and with little to play on proved a popular spot for some surfing. The fish steps were very boily and a nice play wave formed at the bottom. A chance for Adam to show us his skills again.
The last main feature then, Fisherman’s Island. Which we usually take down the right. This was big and bouncy, with one particular spot in the narrow gorge catching most out. Unfortunately last man down John was scuppered by this and couldn’t execute his roll because of the restricted space.
A swift rescue then required. No injuries to report.
A couple more play waves to follow before arriving at the egress.
Three hours then thoroughly enjoyed by all. With smiles all round you could tell it is still worth the effort when there’s nothing else running.
Thanks to everyone, it was nice to get out and pass on some of my experience to those unfamiliar with the river, just like I was shown.