Monday, October 28, 2013

Cornish Biathlon x 3

A bit of a paddle and a bit of a ride turned into a two day mini biathlon, but in a fun way. 

Biathlon 1. The Lynher. Running off  Bodmin Moor and emptying into Plymouth Sound the Lynher has two sections really. We opted for the inland non tidal section from Kerney Bridge to Notters Bridge. Only 10 mins outside of Plymouth this is a great run for introducing paddlers to moving water with a few little gifts on the way in a very pleasant unspoilt valley with plenty of wildlife and interesting things to see on the way down. 

Kearney Bridge.

 The first bit of interest and a complete surprise. 4 nice 1-2ft weirs that could be huge fun.  In fact, they were fun! These hadn't been mentioned before.

When can I move in?

 The UK Rivers guide did mention a weir, was this it? Very broken up and more like a natural rapid. Class 2 (+?)

 Lots of bridges led to some confusion about where we might be.

 And then the inevitable happened. A portage. Just the one though.

 Boats safely stashed and ready for us to hit the road. It was actually about 10 miles, having looked a map afterwards there's definitely a shorter route which is great because the main road pretty busy.  Hindsight...

 A really nice trip. A bit of a Cornish Gem.

 Ding Ding, Round 2. The Camel. Tuckingmill to Penrose. 

 Ok levels at the put in.

The best bit?

 The shuttle is not that bad by bike, a steep start covered in wet leaves but short then a quick blast back down to the put in. 15 mins at most even if you walk up the hill.

Oi Oi the Fowey!
I can see the attraction here. Mostly flat but moving at a nice pace and then every 5 mins or so small man made weirs produce some really fun waves and features. Nothing sticky just good laughs.

Lots of little waves to catch on the fly.

One of the larger drops. This had quite a chunky wave which would have been great fun in a playboat.

 Who needs BC When ya got DC?  The short walk out to Bodmin train station.Amazing greens in the forest.

Feet out, flat out. A short road ride back to the put in. The riding is fine, undulating road but very busy with some big traffic.

Last 6 photos by Ben Watts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"If you wait for the weather, you'll wait for ever".

So just get in the car and do it. 
Whilst trying desperately hard not to paddle white water for a little while longer the lure of the river is still very strong. A willing paddle buddy was found (Max) and a quick over night paddling trip plan was formed. 
A change of boats (originally the plan was to use the Pyranha Fusion and Wavesport Ethos) was a lucky twist of fate. Turns out that the Torridge from Hele Bridge near Hatherleigh to Bideford is a long way! Around 27 miles apparently.

 After paddling in the dark for about 45 mins we got adjusted to the dark. Every little set of waves sounded much bigger than it was, the super bright moon gave us a hand picking our routes. Seeing some eyes lighting up in the water was exciting, at first thoughts an otter, on closer inspection two pointy little ears told us it was a deer crossing the river! we found a beach and parked up for an overnight bivi. After lots of wind, rain, thunder and lightening, barking foxes, Pheasants, cows mooing, and various other wildlife and weather keeping us from a good nights kip we awoke to this massive wooded valley and heavy cloud.

 Max enjoys a morning surf at day twos put in. (above). We then settled in to miles and miles of wooded valleys and wildlife.  4 Herons, 3 Kingfishers, two Buzzards, Cows, Pheasants, little wagging birds of some sort and Squirrels.

About 8.30am

There are lots of bridges as you get lower down the valley. There's also 3 weirs along the route which kind of all go but we walked around two and ran one. Not that hard but the longer boats were a bit scrapey.

And then its on to the tidal section. We got on the water about an hour later than hoped for which ment we kind of missed the best part of the tide going out. This meant the tidal section was pretty slow and a lot longer than anticipated but full of bird life and still very nice.

Little America, just before Bideford. This can be used as a get in to go to Appledore and the coast.

Bideford steps and the end of our journey.

Shuttle services were kindly provided by my dad Peter, he drove Max back to the car and I had a well earned pint! A very nice touring trip, with good variety, great as a two dayer or two separate trips.  we passed an older couple in canoe who had also spent two days on the water, I think this would actually be the best way to do this trip, more food, beers and comfort!
See the river guide here: