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Thread: Taking the Ditch to Duddington - the Welland in Winter Sunshine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Kettering Northamptonshire
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    Default Taking the Ditch to Duddington - the Welland in Winter Sunshine

    The blue sky and sunshine flattered to deceive in the face of a chill north wind at Wakerley Bridge on the Welland





    But once the shallows around the bridge were behind us we enjoyed a mostly scrape free day



    Plenty of mild ditching features to keep us amused without requiring excessive physical activity









    ....and in between having crud fall off trees and down your neck there were some quite lovely sunny bits



    One of our hammocking spots is hidden behind this massive alder







    On the odd shallow bits we find this ski-ing technique most efficacious as it keeps the boat straight rather than pivoting and lifts the paddler's weight very slightly - we might look odd but nobody's watching





    The last time I blogged this stretch of the Welland I reported the finding of an old bottle in the shallows - after some discussion it was thought that the bottle, from St Asaph in north Wales, had been lobbed in the river by a navvy working on the Harringworth Viaduct.

    Well would you believe it but not 100 yards away I unearthed another old bottle.........this time from a local Stamford brewery called Lowe, Son & Cobbold who brewed between 1895 and 1935 http://breweryhistory.com/wiki/index...26_Cobbold_Ltd

    The Cobbold name lives on as one of the big brewers has retained the rights to make Tolly Cobbold beers.......anyway, I like to think that about 100 years ago a young couple were enjoying a romantic walk along the banks of the Welland when they got all smoozy and the bottle rolled into the water.....though it's more likely a drunken yobbo chucked it in! Nice bit of local history methinks.



    Anyway, approaching Tixover church our thoughts turned to bacon





    Finding the bottle was enough culture for us for one day so we eschewed the opportunity to trudge round a muddy field to the church for bacon and elected to cook in the lee of the slightly less attractive EA gauging station hut - whilst bacon was cooking I was inducted me into the ancient Freemasonry Order of the Knackered Fetlock - good to have the injury prone Hippo back in a boat



    Almost at Duddington but first the riverside hamlet of Tixover



    The river deepens and widens now as the large weir complex at Duddington holds back immense amounts of water





    We had a quick nose at the back of Duddington Mill



    Before returning to the weir complex to walk the boats down the fish ladder - despite spending millions of pounds on fish ladders on the Welland the EA didn't bother including portage facilities or perhaps they have a view of the public right of navigation issue? - maybe they just didn't think anybody would want to paddle the upper reaches of an obscure Midlands river and anyway, obtaining landowners' blessings for fish ladders is probably easier if you don't mention that a load of oiks in plastic bathtubs is included in the deal!



    In full flow this is quite some sight



    Well that's it - journey's end is at Duddington bridge where a public footpath (almost) meets the river bank



    A map to offer enlightenment as to where this all took place



    Regards to you all & thanks for reading,

    Dick
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Surrey
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    Good to see the return of the Hippo to the frontline.

    Been some great paddling weather recently, shame I have to work occasionally!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Bangor, Co Down.
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    Yay! Hippo returns in glorious sunshine too.

    Well done lads.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  4. #4
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    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
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    That looks like a proper sunny day. The sun must have made a special effort to welcome Hippo back.
    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    SW France
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    As ever, thanks to Dick for the blog but, as has been stated, it’s good to also see the return of the Hippo ... hopefully curry dishes will be fully resumed soon
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Ash Vale, Surrey (by the Basingstoke Canal)
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    Lovely photos and account of a stunning backwater. I particularly admired the almost gothic inner arches on Wakerley Bridge. At least it looks like the boats plop down the fish ladder fairly easily - unless there are obstructions and rocks.

  7. #7
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    Fish ladder is fine in all conditions.....walk it in low water, paddle it with the odd bump in middlin' conditions as per pic.....another foot of water and the weir's fine but I'd still do the fish ladder as it's like something out of Alton Towers!



    The final section of the fish ladder at Gretton is exactly the same width as my Prospector which is a hoot as I have to go down at a slant....or wait until it's going a bit and go down the side...

    Last edited by Patterdale Paddler; 15th-January-2019 at 07:23 AM.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

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