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Thread: The Barff Loop 2018

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Poole
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    691

    Default The Barff Loop 2018

    Twenty two members of Poole Harbour Canoe Club arose early on 21st October, heading for adventure - it was time for the now annual Bath Loop, which takes in a good section of the Kennet & Avon Canal and on the return leg the river Avon.

    I set off at 6:00 am, to ensure that I'd arrive at the Warminster Services by 8:00 am for the rendezvous, only to discover that I'd not been party to a number of emails that had been flying about, regarding the services being closed! Fortunately a few others had also missed the emails, so we managed to grab a Costa 'to go' and stood around in the lobby.

    The plan was to be on the water by 9:30 am, so after milling for a few minutes more, we all jumped in our cars and headed toward the put in on Beckford Road at Bathwick, where we found the rest of the club members unloading and preparing for the trip. There is limited parking beside the canal, but fortunately plenty of free on-road parking further down Beckford Road and in Beckford Gardens.



    With everyone canal side, we started putting our boats into the water, with a few of us opting to complete an extra mile of paddling, by heading West to the first lock, before the main trip East. This passes through what was a very affluent area of Bath and the stonework on the bridges is a testament to that. The only problem, was it meant that I was now a mile behind the main group... so some serious exertion had to follow to catch them up, which I did, just before Dundas Aquaduct.

    We stopped for a leisurely coffee break at Brassknocker Basin, and with the earlier stunning low mist clearing, the sun broke through to lift the spirits and brighten the day even further.



    After coffee, we headed over the Dundas Aquaduct and continued paddling east for the Avoncliff Aquaduct, where we would stop for lunch and make our descent to the River Avon.

    With autumn having taken a firm hold, we paddled past the tree lined embankments and bridges, all bathed in the browns, reds and golds of the turning leaves - it was a glorious day to be on the water.

    After the short portage down to the river, the group spread itself for lunch, across the aquaduct embankments, local tea shops and of course The Cross Guns pub, where they serve a mean portion of pork scratchings!



    The water level in The Avon was the lowest I had seen, with quite a few of the larger rocks visible and insufficient water to paddle up to the weir, so we went with the flow and enjoyed the reed filled river down to the first of the weirs that needs to be portaged.

    At Limpley Stoke weir we portaged middle right and clambered down the stepped face and continued our serene paddle towards the next obstacle - Warleigh weir. This too was portaged (river right), though the normally clear stream below, also proved to be surprisingly shallow.



    The next feature of the river was the most interesting from my point of view - Bathampton weir. This was primarily due to this being the first time I had completed the trip in a plastic boat and therefore in a position to join in the shooting of the weir, rather than portaging around. After one very experienced member had selected the line and thrown himself over the edge, we all followed suit... some a little more slowly than others... there wasn't very much water flowing over the lip, and a few boast got stuck and were left teetering on the edge. This resulted in some amusing 'thrusting' from the bow paddlers, in order to try and gain some momentum!

    My shooting was relatively controlled, a little scratchy, but I went down in one, taking a few buckets of water over the bow in the process!



    Having had our fun, we pressed on, as the light was starting to diminish and we still had some distance to cover. At Pulteney Bridge weir we all used the canoe rollers, even the rebels in the group assessed that the river level made the weir too dangerous to attempt shooting this year.



    Half a mile further downstream there is a slipway on the left, beside Spring Gardens Road - this was our get out. From here it is just a short (a mile or so) walk back to the car, before returning to pick up the boats. By the time the boats were all on the roofs, the light had gone completely and we still had our journey home to complete!

    It makes for a long day, but the trip never ceases to impress, which makes it all worthwhile!

    Here's my video from the day:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
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    21,802

    Default

    Nice one Adrian. I've never done the whole loop like that, just shorter variations. Nice to see photos of Bathampton Weir, its the only one I haven't been to. Quite steep for an open canoe!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Newtownards, Northern Ireland.
    Posts
    622

    Default

    Excellent days adventure, 20 miles on the water.
    Great video record.
    Bathampton weir looks a good one to shoot, its not the one in the middle of Bath then. The one with the big square steps in a horseshoe layout.

    Nick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Poole
    Posts
    691

    Default

    It is a long day for sure, but well worth it... although I confess the last 3 or so miles was telling on all the solo paddlers!

    The weir isn't scarily steep, most of the higher volume boats with solo paddlers didn't ship water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Nice one Adrian. I've never done the whole loop like that, just shorter variations. Nice to see photos of Bathampton Weir, its the only one I haven't been to. Quite steep for an open canoe!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Poole
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    Default

    Bathampton weir is the one to the east of Bath. The one in the centre of the city is Pulteney weir and is to be treated with respect - it has some dangerous drops and will hold you under. A few have previously shot it, straight down the middle, but it needs careful examination and good safety cover.

    The total mileage includes the 1 mile walk (which completes the loop) to collect the car.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Nick View Post
    Excellent days adventure, 20 miles on the water.
    Great video record.
    Bathampton weir looks a good one to shoot, its not the one in the middle of Bath then. The one with the big square steps in a horseshoe layout.

    Nick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
    Posts
    17,172

    Default

    Looks like a good turnout for the trip. Even more impressive when you see the mileage but worth it from the looks of the pictures.
    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Shefford, Central Bedfordshire
    Posts
    1,049

    Default

    Nice blog, pictures and video.
    Simms ..

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