North of the Trent drainage, flowing to the North Sea
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

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Post by *Guy* »

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Post by geyrfugl »

We were considerably delayed (paddling April 26th, midweek) in the Nature Reserve by a warden (and his dog, who was very insistent with the sticks) who engaged us in a long, but always polite conversation in which he asserted that we should have asked for permission and we (obviously) asserted otherwise. At one stage he did mention the imminent possibility of a micro-power hydro scheme, but this would utilise a part of the low flow, and would, as far as we could understand, not make any difference to the run at the high levels needed to bring it into condition.

His thesis on the permission front was that the area was leased by Durham CC from Raby Estate as a Nature Reserve with free public pedestrian access, but that this access did not include other activities like cycling or canoeing. He believed that running the river could cause bank damage to sensitive flora, and that we should at least contact the administrators of the reserve before paddling for permission to cross from the footpath to the water. Our thesis was that we were pedestrians utilising the right of access provided for pedestrians (who are generally allowed to wander freely and not restricted to the path - this includes kids playing in the river in summer), right up until we got in our boats, at water's edge, at which time we became boaters utilising the right of navigation which applies on any navigable water in England and Wales. Since the put-in is directly from the footpath into the water at a point where the bank is rocky, no flora was there to damage. Owing to the chain under the road bridge, we took out just above the footbridge at a point which is a ford for vehicles, so there was no flora to damage there either. Without the chain, we would have paddled on down to the Tees, and out of the Nature Reserve, where access would be directly to a public footpath.

After about half an hour of this, we were passed by another paddling group heading up, and briefly discussed what they had already paddled (Eggleston Burn) and what we were intending to paddle next (Hudeshope Beck). Unable or unwilling to detain both groups, the chap eventually gave up, told us to enjoy our paddle and let us get back on. The conversation had also wandered over access to the Tees, in which we pointed out that no-one paid for that any more owing to the clarification of the law achieved by the Rev. Caffin's research. His only objection there (if I understood him correctly) was that kayakers getting off to inspect Horseshoe and Low Force are causing bank damage river right above Horseshoe Fall. It's true that upwards of fifty people a day can be seen doing this, but I can't see any change in the status of the bank over the several years that I have been paddling. However, he asserted that Raby Estate had received representations from Nature Conservation activists over potential damage, again to sensitive flora.

It's a bit of a surprise, considering the numbers who paddle the Upper Tees, and, by comparison, the very few who get out on this spate beck, that bank damage might even be considered an issue. For anyone willing to paddle the top fall (10m to a shallow landing...), there would be access from a public footpath upstream, although a bit of a longer walk losing the opportunity to inspect on the way up. As the chap seemed to be employed by Raby Estate (I think - I missed the start of the conversation), it would be worth while trying to find Durham CC's opinion on the matter of access here, which one of our number was intending to attempt to do. Come to think of it, I know someone who works for that part of Durham CC, so I could try to make an informal enquiry, too...


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Post by davedraperdesign »

Paddled this run last night with a mate. Tees was absolutely stonking and this was an excellent fall back! Both of the drops are (dare I say it) more fun than low force on there own... the fact they are about 20 metres after each other is a real bonus. The paddle from Gibsons cave is a good continuous G3, the falls are probably a G4 (especially the second one). We ran the first in the centre boofing left into the eddy, and the second just right of centre. The slab half way down didn't really cause a problem and we both just glanced off it. This is certainly a hidden gem that I hope to get to paddle again!

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Post by Jim Pullen »

Being pedantic, this is technically a guide for "Bow Lee" Beck, which is formed after the confluence of Flushiemere and Wester Becks (name is only visible on 1:25000 OS map, not on the 1:50000).

I've heard rumour that some guys from Durham ran Flushiemere Beck itself in very high water from Watson's Bridge on the small B road going over the hill to Weardale. Anyone know any more details?
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!

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