Back to the Lune
I'd put Borrow Beck on the programme, with the Lune as fallback. Spate becks are always likely to be out of condition, but putting these trips on the programme at least reminds people that there are things to paddle apart from the usual suspects, and there's no extra travel for a safer bet nearby.
Water temperatures were low, but the air temperature was surprisingly pleasant and the sun even shone, albeit weakly, at the start of the trip. The Lune runs even when quite low, and we've paddled quite a lot lower than this, so it was only scrapey for the initial section down from Low Gill. With an unusually small (by recent standards) group size of only five paddlers (all in red boats except for Pete), we had time to play, although one or two of the better waves proved to have shallow spots and/or rocks in critical places, so both I and Alex (twice) had to roll up on one of them. Crayston had a quick roll somewhere on Howgill Loups, while Pete and Richard stayed out of trouble.
Coming down into Howgill Loups
I came down to Crowders Leaps keeping river left for better visibility, and could see a large tree stump which looked to be blocking the main line, so I sidled down far left. However, on crossing below, I could see that the main chute was clear, so everyone else came down the usual way. We took out for a good look at the Strid, as a blockage here at this level could make it quite dangerous (there was a big tree stump stuck here for months three years ago).
Andy dropping in to the Strid (photo: Pete Ball)
Rock bottom is tight and technical, while medium levels are fast and turbulent, but in between, as today, is quite an awkward line with not too much room to manoeuvre, but the water moving fast enough to need quick reactive skills. Not everyone was elegant, but we all got down upright, and Alex decided to go back and swim it. Maybe he was overdressed - no-one else fancied a dip anyway !
Pete in the Strid
We found more places to play on the final (Killington) gorge, and Alex found a high seal launch down a bouncy mossy slab which he executed with some success, though it looked as though there was scope for getting it nastily wrong.... Lots of jumping into the deep pool just at the end, and I even persuaded myself to do a couple of practice rolls - brain freeze ! I think I'll stick to Richmond pool...
Article and photographs copyright © Andy Waddington 2013 except where credited: photograph copyright © Pete Ball 2013