GUIDE TO THE RIVER URE
NAME OF RIVER: River Ure.
WHERE IS IT?: Wensleydale in N. Yorkshire. Aysgarth Falls is a well signposted tourist attraction.
Park in the visitor centre car park, river left (SE 011 887). From here carry your boat upstream on the river left footpath, passing through the gate adjacent to the road bridge, to the inside bend in the river (SE 009 884) just upstream of the first fall. The run ends at the base of the third fall (SE 018 888). From here the shortest way back to the visitor centre is to carry your boat up river right and cross the river above the third fall. Once on river left follow the footpath back uphill to the car park. Alternatively continue downstream on the section below and take out at Wensley Bridge.
APPROX LENGTH: 1km
TIME NEEDED: Unknown.
ACCESS HASSLES: No access problems as far as I know.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: A day of heavy rain in the area is usually enough to bring this into condition.There are several online EA gauges for the Ure, the most useful for this section being Bainbridge. Does anyone have any calibrations for this?
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Yes...Aysgarth Falls.
England’s biggest rapids? A sunny day in the Yorkshire Dales will bring hundreds of tourists to the banks of the Ure where it spectacularly drops over three ledges in a short section of the river. However, it is after heavy rainfall that this section draws kayakers looking for a challenge.
The first fall, High Force, is the longest of the three and requires some good route finding through its many obstacles. Inspection from river left is difficult so it is probably best to look at this from river right. It is possible to paddle over above the fall and walk downstream river right, but be careful as the water intake channel for the old mill starts here. It is probably easiest to walk up the road river right, a small gap in the wall indicates the place to look.
Drifting downstream past the old cotton mill soon brings you to the river wide horizon line of Middle Force. Here the river drops approximately 15ft and there are two lines, right or left, both can be inspected from river left. The river left line is a straightforward drop with a clean lip. The river right line lands on a rock shelf so be wary in lower water levels. In higher flows the lead in shoots you off the lip with plenty of speed and the landing is surprisingly soft guaranteeing a smile on your face!
Following a few nice surf waves, the third and final fall soon appears. The section finishes with a bang with the entire river channelled over a multi-tied fall, the biggest rapid of the section with a large hole at the bottom waiting to catch those who celebrate too early!
The mellower section below is worth continuing down.
There's a few other big falls in Wensleydale for those who's adrenalin levels are still up. West Burton falls on Walden Beck have been run, as has Aysgill Force on Gayle Beck - anyone fancy writing guides for them?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Bill Anderson