GUIDE TO THE RIVER OUSE
NAME OF RIVER: Ouse.
WHERE IS IT?: Linton Weir is on the Ouse at, you've guessed it..... Linton on Ouse.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Find Linton on Ouse, about 4 miles North of the York Outer ring road. Access is by A19 from York and follow Linton on Ouse RAF signs. Just before the Airfield (Going North) on the East bank. Park by the lock grid ref.:SE500600 and paddle the fish pass on the West side.
Or for the opposite side: Drive up the A59. 7 miles out of York you will cross the River Nidd. 1/4 of a mile further along look out for a petrol station. Turn right here and carry on for about 2 miles. Lorries use this road and have helpfully left tracks on the road where you want to turn left. If you come to a village you have gone too far. Follow the dirt track straight ahead (don't follow the surfaced road as it bends sharply right). At the T-junction turn right. Take the next left, through the bushes, towards some pre-fabricated houses 1/4 of a mile away. Stop at the prefabs, pay the man who comes out to greet you, then drive past and park. Follow the noise but don't climb over the fence, use the gate at the opposite end of the field.
John Parminter adds...'As an Open Canoeist and resident of Linton on Ouse, I use Linton Lock Campsite regularly as an access/ egress point for trips up and down the Ouse/ Ure. Although the river/ navigation are now (as rightly pointed out) controlled by British Waterways, the Campsite, Lockhouse Restaurant Bar and associated Car Park are privately run. The proprietor, who is generally amenable to canoeists, levies a small fee to use his land as access and does appreciate being asked before people use his car park and facilities. This is only common courtesy. He will also point out the best place for getting on and off the water without interfering with the other activities going on there.'
Richard Whittaker (July 2006)...'Find Linton on Ouse, about 4 miles North of the York Outer ring road. Access is by A19 from York and follow Linton on Ouse RAF signs. Just as you get into the village is a signpost for Linton Lock.
Follow this and park in the car park. You are on the East bank, the fish pass is visible on the West side of the river.
Or for the opposite side: Drive up the A59. 7 miles out of York you will cross the River Nidd. 1/4 of a mile further along look out for a petrol station. Turn right here (signposted Nun Monkton only) and carry on for about 2 miles. Lorries use this road and have helpfully left tracks on the road where you want to turn left. If you come to Nun Monkton village you have gone too far. Follow the signs for the Marina along the dirt track straight ahead (don't follow the surfaced road as it bends sharply right).
At the T-junction turn right. Take the next left, through the bushes, towards some pre-fabricated houses 1/4 of a mile away. Stop at the prefabs, pay the man who comes out to greet you, then drive past and park. Follow the noise but don't climb over the fence, use the gate at the opposite end of the field.'
APPROX LENGTH: Park and play.
TIME NEEDED: Ten seconds to run it or plenty of playtime.
ACCESS HASSLES: The whole lot is in now the ownership of British Waterways so a licence is needed an the guy at the lock cottage can be stroppy. But if you are a BCU member with a membership card just wave it at him and tell him to get lost.
Max Coney (Feb 2008) I also strongly disagree with waving your BCU membership. Like YCC we at York University Canoe Club (YUCC) find Bill who lives there extremely helpful and accommodating to us. During the summer we go there every Friday night for white water skills and a BBQ. Its only 50p per car/kayak as stated. We always ring him to check its ok to come down and use it and is always happy to see us and join in for some food. I feel very angry at anyone who thinks its ok to flash a BCU membership card to wave someone off. Its people like that who give kayakers a bad name and hinder the access situations for us all. I would recommend if thats your attitude stay away.
Richard Whittaker (July 2006)...'26/7/06 I asked if kayaks could launch from Linton Lock (east bank) at the lock restaurant and was told by the proprietor that it would be OK to launch as long as I was paddling down-river - NOT if I wanted to play on the fish pass. If I wanted to play on the fish pass I would have to travel round to Nun Monkton (west bank) to launch.'
Christian Bouet, YCC (Dec 2005)...'Just wanted to add that we (York Canoe Club) use it a lot in the summer and I strongly oppose to the comment about "waving your BCU membership card and tell him to get lost". We use it all summer through for introduction to WW trips and would like to keep it kayak friendly. Plus, I only think the weir is British Waterways, the land you drive through and park on is the property of the local estate - the guy is not taking the money for himself, he's hired to do it.'
Jay Sigbrandt adds...(July '01) 'We went there countless times last summer and I don't recognise any of that. However, we access as described from the opposite bank. There is always a bloke who comes to meet us (lock keeper?) and requests a small charge for parking. Access costs 50p per car and 50p per kayak. He is very friendly but I'm sure he could get stroppy if you kick up a fuss about paying the pound to park and play.'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: See British Canoeing funded live webcamera: https://video.nest.com/live/3jXMLtff89
Christian Bouet, YCC (Dec 2005)...'When this thing is in spate you seriously need to stay clear. I've seen 20+ meter towbacks! When the rivers gets to this level the area below it turns into a small lake where the sides reverse the current back up to the weir. Even here it can be nasty as we needed two boats in line to drag a swimmer out (of the side current, not even the main current).'
Max Coney (YUCC)The fish ladder can be paddled at all levels (depending on ability). In low water we swim down it to give our freshers a chance to have some 'down-time' practice. Also a fun thing to do is swim behind the wier on the right and have a safety talk about the dangers of wiers. But I would suggest this only be undertaken with a certain Frenchman by the name of Laurent Vales.
The weir itself has been paddled; down the middle in low water (slightly mental Leeds Uni folk in large creek boats finding an area without concrete). Or run it river right with a hefty boof into the eddie by the wall (opposite side to the fish ladder) also considered slightly mental.
GRADING: It's a weir. Grade 3.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Its a weir so respect it. The ladder in most levels I have found to be safe and its easy to set up lines etc along the bank in case of swimmers.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is an excellent place to spend an evening after work or half a warm summers day. It consists of a 15 metre long fish ladder and a 3 metre high weir. At summer levels the fish ladder is safe to paddle down. There have been reports of swimmers cutting themselves, so best not to swim down. There is a narrow side-shoot at the bottom which can provide plenty of amusement. It may be an idea to have some safety cover as I've seen boats pin here. When the Ouse is high the fish-ladder washes out and the weir becomes a nasty yacht munching stopper. Go elsewhere. When the King's Arms in York is flooded, Linton Lock becomes unrecognisable. The fish-ladder is gone and even the weir is completely submerged. A lovely play-wave takes its place. It looks awesome but, unfortunately, there is no eddy service. At certain water levels the weir has been shot. However, the landing is either shallow and full of nasty rocks or has extremely nasty towback depending on the level of the Ouse. You won't need a guidebook if you really must do such a thing. The weir has a passage below it and at low levels, from river left, I'm told that it's the done thing to crawl down behind the falling water.
Max Coney...'Awesome place to teach novices and run the ladder. Also good to teach safe swimming skills to novices. The more brave can try and find the line on the weir, but not recommended as failure will result in a damaged spin and continuous recirculation. When the Ouse floods if you catch it at the right time an awesome river wide wave is produced for the playboaters out there.'
OTHER NOTES: Anyone have more info on the rest of the Ouse?
Mark Pooleman (Dec 2005)...'I have swum down the fishladder many times and not cut myself, I cannot guarantee you won't but it's good fun. ALWAYS HAVE SAFETY THOUGH, some of the small drops can be quite grabby. Also the weir is great fun to walk behind, it gets very slippy so be careful but its worth it!'
Christian Bouet, YCC (Dec 2005)...'If you really want to do the big drop, I have seen it done extreme river left. The landing needs to be perfect as it's really shallow. Oh, and don't try it if it's low water level, though I doubt I need to point that out. The fish ladder is made of nice, rough concrete and can tear a hole in any wetsuit bum if you bump down it. Gloves can be nice to wear to avoid the scrapes. Other than that it's a really nice safe place for intro to WW running. Safety cover is very easy from the concrete walls. For the playboaters a mini surf wave appears at the top of the fish ladder run.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Chris Hawkesworth and Jay Sigbrandt...their descriptions are mixed together. Also, John Parminter, Mark Pooleman, Christian Bouet (YCC) and Max Coney (YUCC).