Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

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MT
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Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by MT »

It was a glorious day and I had arranged a paddle with an old friend and colleague who I had for some time neglected. We had decided on a paddle up the Conwy river, setting off from the Conwy Morfa. We met, shook hands, chatted, caught up and got the boats sorted for what was promising to be a great paddle. Off we set, coasting along on the incoming tide and taking in the familiar, but still breathtaking, views of the conwy valley and the distant Snowdonia. On having reached Trefriw it was time for lunch on the river bank. Then decision time. I have never paddled as far upstream as possible and was keen to make this the day, but only if Dave was up for it. He was, so off we went.
The going got a bit harder, as we were now paddling against the natural flow of the river, but it was that ultimately "rewarding" type of tougher. In the distance I saw the recognisable glint of sun on fishing line and, pointing this out to Dave, moved to the far riverbank out of respect and courtesy for the two anglers who came into view, as did Dave. We passed the pair with shouted pleasantries going backwards and forwards about weather and fishing, and continued our journey. A short time later, another angler, so we again altered course and exchanged greetings. We were now having to paddle quite hard at times, but were also laughing and chuckling as we hit faster flowing water and were sent sideways across the river.
In the distance, another angler, this time walking along the river bank with his gear and his Spaniel at his side. Ready again to exchange pleasantries, I was gobsmacked to hear him suddenley screaming at the top of his voice, "You've passed four F___ing signs that say no F___ing paddling, F__k off". This was an apparentley well to do man in his late 60's. There was no build up to this, no calm exchange of opinions, just a full blown attack on two peaceful paddlers. I had heard of such confrontations before, but had always assumed a bit of poetic licence as to the levels of hostility. Now I was seeing it first hand. Whilst this clearly derranged man was shouting and swearing in uncontrolable rage, I was left wondering what to do. Did we let this silly little man spoil our day out? Where did we stand legally? I know that, historically, the river had been navigable as far as Llanrwst, so should we not then have those same rights of passage. I continued upstream, ignoring the angler as best I could, as did Dave. At this point, he threw his fishing gear to the four points of the compass, and began divesting himself of his jacket before storming down to the waters edge. I actually thought he was going to wade into the water in an attempt to attack us. Two youngish, quite large and quite fit paddlers being attacked by an old man? This was becoming farcical to the extent of laughter before he started picking up quite large stones and hurling them at us. By now he was screaming at us that we were polluting the river and destroying the environment, this said by a man throwing anything heavy close at hand at us in the river, and intent on pulling defenceless fish from the river and clubbing them with a big lump of metal.
We conceded that there was only one way this would end, ......badly! In light of that, we truned around and started paddling downstream in silence, eack mulling over in our own minds what had just happened. What the incident has left me with is utter astonishment at the arrogance of an old man, and how ignorant like minded anglers are, with warped ideas of pollution and environmental damage. That these people think they actually own the water flowing down the rivers of this country. We all have the right to enjoy our natural heritage, and certainly the majority of the anglers we passed that day had no trouble whatsoever with our presence.
I have spoken to the Welsh office of the BCU and, if I have understood them correctley, it is a grey area as to this part of the Conwy river. Ultimateley, it needs for the matter to be tested at court. As there is an historical right of passage along the river, the result would more than likely be favorable, but probably prohibitive cost wise.
Maybe a mass paddle of the river should be arranged to make a point as part of a peaceful demonstration.

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?&id=521676
Last edited by MT on Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.

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shanclan
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by shanclan »

Sad. It only takes one to ruin the whole river for everybody. You should report this to the police

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RichA
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by RichA »

I am sorry that you had to experience that event to believe it, and more so that you felt you should turn around and head back. All I can say is that, as you've seen for yourself, not all fishermen are like that. There are certainly days where you can have troublefree enjoyment on the rivers.

Can you identify roughly where this occurred? In another thread on the Inland section of this website a member called Fishguard has stated that events of this nature will not be tolerated in the Betws angling club. I believe he is a committee member of that angling club. If this was in the area that the Betws angling club fishes then he might be interested in this and may even be able to help you do something about it.

Hopefully it hasn't put you off exploring inland rivers alltogether!

johnb
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by johnb »

Carry a camera and starting video recording....

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mole
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by mole »

No this cannot possibly be true, Fishguard promised that anglers had no problem with us using the rivers, especially the Conwy, except in spawning season. He couldn't possibly have been lying, surely not.

Unfortunately incedents like this are only too common, throwing rocks is going further than normal though and should certainly be reported to the police if only to get the crime on record. Its sad that these bullying, arrogant, idiots behave like this. Shows how scared they are that they are going to have to share the rivers with us by law. The frustrating thing is how the majority of anglers are happy and friendly and a minority spoil everthing.

Neill
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mcneilljamie
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by mcneilljamie »

Your more tolerant than me. Had I have been there I would have paddled over and probably taken it it to fistycuffs. Would have let him have the first blow though. Looks better for the camera...

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ChrisS
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by ChrisS »

So the old man committed at least two serious criminal offences with the effing and blinding and the stone throwing. Whereas you had committed no criminal offence whatsoever. Report it to the police.

mcneilljamie
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by mcneilljamie »

Sorry just to clarify... I am in no way suggesting that violence is a means to resolving river access issues... Just you wonder how far these chaps will go sometimes and to be honest if he is throwing rocks he would probably go further.

MT
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by MT »

To all interested, the initial Wikilkoc link I posted was incorrect, I have now ammended that. The route clearly shows where we turned about and so where the incident occurred. If it is in the area of the fishing club mentioned, it would be interesting to note their response.
I appreciate how people feel about meeting force with force, and I am not normally so tollerant. Thankfully, on this day, I happened to be paddling with a sensible person. At the end of the day, it would do our cause no good if the papers run headlines to the effect of 40yr old kayakers giving an old man a thick lip, deserved or not.
Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.

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RichA
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by RichA »

It seems to be outside the Betws anglers' waters. At least it is when looking at their website and your map. Fishguard may still be able to help or offer advice anyway.

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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by MikeB »

How sad. Perhaps you got it in one? Perhaps the chap does indeed have "issues" to deal with in his life. Mike.

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Mark R
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by Mark R »

MT wrote:Maybe a mass paddle of the river should be arranged to make a point as part of a peaceful demonstration.
No, no, no. Simply call the police - and make sure that they pursue the matter fully.

If everyone who was harassed or threatened did this and did it properly, we'd be paddling in a very different climate.
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Chris Bolton
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by Chris Bolton »

A sad tale, and no excuse for his behaviour. Looking at the OS map, it shows the tidal limit to be just above the last bend you paddled, ie, about 300m downstream. So for all but the last 300m, you were on tidal water, where the right of access is undisputed (unless there are local harbour regulations etc, which I think require an Act of Parliament).

Your furthest upstream point falls into the grey area where Magna Carta says you have a right of access but subsequent law has been interpreted different ways - hence the need for new law to clarify it. But only just into the grey area - I think it would be one of the areas where Douglas Caffyn's work shows there's a good chance there is a right of way.

Chris

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ChrisS
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by ChrisS »

On springs the tide reaches as far as Llanrwst so you certainly had every right to go that far.

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Mike Marshall
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by Mike Marshall »

Chris Bolton wrote:A sad tale, and no excuse for his behaviour. Looking at the OS map, it shows the tidal limit to be just above the last bend you paddled, ie, about 300m downstream. So for all but the last 300m, you were on tidal water, where the right of access is undisputed (unless there are local harbour regulations etc, which I think require an Act of Parliament).

Your furthest upstream point falls into the grey area where Magna Carta says you have a right of access but subsequent law has been interpreted different ways - hence the need for new law to clarify it. But only just into the grey area - I think it would be one of the areas where Douglas Caffyn's work shows there's a good chance there is a right of way.

Chris
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Gareth Plas
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by Gareth Plas »

I have done this paddle many times with Mike Marshall and my brother Dave, who was one of the parties involved in this incident.

The "F#####g" signs that this angler refers to are placed well within the tidal limit, so are meaningless anyway.

I suspect the area is fished by the Llanrwst club, not Betws, but it seems the guy is a member rather than a day permit holder.

Perhaps he may want to identify himself and apologise for his disgusting behaviour. I hope his fishing skills are better than his social skills.

Throwing rocks at kayakers, mmmm, my action would be a bit more immediate using powers to arrest as a citizen, ie, arrestable offence committed (damage) and person found committing. If reasonable force was required then so be it.

The police would have to react then. I am not sure how interested they would be otherwise as a retrospective report.

The issue also brings me to the BCU/WCA . What are they actually doing in this issue???

Lots of talk, not much else. I contacted them a couple of years ago after being politely ejected off Brennig. The guy who came out to us was very apologetic, but the fishermen must have complained. It wasn't just that though, a local private school in Denbigh has the watersports rights to Brennig, which includes sailing and canoeing.

The WCA member I dealt with said that they could do nothing about the situation............... and so it remains.

I'll be back on the Conwy soon, in a caring and responsible way for the environment, flora and fauna, with respect for the fishermen who share the river and teat me with respect if they are not too happy with me being there.

MT go to the Canoe Cymru site, there is an incident report form there, fill it in on line, they may pass this on to Llanrwst FC.

G

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ChrisS
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by ChrisS »

I am not sure how interested they [the police] would be otherwise as a retrospective report.
A retrospective report would probably not lead to an arrest in this case, but it would be worth making for intelligence purposes - if the police receive several similar complaints of verbal or physical assaults on the same stretch, they are more likely to react when someone calls them at the the time. It helps to establish a pattern of criminal behaviour.

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Gareth Plas
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by Gareth Plas »

I agree with your comments there Chris.

Just making sure that the PC who deals with it submits an intelligence report. It is an aspect of policing that is overlooked, despite being a PI occasionally


G

fishguard
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by fishguard »

Hi Paddlers - I totally agree, rare incidents like this should not be tolerated by anybody, I can only advise that it should have been reported to the Police ASAP, if nothing can be done on this instance at least it is on record for future reference, I shouldnt think his identity would be to hard to find out, Spaniel dog etc. I am pretty sure this incident would have been on Llanrwst AC waters.

I can only assure you that this sort of approach does not occur on the waters we look after.

Regards FG

tommfuller
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by tommfuller »

I think I'd have landed and walked back along for a chat. Calling the police is probably a better idea though, especially if the guy looked like he might become violent.

Cheers,

Tom.

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jcox
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by jcox »

Interestingly enough, lets say you were trespassing in the man's own garden, that wouldn't entitle him to throw rocks at you or assault you.

When you trespass, the land owner or their representative is entitled to ask you to leave, and to use reasonable force if you won't. But throwing rocks is assault and threatening behaviour is threatening behaviour. In the city I'd call the police, and out in the country I'd probably just threaten to.

OTOH, I'd put this down to the rantings of a sad old man and walk away. Which of you had a good day out, and how good is that view from the moral high ground?
Well the forecast said it would be good.

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geyrfugl
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by geyrfugl »

Whilst performing a citizen's arrest is a wonderful idea in principle, you still need to get yourself and the kayak down the river, back to your vehicle and then to a police station. Were you carrying a towline ? How cold was it ? The practicalities of towing a man and his dog (which was presumably innocent but could hardly be abandoned) several miles downriver really do mean that the guy could be fairly confident that you wouldn't take this approach, but perhaps it should be pointed out to the Llanrwst club that this would be no more unreasonable an action to take than throwing rocks ...

Andy

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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by MikeB »

Handcuff knot using the tow line. Mobile phone to the Police advising of the assault and subsequent arrest and I expect they'd be there in mins. If not, just suggest that you are concerned the person has a weapon - which he almost certainly will have, most likely some form of blade, and that'll galvanise them into action.

Mike

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jcox
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Re: Conwy river access. Anglers-V-Kayakers

Post by jcox »

I have heard through my favourite urban legend site that you can get a speedy response by reporting that the man has a knife.

Of course, then North Wales' finest turn up and ask "where's the horrible knife you reported, sir, we found no trace of one on the gentleman," you respond "horrible knife officer? I told the operator he had a horrible wife."
Well the forecast said it would be good.

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