GUIDE TO THE RIVER WHARFE
(Grassington to Barden Bridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Wharfe.
WHERE IS IT?: Yorkshire, Grassington near Skipton.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in below Linton Falls in the village of Linton (SE168553). Park in car park on no through road next to river (follow signs for Linton Falls). You have to carry to the footpath, round the back of the houses and across the river to put in river left below the falls. Take-out at Barden Bridge(SE052574). Burnsley Bridge is another possible put-in/take-out on river left via footpath.
APPROX LENGTH: 8 miles.
TIME NEEDED: It took our group of 12 about 4 hours, including a coffee stop and a bit of playing.
ACCESS HASSLES: No access agreements but the river is paddled regularly, despite the "no water sports" signs installed by the angling interests. Historically, there was an agreement between Leeds Canoe Club and the fishermen, but this no longer applies.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If some of the grass at the edge of the river at the put in is covered, it should go without trouble. If the river is below this level, it will be a scrape and very hard work.
GRADING: 1 (3)
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS:Appletreewick falls is the only notable rapid; note the tree hazard mentioned below.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a pleasant grade I paddle for most of the way. There are a few stepping stones (marked on the large scale OS map) which might catch an unwary open boater, but are fine for anyone in open or kayak who is half awake. There are two bits that may be worth a mention.
Loop Scar (marked on OS map) is an easy grade 2 at lower levels, with an interesting wave to try to cross. Break out right as you enter the rapid, then catch the long wave that runs across to the big eddy river left. (oops, forgot to tell you about the rock in the middle of the wave!) At high levels, this rapid turns into a roller coaster with a big wave train river right, up against the rock face, and some nice play waves at the bottom. Nothing to scare the hair boaters, but it may rattle beginners at bit.
Appletreewick falls (near the village but not actually marked on the map) is a grade III. A good place to practice leading a group down. Easy to cover, with a big catch pool at the bottom. Do watch out for the tree in the bottom drop (see above). Inspection is easy from the right bank, and you can portage.
Andy Craven adds... 'Appletreewick falls has two sections, upper and lower. The upper is wide with numerous lines, the lower is narrow with less options. Upper section has a common line that is run more or less far right through a stopper called the whirlpool. Mid stopper is a massive tree trunk end-on. The hole can still be run either side in low to medium water but in high water if you scouted it and didn't realise you'd have real problems.'
The Dales Way footpath follows the river most of the way, so portage is easy.
OTHER NOTES: A cracking river for new comers to river trips, or those that want a gentle white water day, open boat or kayak. Next section is Barden Bridge to Bolton Bridge...
Neil Jennison comments: 'Paddled this section New Years eve 2006 in open boats and found no problems. Both Loop Scar and Appletreewick falls are quite manageable in open boats. The water was at a good level. At the get out a worker from Bolton Abbey estate confronted us about access. We talked a while and all left quite happy.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Adrian Pullin, Bob Evans, Gavin Parry, Andy Craven and Neil Jennison.