River Derwent – Aug 09

Review by Matt

Me(Matt), Garion, Darren, Tim and Dan met at tescos in Shenstone at half 10 and set off for Matlock in Derbyshire.

After a brief conversation with a pub owner in the town we found the “get out” at the bottom of the run, decided it would be no problem parking and set off for the launch point up the road.

On arrival at the “put in” we consulted our guide book(well piece of paper) which said there was steps after 5 mins of searching these were located and we started unloading the gear from my van.

After dropping the van down the road and coming back to meet every1 else we launched and were on our way along a swiftly moving if quite low river derwent. It has to be said that the water was very clear, a total difference from the river tame which was done a couple of weeks ago. Within a few minutes we passed an angler so we hugged river left and he was quite happy. Further along we passed a couple more friendly anglers with no hassle, one of which was very chatty and the whole fisherman canoeist friction(which ive seen 1st hand) seemed non existant.

Over the next few kilometers we went through a few ripples and shallow areas with no consequences, the only person having difficulties was me and that was trying to keep my short boat in a straight line. Tim noticed a kingfisher moving down the river in front of us. The first real eddie we could use to great effect was under a railway bridge and we all pulled in to have a little lesson in breaking in and out and also ferry gliding with everyone getting on ok with this we carried on down into the town.

The first bit of moving water in the town is under the first road bridge, Garion was nominated to have a look and choose the best route through. This was successfully negotiated by all with only Tim hitting a rock and bruising his sensitive derriere! Shortly after this we rounded the park and followed the road above towards Matlock bath. This was were we had our first casualty to a branch on river right, With Tim, Dan and Garion ahead i was keeping near the back when i looked back to see if Darren was still there. He was….. but floating down the river next to his boat not in it! It turns out that Daz was ducking under a low branch, tried to deflect it, went sideways, got wet. No damage done, and boat emptied we got under way as we were approaching the slalom course.

As we approached, we noticed a large number of red bodies and yellow helmets entering the water above the course. The derbyshire fire and rescue service were doing an exercise. Some successful negotiating from Garion and we carried on past them with no problems. Garion, followed by Dan negotiated the course with ease. Tim however was another story! While chatting to a floating fire man/woman about there dry suit, Tim failed to notice the (quite visible) rock on river right, sending him sideways into a small rapid and completing the next five meters of the course upside down. After seeing enough of the river bed he decided to get wet, and swam to the side to start emptying. much laughing was had by all. haha.

After eddie hopping to the finish line we all got out as time was getting on.

A good day was had by all. The 2 most inexperienced paddlers Dan and Darren handled themselves very well and had a good time. This river was a very nice run with a little bit of fun to be had the bottom in the slalom course, would probably benefit from having a little more water on it as it was a little shallow in places. Maybe a possible club run in the future???

Many thanks to Tim, Garion, Darren and Dan for making it enjoyable.

Matt

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