Monday, 28 February 2011

The River Lune in one day

8.5hrs paddling
Several weirs
Several moments of concern (no swims)
4 fishermen (2 very happy ones!)
5.9km/hr average speed.

Over the last 3 days, we have paddled many kilometres of stunningly beautiful river that few people will see until rivers access is changed here in England. It is quite possible that more British paddlers have toured along the Ardeche, Sun Koshi and Colorado Rivers, than the hidden stretches of Rivers Eden and Lune. Yet these beautiful British rivers are national treasures, hidden from public view by outdated traditions and rules that bear no relevance in todays modern age of outdoor excersise and fitness.

With no significant rain for the last three days, the water levels in the River Lune were low. Rather than our intended start at Newbiggin-on-Lune, We launched at the begining of the classic whitewater run at Beckfoot.
Shallow pebbly rapids led to the first of the narrow limestone chutes that typify this well-loved stretch. Each chute became more technical until the notorious 'Strid' was reached. Two of us missed the eddies above, which led to bottom lips quivvering for a moment or two. Friendlier rapids led to two weirs, the lower of which is Stangerthwaite weir and has a fearful reputation. Both Passed without incident and we soon emerged below the Rawthey confulence into more placid waters. 

The River Lune then led us peacefully through the world of the landed gentry. A beautiful rolling landscape with a mixture of farms, woodland and hunting land. When we reached Kirkby Lonsdale we stopped for a break at Devil's Bridge before heading on to the second half of the day. 

Further on, the river becomes broad and shallow, meandering accross a flood plain in a broad valley. In this ideal fishing territory we met four anglers, two of which were very happy to have just landed a catch and were willing to share their moment with us.

A while after Loyn Bridge we met up with our friend Peter Roscoe who joined us for the final section. Peter paddles Halton Rapids regularly and showed us the best lines. When we eventually arrived at Lancaster we landed close to Skerton Weir and made our way to Brookbank Canoes Lancaster branch nearby. They made us very welcome providing us with a place to get changed and hot drinks all round. Peter then gave us a lift back to Kates van before we all tucked into some more Cumberland Sausage back at Kate's house.

I'm sad to say that I have decided that I must finish the trip here. I have aggrevated a prevoius injury to my left arm and it would be unsafe and irresponsible for me to carry on. Kate and Sean have every chance of completing the Cumberland Ring. As they head out to sea this morning making for Piel Island, I wish I was with them. However, all I can do now is wish them anything and everything that could help them in reaching the end on Friday.

No comments:

Post a Comment