We were rather expecting a bit of a scrape, but levels had been rising since the last EA gauge updates and we found the Wharfe moving pleasingly fast to save all the flat paddling on this mostly fairly tame section. Slightly too fast for one person on this beginners’ trip, but an exit was made very quickly, with no great distance to retreat to the cars. Loup Scar rapid had some quite boily eddy lines, but straight down the middle would have been very straightforward. There’s little else of any note on this section, except for Appletreewick Falls, which is an easy portage for those who had no intention of going anywhere near what the guidebook describes as very canoeist-hungry stoppers. That proved, in fact, to be everyone except me. I’d already been declared the expendable probe for this trip, but here I was merely expendable, since no-one needed the results of a probe.
Keep hard left on the right hand side of the island
We’d already looked and decided that the left hand side had no navigational difficulties, but led unavoidably into a big stopper with boxed in ends, so that looked a bad option. The right hand side had a fairly easy line that led, if you got it just right, to a bit of a tongue through the even meatier stopper. The trouble with that line was that there was more than one horizon line, and no landmarks, so hitting the tongue would be a little hit-and-miss. A line in at the left hand edge of the right channel could catch a big eddy, or just stay left of the main wave train, and then continue close to the island, hitting a much smaller stopper and hopefully avoiding any terminal consequences even if that stopper wasn’t hit with much speed. This was the “safe” line, though it did end a long way from bank protection (Don with my 30m throwline, river right).
Taking a look at the stopper on the left hand channel
The others all put back on to run the two smaller rapids below the main fall, both of which proved even easier than they’d looked from the bank. After that it was but a short way on the flat to the take-out at Bardon bridge where we thought the river had dropped somewhat since we’d shuttled.
I’ve always thought of this bit of the Wharfe as being a lot further away than the Upper and Middle, but, since the approach is via the A1 and then the Ripon bypass (the same way we’d go to the Washburn) the travel time proved to be not much longer than going to the Washburn – well under an hour and a half even with A1 roadworks. There’s a another section downstream of this that I’ve never done, so perhaps there will be a return to tick that off, too.