Tees White Water Trip

Paddlers on the Tees

Everybody knows that kayaking is not a warm sport, not in the UK anyway. We rely on heavy rain and a cold winter to get decent levels in this country. This weekend we were also greeted by the ferocious storm Imogen as we headed up North to Teesdale in unbelievable winds. Despite the freezing temperatures, 13 of us braved the weather and put on the Lower Tees early on Saturday morning. The Lower Tees was a perfect warm up for the weekend, some easy grade 2/3 sections with one grade 4 section called Abbey Rapids, which only claimed one victim! The next section of the day was the Middle Tees, worth pointing out here that we had pretty high levels so this section became really good and bouncy. We got in a lot of ferrygliding and breaking in/out practice. Adam even managed to find a tree to get stuck in on the way down… A few of us then went on to run, yep you guessed it… The Upper Tees! This section was at a High on the gauge, rising quite rapidly into the Huge range. There were some really nice wave trains and big holes to dodge, we got off the river at about 5 mins to sunset, what a perfect day!

By the next morning the Upper Tees had dropped, only by a little though. We decided to stretch the whole group a bit and run this section together. I for one was really impressed to see Kai, Vignesh and Adam (who are all still relatively new to WW) take on some mighty grade 4 rapids. Dog’s Leg is not an easy rapid at low levels, so the fact that they all ran it (with varying degrees of success I should say) was admirable. Low force was also looking pretty meaty, so only a brave few ran the falls. One car then headed home whilst the rest of us moved down to Swaledale to tackle a river I’ve been wanting to do for ages, the Swale. It’s worth quoting Anthony here to sum up the Swale: “Yay! Waterfalls!!!”.

The Swale is a fairly tricky waterfall run of about 4 miles, with 5 waterfalls and 1 big rapid on it. The falls range in difficulty from grade 3 all the way to grade 5, so understandably we took our time to stop and inspect every drop on this river. This gem definitely lived up to its reputation and I dare say it’s the best section I’ve done in the UK to date! The last fall, Lower Kisdon, is the most serious fall on the section and most chose to take the portage around this one! Kudos to Alex and Ted who to ran it, again with varying degrees of success.

All in all it was a great weekend. Thank to Anthony for once again organizing everything for the trip so efficiently, and thanks to everybody who came on the trip for making it so enjoyable.

Shahid Wahab