Rawthey better than expected

Intermediate river trip 9/01/22

You wouldn’t believe it, but 24 hours earlier the rivers were all in spate. Roll on 24 hours and it was a struggle to find a river with water other than the usual suspects.
Aha a river section that had eluded me so far though was the lower Rawthey, that will do then. Still showing on medium.
The night before I had thought it would be nice to run the upper and lower sections together. However this was thwarted when I checked levels in the morning. I Should have known really.
A late addition to the group saw Mike H and John H taking the numbers to seven.
Meeting at the egress we made the shuttle up to the put in at Sedburgh new road bridge, but before we could get the boats off Mike had suggested we might go and have a look at the upper section first just in case (Mike’s knowledge in play here I think). We stopped at the first bridge for a look, possible, then a bit further up where we could see the river from the road, still possible, so a bit further, and nope that’s too low. So back down to a point where we all thought that it will go. We put on then just above Cautley Beck where there’s a convenient foot bridge and ample parking.

The water was flowing and covering the river bed just enough to get moving. Then as the river starts to constrict it gets easier to paddle. Not far from the put in then we arrived at one of the main features, Loup falls, a tricky three tier drop which even at low levels can be awkward to navigate. We all got out to inspect and it has to said the bank above the falls is littered with junk, spilling over from the premises above. This really needs reporting as it’s a real blight on the landscape.
Back to the river then, everyone negotiated the falls ok, one roll required. Result.
From here down the river delights, with lots of rapids leading us through gorges and at this level plenty of play waves and stoppers.
One portage was required when we came across a river wide tree and we decided not to run the final exit slot at the bottom of the gorge.
More rapids had us approaching the end of the upper section and where the Clough joins. A much bigger and wide river now. Two hours up so far.
Onto the bottom section now, running the first weir we came to down the middle shoot. A few more minor rapids and more play waves and then onto the main event, Railway falls.
Not inspecting and personally not having seen it before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but with Mike leading us in we all followed his line, a tight slot to start and then another pour over and we were through. A few paddle scrapes and another roll.
After this it was on to the Lune for a few hundred yards then the trudge up to the cars.
Three and a half hours well spent and in great company.
Level was about 1.2m or lower. Good to know for future reference.
Paddlers Mike, John H, Steve Ed, Duncan, Pete, guest Adam and me.
Mark M

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