Chatting to a few people in November, it seemed that very few members had paddled
downstream from the Club. So a plan as hatched to do this trip for the Sunday paddle
Fortunately this was the one weekend when the arctic weather had let up and the snow
melt provided a nice level, although it was still a chilly day.
Suitably kitted up, got on at the club a dropped down the white water courses - one
of the hardest parts of this trip is persuading people not to play too long on the
course when there is a trip to be done.
Leaving the club, the scenery remains fairly urban as you pass The Moorings canal
basin, but historical tour starts here as you pass under what is supposed to be the
second oldest remaining iron bridge in the world!
Now the one thing most members do know about the river downstream from the Club is
that there is a dodgy weir down there - about 1/2 mile down river. What makes it
dangerous is that a higher levels (ie when the water is up to the blue steps on the
course) the weir forms a dangerous stopper across the whole river where it would
be very difficult to rescue people - and at those levels there are no places below
the club to get off the river.
But at the level we had, the weir was straight forward and could be shot right along
Another 1/2 mile or so and a second weir needs to be tackled. This has a easy shoot
straight down or a steep drop off to the right. After this the river becomes more
natural with few small rapids, notable after rounding the bend and passing under
the railway. Round another bend a collapsed weir provides a small rapid - this I
where the club use to run its slalom events - building up the river bed as well as
the course for the competition. A little further on we exited up a grass bank on
to the field of Copley rugby club, and a no so short carry back up to the canal for
the return trip.
And now the rubber duck moment - the canal was completely frozen with ice several
inches thick. (in Sowerby and by the firs weir the canal was ice free!) it was soon
obvious that there was no ay we could smash the ice, so padding was out!
The only option was a carry along the canal and cross back to the river by the second
weir. Between us w managed enough slings to b able to walk along the towpath and
drag kayak on top on the ice. And thanks goodness Les had the wheels for his open
20 minutes later we were back river, washing the doggie presents off feet before
the paddle back to the club.
Now those that have been counting will realise the next problem - a weir to get back
up - make that a slippy weir! Scrambling up the corner we successfully relaunched
everyone for the next leg of the trip.
One final obstacle to go, the shallow rapids just below the club. Les effortlessly
polled up these in the open boat as all the kayaks got cold feet wading up - but
still preferable to a long walk to the club from the canal basin.
Perhaps we’ll do this trip again when the canal is more ‘fluid’? Or even the longer
trip down to Elland or Brighouse.