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Thread: Three hours, Three Rivers

  1. #1
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    Default Three hours, Three Rivers

    I blame Ed Bassett. Really I do. If he hadn't made The Beult sound quite so tempting in his blogg http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ead.php?t=1123, then I might have gone elsewhere. Anyhow, Saturday was quite a nice day, but I was busy, and so had Sunday set aside for paddling. Hadn't been out for a couple of weeks and really needed to get out. However the weather was most unpromising. Drizzly rain and a strong breeze put a bit of a damper on things, but I was determined not to be put off.

    So headed off to Yalding with no clear plan in mind. Launched into the weir pool amidst a veritable frenzy of fisherman. They seemed to be fishing everywhere today. Over the weir, over the bridge, under the bridge, off the banks, in the water. There was little water coming through the sluice today, so the water was pretty shallow under the bridge, making it race a little. Always need to line up carefully here, as with so little water, steering is tricky. Headed through and past a few kayakers playing in some slalom poles and off down The Medway.

    The first thing I noticed was the wind - very strong today, about 20 knots blowing straight downstream. The second thing I noticed was that the stern kept wanting to overtake the bow. Hmm, time to trim the boat, one of the few times I've had to actually worry about it I must say. My pack was in the bow, and moving a large pack from one end of the Bell to the other in a strong wind is not necessarily a smart idea, so I nudged into the bank for a moment. Pack firmly settled in the stern I set off again, in much more control. However it was clear that the wind intended to take much of the fun out of the day.

    So as I passed another rash of anglers near the Little Venice Marine Park I spotted the mouth of The Beult, its water calm and beckoning. Not particularly wanting to fight the wind all day I headed in to see just what Ed was talking about.

    From the first few yards I was hooked. It is a very narrow stream with steep banks. All water lillies, irises and purple loosestrife, its winding course luring you onward.





    It was interesting to note that though the river is notionally private, there is very little sign of anyone to object. You pass a few gardens, with the odd sign asking you not to moor or fish. Pretty reasonable under the circumstances, but clearly they are expecting some river traffic. One house had a couple of boats moored at the end of their garden, so they must use the river. Maybe we all get a bit too obsessed about the private thing. Sure if it was a course fishing club/competition then you might have a problem, but here there was little sign of organised fishing.

    Passed under the beautiful medieval bridge at Yalding (actually much closer to Yalding than the bit of The Medway we all refer to as Yalding).



    A little further on I saw a nice little gravel beach whch would do nicely for lunch on the return. Passed a couple of anglers who were most friendly, certainly not objecting to my presence at all. Then into a very shallow section as Ed mentioned, requiring an exit from the boat to drag it through. The water deepend again as the rushes closed in making the river scarcely wide enough for a boat in places.



    Finally reached the bridge at Mill Lane and a very pretty weir. Quite rocky in the water below it, so difficult to get too close. Could probably drag the boat up it if you were determined, but the water is farily deep in between the rocks, so you'd get pretty wet I reckon. Enticing though!



    Reluctantly turned about and headed back down the narrow stream to my selected lunch spot.





    Passed back under the bridge and it was just as beautiful as on the way up.



    Then rather reluctantly back into The Medway once again. Had deliberately stowed my pack in the bow after lunch to aid the trim as i headed back up river, and this proved a smart move. The wind was very stiff and consistent now, and it was a moderately hard paddle back up to Yalding Weir pool. Fought my way under the bridge once more with a lot of paddle thrashing in the shallow water and sat in the weir pool for a few moments deciding what to do next. It was still only early afternoon, and I wasn't ready to go home yet. I fancied a bit of a play in the sluice outflow, but the sluices were very disobliging today, and the pool was very calm. Too many spectators as well!

    But there was The Teise emptying out into the weir pool. I've walked over it many times and wondered how far you could get up it. Time to find out. Paddled carefully through the shallow water of the weir pool and into the stream itself. As near as I can tell The Teise is mainly a weir bypass stream, which is joined by some other unnamed stream halfway down its course. I have never really located its other end, its probably too small. But here is it just about doable.

    Its faster than The Medway which makes it a bit fun. Once you get out of the weir pool it deepens out for a short distance, before you reach a short and very shallow rapid. I'm not sure if you could get a boat up this with a pole, but there was not enough water to get a good paddle going, and I kept going backwards, so on the thrid attempt I hopped out again and dragged over it. Then back in the boat and off a little further before it turned a couple of bends and then closed right in. There were some lads fishing here, and as it looked doubtful I could go much further I decided to leave them be and turned around again. This is not a good place for a long boat. Just enough width to turn a 14ft canoe with nothing to spare. Had to hop out again over the shallow bit, so maybe you can't get across it even with a pole.





    Actually when you look at it I probably only got two maybe three hundred yards. Must try harder next time. Sun was coming out now, and it seemed a shame to pack in, but the wind just would not give over. The Medway proper had a steady ripple across its surface making it clear there would be little realxing during any paddle on it today. So I called it a day and headed home.

    All in all a very satisfying days paddle. And a good lesson not to get too hung up about private rivers. It's all a fiction anyway isn't it?
    Last edited by Matto; 9th-July-2006 at 09:38 PM.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  2. #2
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    Looks like a super river. Do you have a samurai sword tucked under the air bag lashing for cutting back reeds

    John

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly
    Looks like a super river. Do you have a samurai sword tucked under the air bag lashing for cutting back reeds
    No I borrow one of my son's many light sabres .
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    No I borrow one of my son's many light sabres .
    Does it work on fishing lines??

  5. #5
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    Great blogg. Looks like you had a proper bit of exploration there. Nice looking trip. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #6
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    well done, great pics of some of my favourite places

  7. #7
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    monkey_pork is offline a wind age, a wolf age - before the world goes headlong
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    This is great, I love little backwaters like this.

    There is a tiny little stream that runs into the Dart almost at the end of the tidal section that is kinda like this, but you need a good tide to get up it. It just runs out of go at a tiny broken down weir upstream a ways.

    Very Fast flowing, and only a couple of places to turn the boat around tho'.

  8. #8
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    The stretch of river where I provide a pest control service (crayfish) for free fly fishing is much like this and I've been wondering whether I could get the boat down or not.After seeing your blogg i'm certainly going to give it a try!!. Mike B...

  9. #9
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    Just got back from poling the Beult. It is excellent for poling and I managed to get up the rocky section under the bridge at Hunton!

    Thanks for the photo's Matt. I haven't managed to post any of my own yet (frustrated).

    Ed (If I can't get there in a canoe I don't want to go)

  10. #10
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    I know where we will be going next time we go to Yalding

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