CALDER PADDLE 28th Feb
It was a lovely Saturday morning; we all met at the club house at 8.30am. Cars fully loaded and set off to Ossett. The journey was only 1hr away.
We arrived at a small car park and unloaded the cars and set off across a bridge that was over the River Calder, taking note of the location because this was our get out point for later on.
It was a long potage across a muddy path, along the path we noticed that this was one of our ‘put in’ points on the River Calder for a previous trip, we then arrived at the Calder and Hebble Navigation Canal which was where we had our lunch on the previous trip. So this was the second start loop.
We put in and set off, within 10mins eagle eyed Marcus spotted a fishing float and decided he wanted it, little did we know there was a half eaten fish on the end, to which Marcus said look what I have caught!!!! He then decided to take the fish and float with him, but no way was Judith having it in her boat. So Marcus decided to hang the fish over the side of the boat.
The canal was a lovely paddle; saw a kingfisher along the way, which is an amazing sight to see.
First lock was hard because of the high walls and tiny bridge to navigate, Judith decided that the fish was causing drag, but I think that was an excuse to get rid of Marcus’ fish, so Renos pulled out his trusty knife and removed the fish from the line. Next was a double lock which was easy to get out but a bit of a walk to the put in again, but many hands made light work of it.
Carried on up the canal until we got to a flood gate which was tall and narrow, luckily it was open today, on passing through it, it opened up into the River Calder. We looked right and saw a barrier of buoys stopping anything going any further down the river. We could easily pass on river right even though there wasn’t much of a gap, as we carried on downstream we encountered the weir. Just before the weir there was a long footbridge, and what looked like a flood plain for high water. We pulled up on the left with all the gathered rubbish and inspected the best route to go down.
This weir was long with an island in the middle at the bottom, plus lots of rocks and trees that needed to be avoided; the best route was decided to be the right hand side, with Paul leading the way. We all shot down! At the bottom Renos and Robin needed to get back quick, Robin wanted to do a 6mile run (WHAT????!!!!).
Next it was lunch time; the problem was that there was not a nice place to have it, due to all the rubbish that was littered about. So we just paddled up near the weir and parked on a sandy beach, fully refuelled and thirst gone we set off again.
After the first bend we negotiated a rapid with a few rocks but no problem for our canoes! Paddled some more then came to a narrowing with concrete step and high sides. Across the river there was a high foot bridge which lead to ASDA Dewsbury superstore. This lead to some humour from the locals, with an encore of ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT. I am sure we where paddling but never mind.
Couple of bends later passed the sewer works lots of foamy water, we actual saw a car about a foot under water with open sunroof, whoops, which was just parked there.
Next we meet some kayakers ferrying across a wave, first thoughts where to leave them be, but Paul tucked in behind them closely followed by Andy and Alex, we showed them how to do it in a canoe! They then left the wave and carried on down the river so we followed on. Within a couple of minutes we were at our get out point, most of us decided to beach just below the second bridge. Easy get out and carry back. Judith and Ian along with Guy opted for a vertical exit. Managed to pull up the clubs green canoe, but when it got to the red canoe it was impossible, so Ian and Guy hopped back in and got out at the second bridge.
So in all it was a good paddle and a nice distance but I would still rather do the first loop.
Andrew Lukey Luke