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Thread: No River Access Beyond This Point? Says who!!??

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    Default No River Access Beyond This Point? Says who!!??

    On Friday 24th April, Peter (Peter R), Mike T(25272527), Mike R (Peter’s non-SotPer brother) and I met up at the Myton Fields Car Park in Warwick with the avowed intent of paddling the Avon down to Stratford. It was a section of the river that neither Mike T nor I had paddled before, although the Robinson Brothers had paddled most of it on their descent of the Avon in 2014.

    The parking in Warwick was right by the river, so we chained up the boats and sorted out the shuttle, leaving three cars on a very strange car-park just outside Stratford-upon-Avon town centre. What was strange about it is that it is totally free, gratis and without charge! A car-park in Stratford-upon-Avon, right next to the river, that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg! Wow!


    We were all travelling fairly light, so the faffing and fettling was surprisingly short. We were soon afloat with Peter and Mike R in identical boats that Peter had made, Mike T in his Mad River Canoe and me in my Argosy.


    No matter how fine our craft, we could only stare in envy at some of the other vessels afloat on the river that morning!


    We also cast the odd green-eyed glance at this wonderful river-side summer-house!


    Within a few hundred yards of the put-in we arrived at the majesty that is Warwick Castle.


    There are two weirs here, neither of which is shootable, so we climbed out for our first portage of the day. Luckily, it was only a very short portage.


    This is the weir we portaged past.


    Once back on the river, we floated down. Ahead of us we could see what might have been a deterrent to some paddlers…


    …but luckily, he was just chillaxing the morning away, totally unfazed by our presence.

    Then, on the left bank, we spotted a REAL deterrent to paddlers!



    Apparently, the trebuchet is fired daily for the general entertainment of the paying public. Fearing that we might add a certain extra thrill to today's entertainment, we paddled fast, in the hope that we would be well clear before anyone had time to prime the trebuchet and launch a dead cow at us. We succeeded!

    However, just below the trebuchet was an encampment of trainee English longbowmen, who were practising their marksmanship by firing their arrows across the river! A short parley resulted in a ceasefire long enough for us to pass unpierced.


    Having survived all the ballistic missiles, we bimbled on serenely down the river, chatting about this and that and generally putting the world to rights. I was surprised by the nature of the river. As the Avon upstream of Stratford is not navigable to narrowboats and other motorised craft, it is a shallow, swift-moving and meandering river, quite reminiscent of bits of the Teme or the upper Wye.




    We soon came to our second weir and portage of the day: Barford. Again, this was a short and easy portage, but we thought we’d stop for a quick snack anyway. Amazingly for a SotP trip, there were no naked flames involved – although Mike T did fire up his gas-Trangia for a welcome brew.




    Feeling refreshed and refuelled, we carried on, the river's appearance being even more natural than before…


    …although the road bridges carrying the A-roads and the M40 over our heads reminded us that we were not too far from civilisation.


    Oh, to live in one of those houses!


    We were expecting four portages on our route – one at each of the weirs – but were surprised at a fifth and unexpected one when we encountered this river-wide blockage!




    It was soon by-passed, though! Apparently, Peter and his brother, Mike, had encountered it on their descent of the Avon last year, but Peter had forgotten it was there!

    Peter hadn’t forgotten about the aircraft propeller embedded in the river bank near the old RAF Wellesbourne airfield.


    Apparently, a Wellington (aircraft, not boot!) crashed there in1942. I wonder if it was this one:
    “03/01/1942 Wellington X9640 of 22 OTU crashed into a river when landing on one engine at Wellesbourne Mountford. F/Sgt G M Bigglestone and Sgt H A McLennon RCAF were killed in the crash. Sgt C T Martin RCAF died of his injuries on 05/01/1942. Sgt Shoesmith and Sgt Murphy were also injured.

    More lovely river followed...


    ...until we reached Hampton Lucy weir, and the next portage – again, short and easy.


    We decided that this would be our lunch stop. Yet again, no wood was burned in the preparation of our food! I suppose it was because we were all travelling so light that there was nothing to light!


    Back on the river and just a short way downstream, we came across this:



    And this:


    We had reached the National Trust property at Charlecote House, where the management seem to have a dislike of people floating past! Peter had informed them that we were intending to paddle through that day, but the barriers were still in place. However, to a group as determined as ours, both the upstream and downstream ‘barriers’ were barriers in name only!

    There was some nifty portaging, some sliding boats over the metal bars whilst sitting precariously on a giant floating suppository (no photos of this manoeuvre, unfortunately) and some limbo-canoeing, but we were through...







    ...having enjoyed looking at the beautiful building, which – unlike we four canoeists - looks much older than it actually is. Apparently – and again, unlike we four canoeists – it had been extensively restored, remodelled and rebuilt in the Victorian era.


    Our next portage was at Alveston weir, having first passed some lovely bank-side properties.


    I wouldn't object to living in the boathouse...


    ...if I could afford it!

    This is actually an architect’s office. He waved to us from his drawing-board as we paddled past. What a wonderful place to work! I wonder who he got to design it for him!


    We arrived at our get-out at 4:45 p.m.


    We had covered about 14 miles of beautiful river and passed some very interesting buildings and natural features on the way – and I’ve not even mentioned the wildlife.


    Most of all, though, having seen off the threats posed by rampant swans (Mike R and his boat had suffered a full-on attack from a male swan), trebuchets, toxopholists, trees, weirs, warning signs, floating barriers and the National Trust, we felt quite heroic.

    Many thanks to Peter R for organising the trip and for being great company, along with Mikes T & R.
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

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    Great stuff. Been wanting to do this stretch for ages. I will almost definitely take some fire with me though.

    Reminds me, I've still not blogged doing the last part of this trip as a "there and back" two weeks ago.
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    Great blogging Trev, many thanks for doing that. And yes, I confess I had to look up 'toxopholists' but now know what it means. I won't spoil the educational process for anyone else!
    Peter

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    Lovely, thank you for sharing.
    It's a shame that even the NT are anti navigation.

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    Great stuff Rocky,
    Nice blog...
    Cheers
    Tim


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    Grand blog, Trev. I like that summer house, though the castle and stately home are also impressive.

    It was rather bizarre not seeing any fireboxes or kelly kettles on display though, what kind of blog is this??

    As for the National Trust blockading the river and high handedly trying to prevent access - that is an outrage! My faith in that august institution is severely eroded. (Nah, not really, I have a low opinion of them, but I still think this is out of order.)

    I wonder how many canoeists, or paddlers in general, are members of the National Trust? Probably quite a few. We should all write to them in the strongest possible terms, and point out a few facts regarding river access and rights of navigation.

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    That's a pretty substantial barrier they've carelessly left blocking our navigation. I wonder if those linkage bars are made from mild steel
    Happy paddling ,
    Rob.


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    Here's a link from the access section all about the Charlecote house/access/ National Trust thing.
    Paul
    Last edited by paulsmith; 5th-May-2015 at 01:45 PM.
    Just goin with the flow

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    This (according to the NT) this is the wildly dangerous river that you are not allowed on for safety reasons....

    oooh maybe you are if you pay us and go on one of our river paddling days...... but apart from that it is really dangerous....

    You have to be a professional coach...... Oh you are.... well you have to use our coaches as they know the water and we own it.....

    Oh we don't own it..... you have loads of evidenc eof use over hundreds of years..... Well there is still no access as there has never been any river use and we are not looking at the huge amount of evidence you have..... we are putting our fingers in our ears now...... ne nah ner nah.....

    Oh you are not going away.... well maybe we can grant you a one off licence to use the river. Please come and talk to use.... we still own the water and if you say different we will ignore you..........

    It goes on.......

    Just go and paddle, You are not breaking any laws... (although they might be with that boom if they have not got permission to do it....

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    The clue is in the name "National Trust" they do not own it, they hold it in Trust for the benefit of the Nation. Crow is right it is long overdue that they should be made to account for their actions on this barrier, I am a member and in general think they do a good job but they are far from perfect and sometimes seem to adopt the same mindset as the previous owners of the properties.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    That's a the section that is done on the annual doggy paddle meet ... I was told the barrier is something to stop deer escaping the estate via the river ...

    See note 5 on second page they are Deer gates ...

    http://api.ning.com/files/*9fn6zx1i0...tions_2015.pdf
    Last edited by pipster3; 5th-May-2015 at 04:01 PM.

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    Yes, the booms are for stopping the deer from escaping. It would be possible, however, to alter one of the hawsers to allow canoes to pass over a U-shaped connector, whilst still restraining the deer. This has been used by the EA elsewhere and I remain in ongoing communication with the NT in the hope that they will oblige in due course. I will let you know when it happens....
    Peter

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    Can't see how that barrier would stop the deer getting past on the bank!





    I'm a little cynical about NT's motives normally, as everything seems to be decided on based upon whether they can charge for it, and when they do charge, it always seems to be that little bit more than its worth (e.g. high car parking charges, many of which seem to have no legal basis behind them). Saying that, they do a good job of managing the Wey Navigation, though have not considered canoeing at any point.
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    I think you should thank the NT for adding to your adventure, in the same way as the fallen tree

    Great blog, and glad you all made it through safely!
    If I could only paddle like a doggie oughta paddle

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Can't see how that barrier would stop the deer getting past on the bank!
    There's a high wire fence on the bank which comes right down to the side of the river. That's what made a simple portage impossible!
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    There's a high wire fence on the bank which comes right down to the side of the river. That's what made a simple portage impossible!
    I have an image of you all stood on the rollers, pedaling fast to stay upright as they spin under you, lumberjack style.
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    I am surprised you portaged all the weirs, In the "doggy paddle" it is traditional to run everything except Warwick castle.
    In fact my avatar picture is me running Hampton Lucy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    I have an image of you all stood on the rollers, pedaling fast to stay upright as they spin under you, lumberjack style.
    Believe me they were so free running that you would have had to peddle very very fast!!

    A great day out well told by the blogmeister!

    The NT barrage really was a thing of outstanding nastiness making it very dodgy to get round. One of the things it would be interesting to discuss with the NT is how their occupiers liability sits with a structure like that which is an accident waiting to happen. They can deny the reality of the existence of a PRN, they can put up all their signs...but people will still try to use it and considering that they could install a safe alternative which would keep their deer in whilst allowing boats to pass which has been made known to them but they choose not too. I wonder then how that would go down in the Coroner's Court?
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    The clue is in the name "National Trust" they do not own it, they hold it in Trust for the benefit of the Nation. Crow is right it is long overdue that they should be made to account for their actions on this barrier, I am a member and in general think they do a good job but they are far from perfect and sometimes seem to adopt the same mindset as the previous owners of the properties.
    Exactly.

    So much for the "National" Trust.

    They could do with a reminder, from time to time, of what their purpose is.

    Quote Originally Posted by 25272527 View Post
    Believe me they were so free running that you would have had to peddle very very fast!!

    A great day out well told by the blogmeister!

    The NT barrage really was a thing of outstanding nastiness making it very dodgy to get round. One of the things it would be interesting to discuss with the NT is how their occupiers liability sits with a structure like that which is an accident waiting to happen. They can deny the reality of the existence of a PRN, they can put up all their signs...but people will still try to use it and considering that they could install a safe alternative which would keep their deer in whilst allowing boats to pass which has been made known to them but they choose not too. I wonder then how that would go down in the Coroner's Court?
    Mike
    Good point.

    That should wind them up.

    And finally...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    • No River Access Beyond This Point? Says who!!??
    Shouldn't that be "Says whom!!??"

    We don't need no edukayshun... etc, but I do have to point these things out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    We should all write to them in the strongest possible terms, and point out a few facts regarding river access and rights of navigation.
    They have all the evidence of public navigation rights. I know because I, on behalf of RAFA sent it to them. To begin with they refused to engage with it. Then they promised to get their lawyers to consider it and respond by March 2014. Then they said it is not for them to decide an important issue like this. But it seems they have decided, (hence the signs!) but not on the basis of any evidence. Although they have seen the evidence for PRN on all rivers in their care and very particularly on the Rover Avon at Charlecote they have made no challenge to the validity of the evidence or the logic of our interpretation of it. Sadly they are acting like the proverbial supertanker - continuing in the direction they are already going in under the influence of inertia.

    In June they will host the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta celebrations at Runnymede which is in their care on behalf of the nation and we (all of us) will have our chance to highlight how their fine words contrast with clause 33 of the Magna Carta they profess to applaud!

    Well done to this group. It's clearly a fine paddle and one that many others will undertake in celebration of the PRN.
    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by nantcoly View Post
    I am surprised you portaged all the weirs, In the "doggy paddle" it is traditional to run everything except Warwick castle.
    In fact my avatar picture is me running Hampton Lucy
    That's probably because you're a hard-man, and we're just wimps!

    Don't they also have lots of kayaks running safety on the weirs during the Doggy Paddle? Also, the levels were very low, such that the first weir was not much more than a damp wall!
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Shouldn't that be "Says whom!!??"

    We don't need no edukayshun... etc, but I do have to point these things out.
    No. It should be "Says who!!??" 'Whom' is used when the pronoun is the object - direct or indirect - of the verb. In this case, it is the subject of the verb, so the correct interrogative pronoun is 'who'.
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

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    Nice blog Rocky. Glad to see you got a good day for it. Not so fussed on that summer house, it looks like it fell off the London eye and they shored it up with some bendy wood. Not my cup of tea I'm afraid.
    Big Al.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    No. It should be "Says who!!??" 'Whom' is used when the pronoun is the object - direct or indirect - of the verb. In this case, it is the subject of the verb, so the correct interrogative pronoun is 'who'.
    You're right!


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    I always am! The only occasion on which I was ever wrong was a long time ago, when I thought I had made a mistake, but I hadn't!
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

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    Don't let it go to your head!

    There will always be some young gunslinger out there waiting to shoot you down, hungry for fame as "The Man Who Corrected Rockhopper's Grammar".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    There's a high wire fence on the bank which comes right down to the side of the river. That's what made a simple portage impossible!
    Surely my membership of the NT would allow me access ?

    There is too much of this restricting of access in this country. We should adopt the Scottish model !

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    A thought has just occurred to me! The signs about river access prove that the barriers are there with the purpose of stopping canoeists rather than deer. Deer can't read!
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

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    Firstly, great blog and a bit of a obstacle course overall.
    as to the NT, well, I'm with crow on his suggestion for a tersely worded missive or two
    MarkL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    I always am! The only occasion on which I was ever wrong was a long time ago, when I thought I had made a mistake, but I hadn't!
    You should join the Facebook group Extreme Pedantry

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    Most enjoyable blog and post-blog-banter chaps.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

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    So apart from Keith, has any one e-mailed the NT and complained?
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Yes, when I receive a reply I'll post the gist of it on the forum.
    Mike

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    Default I really don't want to do this but... (No, don't do it! ... Got to, sorry!)

    There will always be some young gunslinger out there waiting to shoot you down, hungry for fame as "The Man Who Corrected Rockhopper's Grammar".
    Or some old mudslinger.

    ...having enjoyed looking at the beautiful building, which – unlike we four canoeists - looks much older than it actually is.
    The English Language & Usage site says (to paraphrase a little):

    "Like in this sense, acts as* a preposition, and its object takes the objective case."
    If this is so, then unlike should do the same.
    It would therefore be more grammatical to say unlike us four canoeists, according to both formal rules and to current "normal" usage.

    Sorry RH. Me couldn't resist. Wo'nt do it again.

    * "like"?

    dave

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    Top notch, Dave!
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

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    Doesn't tomorrow's doogy paddle go through there?
    Brevan,
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    Yes, NT gives special dispensation for this "highly worthwhile cause" I hasten to add that I fully support the event and the guide dogs having run it 3 times myself

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