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Thread: River Rye, Helmsley, North Yorkshire

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    Default River Rye, Helmsley, North Yorkshire

    The Canoe And Kayak Map Of Britain gives the impression that one can paddle the River Rye Eastwards from Helmsley. Does anyone know if this is possible at this time of year (late March early April) when water levels will be higher and what is the best paddle point near to or in Helmsley and where would one suggest taking out after a day on the water one way in a kayak not a canoe?
    What sort of obstructions such as weirs does one encounter. As this is not normally a navigation I would expect some fallen trees.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    Malcolm Tierney

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    I have done it,but in fairness it was a good few years ago soI can't remember what the time of the year was. I cannot recall any wiers as such. But I do know it cannot really be done from Helmsley in low water - so certainly not middle of summer. But it can be done in summer from Butterwick.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Perry View Post
    I have done it,but in fairness it was a good few years ago soI can't remember what the time of the year was. I cannot recall any wiers as such. But I do know it cannot really be done from Helmsley in low water - so certainly not middle of summer. But it can be done in summer from Butterwick.
    Thank you for the above.
    Whilst I live in London at Easter I shall be visiting my mother in Kirkbymoorside with the offsprung. I was speculating as to whether it would be worthwhile packing my two man Tyne folder for a trip on the Rye then, when the water should be high. I pass Helmsley on the way so I can look at the level. Would you say that it would be passable to a two man skin on frame boat when in high water? I shall not hold you responsible if otherwise but would just like a little guidance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm T View Post
    Would you say that it would be passable to a two man skin on frame boat when in high water? I shall not hold you responsible if otherwise but would just like a little guidance.
    Definitely in high water. The catchment area isn't huge, so best a day or two following rain.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

  5. #5

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    I used to live just above this river between Nunnington and Ness. I don't remember seeing anyone canoeing, but it would be great to read a blog about it. I have a vague recollection of a fence stretched across the river somewhere but I may be wrong.
    If all else fails you have good options on the Derwent (Old Malton down to Kirkham/Howsham). Whitby / York not too far away either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Perry View Post
    Definitely in high water. The catchment area isn't huge, so best a day or two following rain.
    Thank you very much. Now, dare I risk my Tyne folder?

  7. #7
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    Dear All,
    I must apologise to the good people of North Yorkshire for the god awful Easter weather. I feel responsible for deigning to take my 1968 two man folding Tyne kayak oop North with me. The gods of weather were so piqued at my temerity that they duly opened the heavens, scotching any hopes of a trip in the antique craft with my considerably junior daughter. The Rye at Helmsley was flowing fast(ish) as it passed under the A170 and would have made a lively trip. I measured the distance between Helmsley and Nunnington on the OS landranger with dividers and it worked out at 4 and a half miles. Then measuring the same route as the river takes with a map measuring tool around the Rye's mazey meandering course showed a distance of nine and a half miles. Another attempt shall have to be made. Thank you to those who advised me. I am only sorry that for your troubles you were rewarded with an inundation.
    Yours, skulking back in Kent,
    Malcolm Tierney

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    Malcolm, I realize it has been a year since your forlorn attempt to paddle the soggy North (your report was wonderfully funny, by the way.) But I hope that the experience has not caused you to give up on trying again. If you have the opportunity to get up that way again I highly recommend getting in touch with the Malton and Norton Canoe Club which has a clubhouse and launch dock on the River Derwent. I brought my Pakboat Puffin folder to the UK from the USA in May of 2017 and paddled with club members on the Rye and Derwent, including the section of the Derwent that Fiddlesticks mentions (above) from Old Malton to the Howsham Mill. I had posted an inquiry on this very forum about paddling around Yorkshire while I was planning my trip and several club members responded immediately -- in fact two of them drove over to my cottage to welcome me within an hour of my arrival!

    As it turns out, the club could have loaned me a canoe or kayak from their livery, but I did use the 12' Puffin and it worked quite well. There were two weirs along the Derwent to cross, but my boat was light enough that I simply portaged around them, though most the hardshell paddlers dropped over the tongues. There were a couple of low spots along the Rye, which we paddled from Ryton (where I was renting a farm cottage) to the Derwent and into town, where downed branches caused my soft hull to hang up a bit, but I only had to wade once. Overall, the outings were delightful and the rivers are bucolic -- I almost expected Ratty and Mole to come floating by -- and the club members were very welcoming.

    The trip that terminated at Howsham Mill was great. The renovation of the medieval mill into a power generating plant with a public educational space within and a park without was fascinating. This would be a perfect trip to make with offspring. In fact amongst our group was a father and young teen daughter paddling open solo canoes. I have some photos of the trips, but can't figure out how to insert one here. There are a half dozen from the Derwent outing on this Flickr album (about halfway down, a dozen photos beneath the food shots). I switched from the solo folder to a tandem canoe for half of that paddle so another person could join us partway through.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapdo...57688691250100

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    Dear Kerry,
    thank you very much for the reply. I shall be going to Kirkbymoorside to see the aged parent on Friday and hope to take my eldest paddling on Saturday. The Malton to Howsham Mill trip sounds good. I shall contact the canoe club as you suggested.

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    dear All,
    The Malton and Norton Canoe Club have a website that bars my entry. Would any kind soul be able to advise me of an access point at Old Malton on the Derwent for the trip to Howsham as I intend to take the aged Tyne to the tundra this Friday.
    Regards,
    Malcolm

  11. #11
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    Malcolm, there's a guide to that section of the Derwent on UK Rivers Guidebook. Also, a few miles below Helmsley, there is a guide to the Rye from Nunnington to Butterwick
    Last edited by Chris_B; 11th-April-2019 at 07:58 AM.

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    Thank you very much. Got it. Now watch it rain old ladies with sticks as they say in Wales.

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    Well, thank you Chris and Kerry.
    The Tyne was risked and did well with my eldest (20). It was not possible to contact the Malton and Norton Canoe Club as there was a problem with their website and I learned subsequently that this stretch of river does not have open access and therefore I had inadvertently made a bandit run. It was indeed a pretty trip and Mother Nature refrained from spoiling our fun. The take out is at Howsham bridge as the mill has no road access.
    Portages were required at Kirkham Priory and Howsham. The portage at Kirkham should be made via the South Bank. The wier at Howsham is a bit hairy. Shooting in a fifty year old 16' folder is an absolute no no. One has to approach the weir to one of its raised sections without being drawn into the accelerating flow towards the archimedian screws, then carry down an algified laid stone surface to put in. This requires some care.
    There is a good spot to take out on the left (East) bank immediately after Howsham Bridge.
    Having paddled this stretch it was double disappointing to find that it does not have open access in view of the fact that it was a navigation. There is a lock at Howsham mill and a cut bypassing the weir which former is silted up and crossed by a restored swing bridge so this was definitely a commercial waterway in the past. Any lock that was at Kirkham was presumably sited where the sluice is now.

  14. #14
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    Malcom
    The river was a navigation until some years ago, when there were plans by a commercial company to open it up again for recreational boats and so on. A group of protesters got together and opposed the planning request. It was a long battle with developer/s on one side and conservationists on the other. The conservationists won the day, and the the river had its navigational rights terminated. Had the conservationists lost the river would now be full of narrow boats, power boats & mariners and the like. As I've never had problems paddling the river, I must say I enjoy the peace and quiet!.

    There was a book written about the whole affair, and I'm sure there's something on-line.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

  15. #15
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    There's legal analysis of the Derwent Navigation case by Douglas Caffyn in his thesis for Doctor of Laws. His website seems to have disappeared but there's a copy on archive.org:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20180423...after_1830.pdf

    Start at page 10 of that pdf. I haven't followed all the legal argument but I think the key question is whether the River Derwent Navigation Act Revocation Order in 1935 revoked all rights of navigation, including those that existed since the Manga Carta, or whether it only revoked the statutory rights that had been created since 1702. I think Dr Caffyn argues for the latter.

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