Paddling in the North East

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mountain_bikerider
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Paddling in the North East

Post by mountain_bikerider » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:15 am

Hi all

As a club we are looking to come up and paddle in the North East in December and it is an area not previously paddled by most of the group. I was after some river and accomodation suggestions from the good people of UKRGB.

We will be about 20 in total and are all looking to stay together if possible so any suggestions of decent bunkhouses in the area would be appreciated.

On the river there will be two distinct groups one looking for grade 2(3) more of an intro group and one looking for grade 3/4. What rivers shall we head for and what to avoid??? Lastly if the water is really high or really low any ideas for rivers then would be great too.

Thanks

Chris

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Jim Pullen
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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by Jim Pullen » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:35 am

Your best bet would be to head for the Tees. Multiple sections at all grades which go at very low to very high levels. You're also then within easy travelling distance to the Swale, Wear and South Tyne catchments if the water turns up, with the Wharfe, North Tyne or Rawthey/Clough systems not too far away as other options.

If you get stuck with no water, the Barrage course is a back up for Saturdays or Wednesdays and there's a Washburn release on the 14th if that happens to coincide.

Not too sure on accommodation as never had to use it! But I believe there's a good bunkhouse around Middleton-in-Teesdale.

If you get hold of the second edition of English White Water you should find up-to-date comprehensive details of all you need to know for the region's rivers (I gave it a very big update for this version!)
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:38 am

Chris

The Tees is the obvious choice which will go even if the water is a bit low. Middleton to Barnard Castle one trip, Barnard castle to Winston second trip. Both grade 2-3.

High Force to Wynch Bridge is a short run at grade 3-4

We usually stay at the Four Alls in Ovington but this may not be big enough for your group.

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Big Henry
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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by Big Henry » Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:37 pm

Jim Pullen wrote:Not too sure on accommodation as never had to use it! But I believe there's a good bunkhouse around Middleton-in-Teesdale.
Presumably it's this which has been advertised on the North East Kayak Club Facebook page, don't know what it's like (never been there, so you takes your chances!)
Hi Everyone we have a a load of weekends available at our centre between now and March, we have 40 beds and are just a five minute drive to Low force and the Tees. We are offering these winter stays to canoe/kayak groups for just £13 per night for groups of 8 or more. Send me a message or email me to book! http://www.kingswaycentre.co.uk/canoe-groups.html

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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by Jim » Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:57 pm

The Tees in low water is dire, unless you can make a last minute booking based on good levels base yourself around Hexham and the Tyne system, when I lived in Newcastle it seemed like the N Tyne had some kind of release almost every weekend through the winter, nearly guaranteed water.

Plenty of Grade 2-3 on North and South Tynes, for 3-4 you have the Chollerford-Hexham section on the N or some of the upper sections on the S (around Alston). You might get lucky and catch the Allen or perhaps the Irthing at the harder end.

And if there is plenty of water the Tees and Wear aren't too far away as alternatives.

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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by secondtimer » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:51 pm

There's no regular release on the North Tyne as far as I know but you can always check with Northumbrian Water. You can check river levels at http://www.fishpal.com/England/Tyne/Riv ... sp?dom=Pal and, for now at least, on the 2014 Tyne Tour website http://www.tynetour.co.uk/, which also tells you the levels you can run the Tyne rivers at.

I'd say the North Tyne Chollerford to Hexham is mostly 2, and it can be a scrape at low water though it has some playspots; Warden Gorge is the highlight - a section of 3 that can be quite meaty at higher levels. Higher up, Wark to Barrasford to Chollerford are both 2. The Allen (3/4?) needs rain just before or on the day and is a great river with a weir to watch out for. The South Tyne is a small river until its gets to Alston but you can do it from Garrigill with rain (weir warning). Haydon Bridge to Hexham (2) is usually doable in the autumn and winter unless it's unusually dry. Alston to Slaggyford to Haltwhistle is a fast 2 but both sections need a bit more water. Same goes for the Irthing, which I guess is a 3, and it's got a different catchment area from the South Tyne, so might run when they don't. Devil's Water is a little gem of a 3 but needs a lot of rain. Sorry - these are all unhelpfully relative terms. (I'm happy to be corrected on the grades but they seem right to me.) Further away - Coquet, Rede perhaps.

From Hexham you can get to the Upper Wear (needs a lot of water) and even the Greta in the Lakes is only 1.5 - 2 hours away. There's also the Eden (2/3, just over an hour) but decide what you're going to do about the access beforehand.

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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by Jim » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:27 pm

secondtimer wrote:I'd say the North Tyne Chollerford to Hexham is mostly 2, ..... Warden Gorge is the highlight - a section of 3 that can be quite meaty at higher levels.


I agree the whole section is mostly grade 2 but Warden gorge is not really suitable for paddlers looking for 2(3), although a touch easy for paddlers looking for 3(4). I still think it's better low than the Tees (which is superb when high)!

Is there more than one section on the Irthing? I've only ever done it from Crammel Linn to Gilsland and I'm sure it had a nice grade 4 gorge?

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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by Jim Pullen » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:46 pm

Some stuff on future Kielder releases can be found here.

Personally I'd sooner do a low section of the Tees than any level on the (virtually all flat) North Tyne, but horses for courses.

The best bit of the South Tyne is above Garrigill and gets up to 4, but hard to catch with enough water. If you get water add the Tees Greta to your hit list. Mile after mile of grade 3 with an optional final grade 4 bit into the Tees.

There's a lower section on the Irthing, which I guess is what is being refereed to here (I've not done either, but had to review guides!)
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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by secondtimer » Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:44 pm

Warden gorge is not really suitable for paddlers looking for 2(3)
No, I wouldn't argue with that, though with leadership I've seen people get down at low levels when the eddies are clearly defined and the stoppers are small. It is possible to portage the whole thing on river left but it's a bit of a faff.
Is there more than one section on the Irthing? I've only ever done it from Crammel Linn to Gilsland and I'm sure it had a nice grade 4 gorge?
It has got a very pretty gorge. I haven't checked the guide book and I've only done it at levels that seem to me to rate a 3. As I say, I'm happy to be contradicted and I can imagine it woud be difficult in places at high water. Below Gilsland there's an early drop and a couple of twiddly bits; same applies there, I imagine. You can check out the level from the bridge at Gilsland - maybe someone else here can recall what the marker is.

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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by SDG » Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:39 pm

Hi Chris, which club is this?

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Re: Paddling in the North East

Post by mountain_bikerider » Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:46 pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone lots of food for thought. As we are traveling from Marlow area I think we will probably head for the Tees area as its an hour nearer and hope it rains for us!!
SDG we are Marlow Canoe Club.

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