Lower Wharfe river trip Report
Paddlers: James freeman. Nigel Roades, Mike Highley & Paul Scarborough
We set off from the club about 9.30 arriving at Bolton Bridge 11.40. We found a great place to launch boats from but the nearby café owner was not pleased when asked if we could park. He suggested a layby just below the A58 roundabout some 100 meter downstream. This was a good size layby with good access to the river.
The river was flowing fast but I think it was over a shallow bed. Creating a fast flow from one side to the other with some small eddies on both sides and a large one where accessed the river.
We set off down and around a several bends, by the look of the water normally would be shallow rapids with deeper shoots on manly the right hand side. These carried on for a mile we soon we came across a building on the right and just below a weir where water is taken out for Yorkshire water, we also should have got out as the stopper wave here was from side to side and would hold anything entering from the side. We took a chance and Paddled over at speed at the far left end of the wave. We all got through. My heart was in my mouth as each paddler went down. Each with a more relaxed face on. We had knowledge of 3 weirs one a mile down from the get is this one. The bank’s where a bit steep to get out but possible if needed to. As the weir was a wall across the river from side to side a drop of only ½ meter but had a stopper wave of tremendous power. I asked the group to run down the left side as close to corner as possible. And we all got through. A look and inspection of the weir found it to be very powerful and there would be little way of getting out if you ended sideways.
The river steepened to be forming rapids with wave trains to excite those who had not experienced them. There were breakouts beyond these rapids Before. the river flattened again now I wondered if the wind was catching the trees as it was breezy but noise was from the next weir.
Situated by a caravan site was very long weir face and it was built from left to right partly across the river then followed along the bang in a long leg along the river down for 20 meter this allowed us to see the weir face, as the angle of the face was unable to look over to see how steep it was. We choose a point midway where a bunch reeds had grown and angle was not too steep. Dropping down here would place us into an eddy directly across, where as the site was a narrow shoot and straight down the river. We all descended the weir I asked Mike if he could ferry across the river to see if there was a clear way down the left hand shoot one of three possible river let to go down. Mike ferried across and Nigel was eager to follow. He was caught by the current swept down into a bush, losing his paddle. Once he had sorted himself out and I was out putting my splits out shouted up to me am fine we met at eddy further down. Mike had found his paddle. Nigel hand paddled down to them.
The river twisted and bendy along with small rapids. We spotted a kingfisher and other birds in this calm area, considering if that was the canoe cobbling weir. The valley steepened and the river twisted 90 degrees houses on the side hid the line on another weir but from 50 meter away we could see splashes of water rising above the weir top. Not good I thought time to get out and have a look. We all got out on to a well-trimmed lawn. Following this pleasant lawn down river we could see the weir, a wall some 2 meter deep on to a pool then a 1 meter drop at each end but the middle bit about 6 meter cross was 2 walls trapping the main current on a ramp at the bottom of this stood a meter wave of a force that would stop a speed boat. Below this yet another wave and below seething this power and very confused water. Seeing we was out of the boats we portaged this and had lunch.
The river below here was rocky in parts but had enough water to cause no problems. There were some places to rock hop.
The side of the river open up to show neatly trimmed lawns looking on the map we should have been higher up but we passing Ilkey golf course. Then under an old bridge (ilkey old bridge) we placed to be Norman origin. There was a good water shoot and play wave here eddied were spaces to enter it but I got a quick play to find I was on my own so rejoined the group. Soon Ilkley past us and just below was a set of stepping stones these e had potential for a play. Ooops Nigel lent the wrong way and was in the water again. Once Emptied we passed on down just round the corner a footbridge and large beach to where or journey ended. James wanted to try out his new kayak a touring type with a hatch at the back in which he packed a bar- b -que and burgers enough for all. So sat and had freshly cooked burgers and sausage. Nigel had some very cold beer. The river length was about 7mles and we paddled it in 4 hours.