Levels had dropped dramatically almost everywhere except the Tees (which we paddle so often that we really did want somewhere else at a weekend). The Lune always holds it level for a while after rain, and it proved to be quite a good level, with no bump or scrape (this makes a change as we often end up on the Lune when levels everywhere else are way too low). We were lucky enough to get a lift back up from the take-out, enabling us to leave both cars at the bottom, thanks ! A bright, sunny paddle on clear water felt almost alpine at times. There were a lot of parties on the water, and we overtook a large number at Crowder’s Leaps, some of whom caught us up again as we took out to inspect the Strid.
Dave’s run, the Strid
We continued on down Killington gorge in the sun and dropped into the eddy 30m above the bridge to egress by the good path over bedrock, safer than the steep exit right next to the bridge, even though that now (apparently) has steps installed. The day was then rather spoiled by an aggressive chap blocking our exit, leaving us stood in the cold with heavy boats on our shoulders. Without any form of introduction, he then started haranguing us for using this egress point. When I tried to point out that we had previously been asked to use this egress, he didn’t enquire who had given us this advice, or when (several years ago, when there were no steps by the bridge), he just shouted “No!” which I took as a direct, unequivocal and offensive accusation that I was lying (for which he could have no possible evidence or justification), to which I understandably took exception, asking him, just to be sure he really did mean it as an accusation, what he meant by “No!”. It immediately became impossible to get any sense out of him at all as he ranted on about Canoe England (a body exclusively devoted to governing competitive canoeing and of no conceivable relevance in this situation) and conservation areas and heavens knows what else (I had by now started trying to simply ignore him and get on with letting ourselves out onto the public road – he might have been behaving in a manner liable to cause a breach of the peace, but I preferred not to). He eventually stopped having a go and allowed us to pass through the gate. I can’t imagine what he had hoped to achieve, but as the person who had advised us to use the easy, safe path several years ago (when the bank by the bridge was steep and slippery) had been polite and helpful, I’m sure we’ll continue to use that egress in future as it has a better eddy (with less risk of missing it and ending up under the bridge) and is safer and less steep than the steps. I’ll try to make sure that I have my forward-facing helmet camera running throughout our egress in future (unfortunately, the thing had crashed repeatedly today). I’ve emailed the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as well as reporting the incident on UKRGB. It turns out my aft-facing helmet camera was still running (didn’t pick up much of the conversation) and the guy can be seen rather distantly on a few odd frames. If you recognise him – avoid him ! If you can’t avoid him (difficult if he insists on holding the gate shut against you) report him !