(West Tanfield to Ouse)


WHERE IS IT?: North Yorkshire, flowing from the Pennines through Wenselydale into the Vale of York. Map 99 105.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: West Tanfield (Multimap), or start higher up. The regional CE lot seem to have decided to buy a chunk of land at Ripon for hassle-free access.

For a multiday, continue down the Ouse and take out at Clifton in York City. Several other places along the way.

APPROX LENGTH: Up to 50km if going as far as York.

TIME NEEDED: Several days for the full stretch.

ACCESS HASSLES: The Access agreement covers Slenningford mill only. Paddled it during the week with no problems from anglers.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This is a spate river but possible to paddle in low water conditions.

GRADING: Mostly grade I/II above Ripon, then flat.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There are some weirs on this river. All are easily avoided by portage if needed. There is a weir between Ripon Boroughbridge which is quite fun in an open canoe but safe. Check first it was twenty years ago when I did it!

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Below West Tanfield the river is increasingly hemmed in by steeper banks and flatter countryside. This is compensated for by being able to paddle into Ripon using the canal and passing some lovely estates parklands.

There are a number of caravan sites which may take a tent and at least one campsite, but its probably easier to pick a quite spot to camp. Its not too difficult. There are several villages and towns close to the river for essential supplies and a stretch of the legs.

OTHER NOTES: Like many Pennine rivers the river can rise a number of feet in less than one hour as I found out, nearly to my cost, watching other canoeists at Slenningford Mill in the summer of 1982. Clear skies and a rain storm in the Pennines sent a lot of water down and I only just avoided loosing my canoe and some camping gear left on the gravel where I had pulled my canoe out to watch the fun.

Very similar to the Swale. For me the Swale has the slight edge at the start because it has a slightly wilder feel about it.

A quiet paddle but RAF training aircraft can cause some noise pollution Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm.

An excellent multi-day trip for an open canoeist. The first time I did it I dumped at Hack Falls. An inexperienced canoeist at the time my gear got wet and it was autumn. Luckily we managed to light a fire in the woods and dried most of our gear out. I discovered sandals are not much use at keeping feet warm nor do they keep nettles off your toes.