Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

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Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by dougdew99 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:35 pm

My main reason for campaigning on the access issue is that I want to see families and young people enjoying our rivers with all the benefits of adventure, exercise, and nature. Every kid that is in a canoe, and not in front of a screen, is a thing to be encouraged and celebrated.

Many people mount the argument that if we just paddle on these rivers, the issue will go away and there is no need to try to get the law changed or ratified or conduct any kind of campaign. This is a powerful argument.

I want to know if all you good people who give up your time to work with young people, stay away from rivers where anglers and others tell you can't paddle? Or do you take your groups to contested rivers, on the basis you believe have a legal right to do so, and you will put up with any heckling or threats you might receive?

And those of you with families... What do you do? Take the wife (or husband) and the kids on any river you choose, or stick to the rivers where you know there will be no aggression?

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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by garya » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:01 pm

I take kids and groups on any river provided the level and conditions are right and we are not causing undue disturbance to the enviroment, nesting birds ect...

The more we paddle and the more we are seen in the contryside behaving responsabily and sharing with others the more the sight of a kayker on the river will be as common and acepted as a rambler or horse riders. Part of the everyday scene.

I explain that there are many different views on access and some may disagree with what we are doing. if we get challenged we quietly shepperd the group away from and confrontation. kids are smart and know whats going on and it is worthwile showing them how to behave correctly and deal with diffcult situations without escalating them.

Many kids are more likly to experiance a confrontion on a DofE walk if they go off course crossing fields than paddling down rivers

Most of the few confrontations I have had have been on navigations and canals rather than wild rivers. So it makes no differance who owns what or where you are....unfortunatly there are just difficult and agry people out there and you need to learn how to stay clam and deal with them in any walk of life.. its a good skill to learn.

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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by ChrisE » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:05 pm

I think uni groups in general just pick the river they want and paddle it...

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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by Andy H » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:30 pm

I love running on any river with groups and have never had any trouble. This is due to the fact that i put on/off at public places. keep numbers low, discreet with changing and parking, only run on a descent level and try not to get off on private land.

My local river the Derwent dosnt have a acccess agreement but because lots of boaters, clubs and even outddor centres have and use it all the time its because accepted.

So you are right if we are seen on the rivers more it will eventullay become accepted and we wont have to fight for access.

Example many years ago part of the Peak District was private land. This called uproar with local communitys and walkers. So a mass trespass was conducted which lead onto the right of way law.

Maybe we (all boaters) should do the same with the restricted rivers.

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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by Vulch » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:57 pm


All rivers are restricted.

Just to different extents.

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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by Rhod » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:00 pm

I am wary of taking my school kayak club on rivers where the landowners are not on side (so as of yet have not), so far I have only taken them to Cardiff and symonds yat (I live in Dorset).

I know that the local canoe club do not paddle outside of percieved access agreements either.

This is the reason I feel passionate about access.

With my friends I paddle what I want, when I want. Despite being very active I almost never encounter confrontation. Despite this, I am not happy to risk my kids being shouted at for doing something so harmless. Beginners are louder and less organised. I have been out with club groups where confrontation has happend. It's not ok.

My experience of town clubs (in genral, not in every case) is groups of friends paddle unrestricted. Official club trips are hugely limited by access.
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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by MattC » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:31 pm

I agree with Rhodri.

I run a school canoe club in Exeter and won't be going to the Dart with the kids until access 'officially' opens. In addition to the reasons that Rhodri pointed out, turning up with a minibus emblazoned with the school's name on is probably not the wisest thing possible from a professional perspective.

Personally, I'll paddle year round with decent water levels.


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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by TomOL » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:40 pm

ChrisE wrote:I think uni groups in general just pick the river they want and paddle it...
To a point, that has been my experiences. Exceptions exist though, like the Conwy where there is a history of hassle and a reputation for getting your tires slashed...

I also agree with Matt C (I think I may have been part of that club a few years ago). Turning up to a river with a history of access issues like the Dart in a marked vehicle is just asking for trouble... but personally, I'll paddle anywhere with reasonable water levels so long as I can get to the river without causing too much trouble.

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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by Scots_Charles_River » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:19 pm

I take my school group wherever I want, except Linlithgow Loch, to paddle as we have the right to responsible access.

Very different up here, although we may not have the mass numbers as down south ?

#Linlithgow Loch is exempt as it's a Queens park, although access through an Outdoor Centre there can be arranged.

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Re: Do clubs and youth groups paddle on 'restricted' rivers?

Post by James G » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:39 pm

I would always stick to agreements or areas with no issues with a school group as a headteacher getting phonecalls from irate members of the public, whether well founded or not, could seriously curtail future activities.

James G

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