Sunday, 27 February 2011

Eden completed

First, a few statistics...

2 days (8.5hrs + 6hrs paddling)
109.2km (68.1 + 41.1)
1 portage
8 fishermen (7 pleasant ones!)
8.7km/hr average speed on day 1
8.3km/hr average speed on day 2

Paddling almost the entire length of a river gives a perception of how a river evolves as its waters travel from the hills to the sea. We started in the Scandal Beck at first light on day one, at the highest place with enough water to float, and finished just above the normal tidal limit on the second day. The night was spent in a sheltered bivi spot on the riverside.

A little more water would have been nice in the upper section but we got down to the confluence with the Eden without too much scraping. Skills in dodging trees were tested from the start, as the clear, shallow water flowed swiftly over the brown, yellow and grey rocks of the river bed.

There was much more water as soon as we joined the Eden, quickly boosted by a series of other tributaries. The river depth increased enough to be able to put in proper paddle strokes, improving our rate of progress. The banks were a mixture of woodland and grazing on either side of what we discovered to be a beautiful touring river.

Second breakfast (or first lunch) saw us get through some more of the local sausage (*), this time as sandwiches. This meal was a welcome break on a small island in the river after 23km of continuous paddling. All afternoon we made swift progress along flat, but fast moving water, until we arived at Eden Lacy. Here a weir forced a quick inspection, and momentary excitement before we landed for lunch part two and a tour of Lacy's caves. Our first day ended with a blast down the usual white water section of the Eden to finish at a Armathwaite for beers and a bivi.

An excellent pub in Armathwaite (the Fox and Pheasant) gave us good food, good beer and internet access. However, sheer exhaustion forced us to leave fairly early and return to our bivi site.

Pre-dawn preparations allowed an early start, followed immediately by a strategic portage of Armathwaite weir. None of us had any desire for heroics and a possible dunking so early in the day. Flat but fast-moving water assisted our passage through much more open farmland, while giant looping meanders increased the distance we had to paddle to reach our destination at the tidal limit. The narrow, shallow stream that we started on had become a mature high-volume river on its way to the Solway.

[* - The last of the sausage was a vital ingredient in this evening's pasta sauce. We look forward to trying the second variety after tomorrow's paddle.]


  1. Well done to you all, great pics, it looks fab. You're all ace! (and slightly mad).
    Lots of love Stine xxx

  2. Great going guys. Best wishes for the rest of your adventure - Andy :o)