Kayak on the River Fowey advice

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Kayak on the River Fowey advice

Post by cambsno »

Hi all - Came across this site and thought it may be a useful place to get some advice on Kayaking on the Fowey river.

I got a first kayak around 4 years ago, just a cheap Intex Explorer and paddled around the River Ouse in Cambs and on the Cam in Cambridge. Since then I got a better 1 seater Decathlon kayak. We go to Fowey in July and our place backs on to the car park where the ferry goes from, with a slipway there, so thinking of taking the kayak.

Was thinking of taking it up to Lerryn/Lostwithiel, and looking at tide times, high tends to be around 9am with low tide around 3am and 3pm, so maybe setting off around 7/8am and being back for 1pm/2pm? Does it matter about high/low tides as I ams sure the river will not suddenly dry up (apologies in advance, newbie to all this tidal stuff).

Obviously there are a few bigger boats to watch out for by the clay(?) works, but any issues for this sort of trip?

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Re: Kayak on the River Fowey advice

Post by Sean_soup »

I can't tell you anything about Fowey specifically. Somebody might be along with some local knowledge for you in a bit.

But - in the meantime, some general info:

High water isn't roughly the same time every day!
(Because the tides are mostly influenced by the Moon, and we measure the time of day by the position of the Sun.)

If it's high water in any given place around the UK at 9am tomorrow, it'll be about 9.48am the day after. Another 48 minutes later the day after that.

There's also a cycle of tides getting bigger (Spring tides) and smaller again (Neap tides) twice every lunar month. So it takes about a week to go from Springs to Neaps and vice-versa. On average the range from low to high water of a spring tide will be about twice what it is for a neap tide, and currents in the water caused by the tides will generally run about twice as fast on springs as they do on neaps.

Estuaries and tidal rivers will generally have a flow running inland with the rising tide and back out to sea again with the falling tide - but as you go further inland the tidal part of the flow decreases and the steady flow of water heading towards the sea (mostly influenced by how much rain there's been) comes to dominate. On some rivers the tidal flow can be very strong indeed, and will run significantly faster than you can paddle. This can create the sort of hazards you get on white water, so as well as knowing what to expect and planning accordingly you may need some fairly white water skills - finding an eddy, crossing an eddy line etc.

Actually bits of the coast, estuaries and tidal stretches of river do dry up. Some twice daily, some only on low spring tides when the water is particularly low. There might always be some water to paddle on somewhere, but there are places that trying to get out of your boat and back onto land might involve a miserable wade through sticky mud at low water, which can be stinky and even quite dangerous and is definitely best avoided.

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