The Upper Swale at an ‘easy’ level

Wednesdays seem to be getting popular for midweek paddling. Mary and Sarah were away at Plas-y-Brenin (climbing, not paddling), and Michael was at school, so a phone call suggesting that the Upper Swale was up was most welcome. Dave Peel, Tom Rawlings and Ant Stewart soon appeared at the front door and we headed over the Stang and via the Tan Hill to Upper Swaledale. The river had been well up, but was dropping off – still high enough to be worth putting on at Hoggarths Bridge, but down to 0.64m as we passed the Park Bridge gauge. Somewhere around 0.7m is reputed to be about the easiest level – less than that and the line on Rainby is getting very narrow, and the ledge run of Lower Kisdon is a bit spine-jarring. However, Upper Kisdon goes much more easily on the right, and ‘The Rapid’ is a lot less intimindating than on my previous run at 1m, when I walked round this bit. Catrake Force also goes nicely on the right, where the drops are unbroken by ledges and the landings not quite so shallow.

Dave, Tom and Ant now headed off to do the Tees Greta (I shuttled to Greta bridge for them), but I had to go off for the school run 🙁 They only took 40 minutes, so I might have had time, but it’s usually a bit slower than that, so better safe than sorry…

Wet West Paddlefest 2012

We went up on Thursday night, staying at the hostel attached to the pub in Roybridge. On Friday we went east to do the Pattack, which could have done with a bit more water.

Michael on the main rapid of the Pattack – his heroic brace made it look easy… Photo: Andy.

Saturday was the big event – the dam-release Moriston. Mary walked round the first big drop, Sarah ran it, but had her spraydeck implode, whilst Andy ran it quite successfully. All reunited below this, we all ran the rest of the river with varying degress of uprightness, but no swims.

Sarah getting used to her new creek boat on the longest rapid on the Moriston

On Sunday, no-one wanted to go and play on the (inevitably busy) Garry, but as the water levels were up, and the Orchy was on the way back, we decided to run this. Mary was still in a state of shock from her success on the Moriston and decided she was too tired to paddle for a third day in a row, and Michael decided to sit this one out too. It was at a significantly higher level than last time we’d run it, and Sarah and Andy had a great time, so Mary and Michael rather regretted having not paddled.

Andy having fun on Witch’s Step at the end of the middle Orchy. Photo: Sarah.