GUIDE TO THE RIVER MINT
(Patton Bridge to the Kent Confluence)
NAME OF RIVER: Mint.
WHERE IS IT?: Lake District. Flows into the Kent just above Kendal.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in: Patton Bridge GR 557974.
Take out: Bridge next to Morrisons Car park on the A6 just north of Kendal GR 522943.
APPROX LENGTH: 7 km.
TIME NEEDED: 1.5 - 2 hrs.
ACCESS HASSLES: Nick Burton...'We paddled it 26/10/02 and encountered two fishermen, one of which politely told us that we had no right to be there. We apologised and moved on - I assume that the paddling season for this must start on Nov 1st (which is apparently the date for River Kent downstream).
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs recent rain.
There's an online EA Gauge at Mint Bridge. Calibrations are roughly - Low: 0.60m, Medium: 0.75m, High: 0.85m.
GRADING: Grade 3 with one or two grade 4 rapids.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: A couple of weirs may be dangerous in high water.
Nick Burton (Oct 02)...'We paddled it in medium-high water (lots of surrounding fields were flooded after several days rainfall) and found the first vertical weir (4-5ft) was fine to run on far river left with a decent boof. Just right of centre, there is a channel cut in the weir which may seem appealing from upstream - DO NOT go near this. There was a tree/ bar across it about 1ft from the top, at the perfect height to catch a descending paddler!'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: From the put just upstream of Patton Bridge, the water is mostly grade 2 intermingled with larger grade 3's. The first half of the river eases you into the action which lies in the second half. A vertical weir follows a bridge/aquaduct. This can be run in low water, but looks dangerous in higher levels.
Shortly afterwards the river flows alongside a high wall on the right side. This leads to a high bridge, and an awkward rapid "Meal bank" follows. The river splits round a large rock offering two channels. We avoided the narrow right channel, and ran the right hand side. The 1-2m drop has a large stopper on the left side, with definite backloop potential. Further obstructions immediately downstream mean that a speedy roll is essential.
Easier water leads you to an easily shot angled weir just above a bridge. Not long after the bridge, the most complicated rapid is reached. This is an excellent long continuous grade 3/ 4 rapid with a few larger holes. A small weir lurks after this rapid, which is closed by vertical walls and may be nasty in high flow. A minute or so below the weir, you come to the takeout bridge.
OTHER NOTES: The river can be run from several starting points higher up. If you fancy a longer trip you could continue down through Kendal, and down the Lower Kent. In Kendal there are numerous small weirs and waves. Watch out for the Large weir just above Kendal town centre.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Simon Wiles, Whitewater Tourists, also Nick Burton.