Longest UK grade 2/3 section

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Ash Gardner
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Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Ash Gardner »

Hi Guys,

Looking for recomendations for a long section of moving water in the UK.

Looking to give river tubing a go (with obv safety equipment) and dont want to end up flat creek without a paddle so to speak!

Doesnt need to be all rapids but looking for something with a steady flow.

Derby based.

Cheers,

Ash

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Franky »

The nearest quality white water to Derby is the Holme Pierrepont white water course in Nottingham. That is half a mile of pretty much continuous Grade 3. However, I don't know whether tubing is allowed on it. Also, it's the River Trent: DO NOT drink it! And personally I'd advise wearing a nose clip as well, because a splash of manky water in your nostrils can be enough to make you ill.

I believe that the River Derwent at Matlock is the only really reliable natural moving water in the Midlands, but it's not white water as such. There are a few very short Grade 2 features, but mostly it's just fairly strongly flowing Grade 1+.

If you're new to river running, you might not be aware that the flow of all rivers diminishes drastically during the summer, owing to evaporation and consumption of water by trees. Therefore, the only reliable "natural" white water in summer is on dam-released rivers, and there aren't many of those suitable for water sports. In England there's the Washburn near Harrogate, and in Wales there's the Lower Tryweryn near Bala. The latter is probably the best continuous stretch of Grade 2/3- you'll find, lasting as it does for 4 or 5 miles. It does end in a Grade 4 drop at Bala Mill Falls though, so you'd have to get out before that, or be prepared for a bit of a trashing before you pick up the pieces in the pool below.

Really do make sure you know what you're doing regarding safety. I assume that tubes basically go where the water pushes them and that you have little control over their trajectory, so having somebody on the bank who knows what they're doing would, I think, be strongly advised. Also, water on dam-released rivers is extremely cold, and don't underestimate how much that can sap your energy if you swim.

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Franky »

PS Forgot - a river that also goes in summer, and is not too far from Derby, is the Dee from Horseshoe Falls to Llangollen (it's part-fed from the dam-released Tryweryn, hence often has a bigger-than-natural flow). It's mostly Grade 2, with some Grade 3 features, and one longer Grade 3+ rapid, Serpent's Tail. I suspect you wouldn't want to go down the final rapid (Town Falls, Grade 3+/4) in a tube.

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Jim
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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Jim »

They do tubing commercially at HPP but I don't think it is 1/2 mile long, it just seems that long walking back up.

Some sections of the Wye might work for you, or might be too flat.

My best suggestion would be the Tay from Kenmore to Grandtully (you might not want to do the rapid at the end), but even that is dead low just now, and some normally flowing sections are fairly still.

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by G7AFM »

Llandysul paddlers would be worth a look they do inflatable fun days

https://llandysul-paddlers.org.uk/

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Chris Bolton »

The Royal Dee (Aberdeenshire) might also be a contender. The big problem will be low water levels. The UK doesn't have big volume rivers like continental Europe. I've never tried tubing but I expect it needs deeper water than canoe or kayak, or you'll just scrape on rocks.

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Franky »

Jim wrote:
Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:43 am
They do tubing commercially at HPP but I don't think it is 1/2 mile long, it just seems that long walking back up.
Well, according to its Wikipedia page, it's "approximately 1500 metres long", though looking at the map, it can't be anywhere near that.

The channel looks about 1/2 mile from its departure from the Trent to its re-entry (taking account of the wiggles), though the last couple of hundred metres is flat, so realistically, it's more like 1/3 mile. (It might stretch to 1/2 mile if you include the uphill loop!)

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Jim »

Standard Wikipedia contradiction and misinformation!
Earlier on that same page it says the course is 700m
The Regatta lake is famously 2km long, look at an aerial photo, suggests 700m for the WW course might even be a bit much.
It scales as closer to 600m from Wikimedia's own map :-)

NWSC website also claims 700m, and has a picture of a tube in Muncher...

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by EZ »

Most of the rivers in this country are rain fed so getting a consistent flow without it being high is very much weather dependent and difficult to judge even when raining. The difficulty of these rivers varies drastically depending on the levels.

There have been commercial tubing companies on the Dee north Wales, river derwent in the lakes and up in avimore. So these may be worth looking at. Other than that have a look at grade two/ three rivers on here that are close to you and use the online gauges.

You’ve asked for longest rivers but if it’s the first time you’ve done it than 6-7miles will be plenty. Canoes and kayaks tend to travel around walking speed say 4 miles an hour so Youd be unlikely to go more than 2-3 miles an hour I’d suggest.

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Rae1 »

Continuous 2/3 is going to be difficult.
The Lower Tryweryn would just about qualify, but it does have a few flat sections on it, and I dont know if they allow tubes down there.
There are a few in Scotland that would qualify, but, again, they have some flat sections, and many need some rain beforehand. One we did last year may qualify, Ettrick Water from Ettrickbridge. It would need some water to run well, but has a mini rapid every few hundred metres. There is a mile or so long flat section at the end.
Welsh rivers, apart from the Dee will usually need rain to give a decent run if you want rapids.
The Tay from above Campsie to below Stanley is an all year round option, though only 3 miles, maybe less.

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Jim »

Rae1 wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:35 pm
The Tay from above Campsie to below Stanley is an all year round option, though only 3 miles, maybe less.
There are reasons I excluded this part of the Tay earlier.

Do not tube/swim campsie linn, there are strong undercurrents that have sometimes held entire kayaks under for a worryingly long time and rumours that they have drowned swimmers.

Stanley weir is generally considered relatively safe but bits of re-bar do emerge from time to time and have the be ground back, I would not reccommend anyone swim or tube over it, just in case they found a bit that canoes and kayaks float over.

Lots of people swimming off the beach between Campsie Linn and Stanley weir this afternoon, but none at the Linn or the weir.

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Re: Longest UK grade 2/3 section

Post by Rae1 »

Jim wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:55 pm
Rae1 wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:35 pm
The Tay from above Campsie to below Stanley is an all year round option, though only 3 miles, maybe less.
Do not tube/swim campsie linn, there are strong undercurrents that have sometimes held entire kayaks under for a worryingly long time and rumours that they have drowned swimmers.
I have seen the whirlpools at Campsie, - rather impressive.
I have been told it is at least 30 metres deep there at the drop, which I questioned, until someone else said the same, and that the scuba club go down there in the summer.

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