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River Lune to Kirby Lonsdale with high water

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A picture containing tree, outdoor, water, river Description automatically generated

River Lune to Kirby Lonsdale with high water – Saturday 7th January

We had been checking the gauges and rainfall on Friday evening and although it looked high it would probably be ok. Well, it rained all night and most of the next morning and the levels were rising. Upon meeting up, it did not take long to switch to our backup plan. We would run the grade 2(3) section from the River Rawthey confluence to Kirby Lonsdale.

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The Rawthey was running strongly and it was a struggle to cross to the far side. The wave trains were going to be big and the water certainly was discoloured with mud and soil washed into the rivers upstream.

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We joined the main River Lune and were swept along quickly past several rather large features. Some headed for them while others gave them a wide berth. The water was into and around the trees at the side of the river but it was wide and gave lots of room to manoeuvre. It reminded us a little of the River Durance in France with the size and volume of water.

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ChartDescription automatically generated with medium confidence The 14km whizzed by very quickly and we soon spied the church tower in Kirby Lonsdale. We made sure we headed for the channel on the right-hand side of the large island. This had a concrete river walkway and footpath next to the river, parts of which were totally submerged by the rising waters. The last km into Devil’s bridge has a set of ledges on the river left of the large sweeping bend just after the end of the island. This was nicknamed “death on a stick” to emphasise the need to tuck into the inside of the bend. The waves were enormous in the middle. I did not even see the large tree stuck in the stoppers of the ledges on the river left but Ian said it was a certain strainer and would offer little hope of releasing a trapped paddler.

Steph led down to the beach just above Devil’s bridge. We then carried on down through the massive archway with numerous walkers looking down on the action. This section of the river gives an ideal high-level run when most other alternatives are far too high to contemplate.

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Ian B, Keith S, Martin A, Nikki A, Leanne M and Steph B