Session – Jackfield

Good Session today.

In turnout and river level, although weather left a little to be desired.

Gate code will be changing shortly so get your membership renewed. Please note a form is required even is renewing as we require your signature even if details have not changed. Also send an SAE!!!

In other news saw that a BCU Whitewater Rescue course is being held at Bala, this is a boat related course. So think on this do you have the skills to save yourself and also be useful to others? Consider getting some safety training!!

Course Link

Gate Code

Membership confirmations will go out shortly.

But the gate code remains the same and will be changed to the new code on April 1st.

Members will have new code prior to April 1st.

Apologies for delay.

Happy Paddling

River Level

Adventures

With the river chosen (from guides for example) and levels checked there are a few pre-requisites

  1. Anyone in the group had safety training
  2. Safety equipment
  3. Sort shuttles
  4. Scout rapids
  5. Paddle

Now point 1 is not something the paddlers who are longer in the tooth will have necessarily undertook as it may not have been invented when they got their experience at the school of hard knocks.

Safety training is a course such as the BCU Whitewater Safety and Rescue where you learn to use the tools you have to rescue and do safety cover in boating situations – Link

So you don’t need safety training before paddling but something to think about obtaining in time.

Pick rivers within your comfort zone, scout the rapids, set up some rescue and get paddling.

When you are a qualified driver and you find yourself on a journey to a new place do you call your driving instructor to get you there or do you apply skills to what comes your way?

If you wish to push the grades having someone more experienced to offer guidance is a good idea but you really learn by picking lines, discussing the lines down the river and doing them. Doing these lines on rivers within your comfort zone allows you to practise this, following a person down is not the best way to learn self reliance and work out the abilities you have or need working on.

Apply what you have learnt to new situations.

You don’t need permission to paddle, get together and go do it.

River paddling resources

There are many tools nowadays that can mitigate the aimless driving around the countryside looking for water of yesteryear.

There are sites such as the environment agency where their gauges will give you a measurement at a point on the river, now this may not be at the actual rapid and it takes some time to get your eye in aka calibrate, take Jackfield Rapids for example which 0.35mt is a scrape and a low summer level, whereas 0.5mt through to 1.5mt its got features, above 1.5mt and it gets washed out. Now this can change year to year if features move.

Then there are websites which offer you the same data but its interpreted for you such as rainchasers.com and riverlevels.uk, rainchasers.com has paddler data added so can find out what is running that day, riverlevels.uk is just river level and flood information although it does link via google maps to the location of the environment agency gauge so can see the rapid you may wish to paddle and the relevance of the gauge location to your paddling wishes.

Then there is what to paddle, there are online guides such as ukrgb also there are written guides such as The Welsh Rivers and also the output by Pesda Press.

rainchasers.com, riverlevels.co.uk and ukrgb are now in the links on the right hand side of the blog page.

Trees and spate – thoughts

When rivers are in spate several things can happen, just be mindful.

  • Debris and trees come down river, not just other boaters.
  • Bridges can be harder to navigate due to amount of water under arches.
  • As rivers spread onto banks and trees can end up under water, beware of the trees even on seemingly straight and flat sections of river.
  • Eddies you rely on may not be there any more, rapids may be bigger and may not be there.
  • With wide rivers and faster flow, getting across the river can be harder, fatigue can be issue so rest when you can as there maybe less eddies.
  • Rivers that are normally trickles can become runnable in high water, take care there are no fences bisecting the river!

That said:

  • Water and lots of it can be great fun. Be safe whatever you get up to.

 

Tomorrow a post on more resources.

River Levels Info

Came across a river level website which I think brings in info of the environment agency gauges and other data. It will be in side bar on RHS, on the site linked you can search for rivers and locations.

https://www.riverlevels.uk

Note also to avoid confusions I have removed the graphic for the gauge at the Severn at Buildwas as it was a screenshot and not an active representation of current level.

Tails from the river bank.

After the fun albeit wet (for some) trip to HPP last week, one thing to improve and aid others retrieving ones boat maybe consider putting tape tails (NO LOOP) on the ends of your boat. They can be tied or clipped (see Jack or Harrys boats)

These tails are useful on rapids such as HPP as the bank edges are vertical and flow is fast.

Talk amongst yourselves and do a tape bulk buy.

See you on the river.