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Thread: Otter hunting on the Stour (Dorset)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Poole
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    Default Otter hunting on the Stour (Dorset)

    After a fiercely windy trip on this section of river on Saturday in my sea kk, I saw a weather window to return in much calmer conditions, equipped with my camera and in my canoe.

    A last minute decision and post, saw Graham (Gdd) drop me a message and a plan was hatched. As at Monday night, the forecast was for a wonderful day... but then we went to bed.

    I awoke Tuesday to rain and a quick check of the BBC forecast sunshine and showers for the majority of the day - "Meh, that's okay", I thought and proceeded to load the boat and kit bathed in the pleasant sunshine, so much so that I even packed my sunglasses!



    I arrived at the put-in early and had my boat off the roof, onto the trolley and loaded by the appointed meeting time, at which point Graham duly arrived - the sun was still shining and shorts and t-shirts seemed to be the order of the day, as I applied my sun screen.

    After a short walk and having exchanged pleasantries with the Boatman from Dreamboats (who's landing stage we used to launch from), we headed West and up river, in search of the elusive otters that I had seen so many of just three days before.



    As we rounded the bend by the houses, the first otter of the day broke the surface and taunted us by diving, just as we got our cameras ready.





    Satisfied that the day was now not a failure, we let No.1 swim on, whilst we paddled further upstream - the water was so clear we could see the forest of weeds and hundreds of fish that swam between them.



    The sun continued to shine and the wind was totally absent in places, providing some stunning reflections.



    Just half a mile later, further ripples caught my eye and sure enough, otter No.2 broke the surface (you might need to use your imagination here...)







    Graham desperately tried to review his captured footage, but the sunshine was too bright to clearly see the LCD screen on his camera.



    Onwards we paddled, under Julians Bridge and straight into a short, sharp, shower - glad we remembered to pack our wet gear... rather than leave it out to put on in a hurry...





    Soon enough though, the rain passed us by and the bright conditions had returned by the time we stopped for a coffee break at Eyebridge Weir. The weir was standing proud of the water by a good 15", and without a bank side path, the only option is to step out into the river and up the face of the weir, which also doubles as a fording point for the EA Land Rovers.



    After coffee we continued upstream, once again captivated by the beautiful reflections and summer colours.



    Determined not to be caught out by a shower again, Graham sensibly had his poncho to hand and was prepared for the next deluge.







    As you approach the final twists and turns of this meandering river, the banks close in and nature takes over, but we got the feeling we weren't alone...





    The overhanging trees have created this glorious grotto, which could serve as a lovely wild camp opportunity, providing you can be sure of the river level overnight!



    When we reached the millstream outlet we paused and then decided that we'd gone far enough - it was time to turn back and let the flow carry us back to the beach we'd identified as a lunch stop.



    Gratuitous paddle shot



    Graham and his Nova Craft Prospector 16



    Then... a few drops of rain fell, so Graham grabbed his poncho.



    The clouds looked ominous...



    Then a few more drops fell and my cag was still safely stuffed in my dry bag... it was lovely and dry (I asked it later).




    And then the heavens opened - mocking me for not having my cag to hand!



    Graham looked on slightly smugly as I started to resemble a drowned rat!



    The 'shower', turned into rather persistent precipitation for the next 25 minutes or so - I could feel the water running off my hat and dripping down the inside of my PFD... it was cold and not entirely pleasant!

    But, by the time we reached our lunch spot, the rain had stopped, the sun came out and we started bailing out the not inconsiderable amount of rain water we had both collected.



    The contrast between the storm clouds and the sun lit foreground was wonderful.



    After a leisurely lunch, we paddled on downstream, portaged the weir and headed back down towards Julians Bridge, still hoping to spy more otters.





    Before long we were back at Julians Bridge, where the flow was so limited as to negate any ferry gliding.



    We continued downstream for the next 2 miles, back to Dreamboats, but despite our stealth, we didn't spot any more otters, but we did have a great day out and returned to the car 'nearly' dry!

    A huge thank you to Graham for joining me - hopefully he has some better shots of the otters!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Somerset
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    3,719

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    Now that looks lovely and peaceful and just my type of thing.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Ash Vale, Surrey (by the Basingstoke Canal)
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    Great photos of a lovely looking paddle, Adrian. That looked like serious rain. I'm glad that at least two of the otters showed their faces. No rain up here today, but we'll get plastered with it tomorrow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Surrey by the Wey
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    Great pics and a super looking bit of water. Only seen the beasts once so this would have been a real treat.
    Maybe I can catch you next time - cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Bangor, Co Down.
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    Bloomin hard things to catch on camera, you did well to do what you did.

    I shall learn from your mistake for this Saturday when I go paddling in predicted "showery" conditions. Waterproofs at hand will be the order of the day.

    Great blog. Thanks for sharing.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Wantage, United Kingdom
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    To predictably be able to visit and watch otters is fortunate indeed! Iíve only seen one once on the Thames (where I sup regularly) although often in Scotland on the coast. Many thanks for writing about your trip.

    Andrew


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Poole
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    It was a proper cloudburst, but the reward of seeing the otters again was payment enough!
    Quote Originally Posted by JimHou View Post
    Great photos of a lovely looking paddle, Adrian. That looked like serious rain. I'm glad that at least two of the otters showed their faces. No rain up here today, but we'll get plastered with it tomorrow.
    You'd be welcome to join us anytime!
    Quote Originally Posted by Nickout View Post
    Great pics and a super looking bit of water. Only seen the beasts once so this would have been a real treat.
    Maybe I can catch you next time - cheers
    Thank you - small camera limitations, but I didn't fancy having the SLR onboard when I knew I'd be poling some of the trip - and yes, will keep my cag to hand next time!
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    Bloomin hard things to catch on camera, you did well to do what you did.

    I shall learn from your mistake for this Saturday when I go paddling in predicted "showery" conditions. Waterproofs at hand will be the order of the day.

    Great blog. Thanks for sharing.
    I'm not sure it was predictable, but was certainly hoped for having seen so many a few days before - these are the only two occasions I have seen otters on this section, but we do also get them in Poole Harbour
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Sansum View Post
    To predictably be able to visit and watch otters is fortunate indeed! Iíve only seen one once on the Thames (where I sup regularly) although often in Scotland on the coast. Many thanks for writing about your trip.

    Andrew


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
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    That’s more otters spotted in one trip than I’ve seen in my paddling life. I have seen rain like that though on a few occasions and it has usually ambushed me too
    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Poole
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    Wow! That's really surprising, bearing in mind your location!

    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    That’s more otters spotted in one trip than I’ve seen in my paddling life. I have seen rain like that though on a few occasions and it has usually ambushed me too

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    153

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    Adrian thank you very much for a great day out and thatincludes the heavy rain.
    You did much better than me in capturing the otters! Hereare a few of my pictures to add to yours
    I hope they come up. The last picture is a very strange water level post.
    P1010691

    P1010687

    P1010690

    P1010688

    P1010684

    P1010693

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Wantage, United Kingdom
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    I love paddling in heavy rain!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  12. #12
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    Jan 2015
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    Poole
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    Cheers for the extra photos - them otters are tricky to capture!

    Checked out the EA markers and they are based on a local datum, so height above mean sea level - another puzzle solved!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gdd View Post
    Adrian thank you very much for a great day out and thatincludes the heavy rain.
    You did much better than me in capturing the otters! Hereare a few of my pictures to add to yours
    I hope they come up. The last picture is a very strange water level post.
    P1010691

    P1010687

    P1010690

    P1010688

    P1010684

    P1010693

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Shefford, Central Bedfordshire
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    Nice blogg and pictures, gentlemen.

    This looks a very pretty river to explore.
    Simms ..

  14. #14
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    Jul 2008
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    Kettering Northamptonshire
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    Most enjoyable.....have seen otters on the Welland and Great Ouse but not my local Nene, though I know they are there....I’ll just have to paddle even more often and hope to see them.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

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