We’re having a very dry spring. The Swaledale Outdoor Club (Canoe Section) seems to have held a low opinion of the Washburn over many years, so that I had never paddled it, but with Wednesday evening releases being the nearest reliable water to keep in form for the summer alps trip, it seemed worth while putting it on the programme this year.
So 19th May saw Sarah and I driving down for our first play. Being there early meant it was relatively uncrowded, so we took the time to run the top bit twice before continuing down – this seemed to be a popular option with other groups, too. It’s a very fast river, which, despite its technical grading of II, makes it quite intimidating if you haven’t been in a white water boat for a few weeks. We settled down after a few wobbles, and soon got used to the small eddies. As we continued down, there were lots of tight breaks-out to make and it all seemed like very good practice for the alps – certainly better than rock-bashing on marginal rivers or paddling on slow-moving water. A horizon line with quite a bit of noise ensured that we popped out for a quick inspection of the biggest drop, before continuing most of the way to the bottom and then doing a walking shuttle back to the carpark.
Sarah on the biggest drop on the Washburn
It was good to have someone else with a car to do a shuttle on June 16th (Andy, Sarah and Iggy went on that one), but the all-afternoon June 2nd release (see below) had a frequent minibus shuttle.
Although it wasn’t on the programme, we found that there was an extra Wednesday release during half term, starting at noon for “Children’s day”, so all four Waddingtons trekked down to the Washburn on another warm day. We all managed two runs down in good order, although not everyone had got the hang of tight breakouts from fast water, so we were a bit economic on stops for photography. Sarah had met a friend and done the top section an extra time, and Andy and Sarah joined three others for a final run, by which time we were all getting a little tired !