GUIDE TO THE RIVER CAMEL
(Trecarne to Tuckingmill)
NAME OF RIVER: Camel.
WHERE IS IT?: Cornwall, Bodmin Moor. The Camel drains the western edge of Bodmin Moor, flowing from near Camelford down to meet the sea at Wadebridge.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The Camel joins a sizeable stream at the bridge near Trecarne (GR 097805, OS Landranger map 200) where there is limited parking near a ford across the stream. The ford offers a good launching point for the river.
Take out at Tuckingmill bridge (GR 091778) or better still, continue down the following short section.
Kevin Andriessen, summer 2003...'I get out on river right above the bridge, there is a stile onto the road.'
APPROX LENGTH: 2 miles.
TIME NEEDED: One or two hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Kevin Andriessen, summer 2003...'I once met a guy who seemed to be the riparian owner (Jan 94) just below the main rapids before Tuckingmill. We had a friendly chat, I was alone, seemed like he had never seen a canoeist on the river before. I've paddled it 6/7 times mostly mid 90's, never been challenged. To my knowledge it is paddled very infrequently, even the local club ww paddlers never seem to paddle it.'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Rain is needed to bring this section up. The Camel seems to hold an acceptable flow of water for a few days after high water, perhaps because it drains boggy moorland.
You need a minimum of enough water to float under the bridge at the start. High water would be fun, but care would have to be taken regarding low tree branches.
Kevin Andriessen, summer 2003...'Road bridge at Trecarne 097806; 2ft below bridge a good level. 1ft below bridge is bank full.'
GRADING: Grade 3 (3+). The river has continuous technical grade 2 with regular bedrock steps making harder rapids. Not for novices because of trees and wire.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There are a number of barbed wire fences lining the river which could be a problem in very high water. Trees are irritating...there are several across the river on this section, all of which can probably be ducked or paddled over with care.
Kevin Andriessen, summer 2003...'Barbed wire after 400 yds + 600 yds.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A great little trip, grade 3 creeking! There is only room for 3 or 4 paddlers on this narrow river.
Directly below the start, the first of many bedrock ledges forms a small drop. The river has continuous small rapids interspersed by these small drops. Some of them may form backlooping stoppers in high water, and stopping to portage/ inspect could be tricky as eddies are limited. Some of the drops have undercuts to avoid below.
Towards the end, there is one long harder rapid where a series of drops are close together and the river loses noticeable height.
At the takeout bridge a tree had been blown across the river the day before I paddled (October 2002). You can avoid this by taking the far left arch, but be careful as there is a barbed wire fence across the river directly downstream.
The following section is easier but still worthwhile; it is well worth carrying on.
OTHER NOTES: The Camel is probably not worth a trip to Cornwall alone, but it's a great trip to have up your sleeve if the surf doesn't appear and the heavens open.
The Camel is certainly paddleable from Camelford; anybody done it?
Kevin Andriessen, summer 2003...'You asked about the next section up; don't bother! It's got even more fences, is smaller and has little ww. The section described here is easily the best on the river.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Kevin Andriessen www.wildthings-canoes.co.uk.