The Tees With Iggy
by Pete Ball
Saturday 30th June. Thursday afternoon it rained so hard that Newcastle was underwater. By Saturday all the smaller rivers had dropped off but the Tees was at 0.7m on the gauge at Barnard Castle which is quite a nice level, very nice for June. The broken weir below Barney was a bit smoother than last time we paddled it and Abbey Rapids was high enough to be fun but not frightening.
Iggy at Abbey Rapids
The gorge after Abbey is now quite dark with the trees above in full leaf and pretty soon we came to the waters meet where the River Greta enters from the right, it's not adding much water to the Tees today. Several small rapids follow before the suspension bridge at Whorlton comes into view. The waves above the fall are quite sticky but the drop itself isn't threatening today and we all plop over quite happily.
Gareth taking the right-hand line at Whorlton Lido
We meet a bunch of paddlers from Durham, they've had a very bad time with their club managers over the past year or so, unbelievable things have happened and it's good to see them out and about again.
There's a few nice rapids on this lower section and we come to a series of waves which we always try and surf, with very mixed results. Iggy is in his short kayak and it's clearly the right choice for surfing, but after three hours on the water he admits it's not the most comfortable boat. A mix of weirs and natural drops bring us down to Winston bridge and some final small play waves before we get off the river.
A very good day on the Tees, thanks to James, Dave P, Gareth, and Iggy for organising.
Article and photographs copyright © Pete Ball 2012