Kayaking the canals of England

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geoffrose
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Kayaking the canals of England

Post by geoffrose »

My son & I took two Pakboats on an amazing excursion. We each had one duffle bag that held our boats and most gear, with the rest being carry-on for the plane ride from Canada. We traveled over 400 km from London to Leeds. We met so many nice people, saw amazing countryside, and camped for free all along the locks. We took about 20 days of actual travel time - which was leisurely, although when there were a lot of locks to portage, it was sometimes laborious. Feel free to contact me with any questions. geoffjrose20@gmail.com

Rather than try and post a bunch of pictures, here is a link to a folder on dropbox that should be good for a month.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r10mgwgba2zi ... fhola?dl=0

idc
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by idc »

Lovely to see your photos. What a great trip to do. Looks like you had a great time!

They're a friendly bunch over on SongofthePaddle.co.uk and I can recommend it as a good place to make friends with UK paddlers, kayakers as well as open canoeists: in theory it is a site for aficionados of the single blade, but in practice half the folks there paddle kayaks as well.

JohnSand
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by JohnSand »

I enjoyed the photos as well. Thanks for sharing.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Great photos, Geoff! I'm pleased to see my old yellow Puffin deck getting to enable new adventures.

I loved kayaking in the UK -- they are so much friendlier to boaters and trekkers there in terms of allowing use of "public" spaces and keeping them accessible and attractive. And there are so many charming sites along the waterways, which the Brits seem to treasure instead of using them as sewers as the US is prone to do. I think they all realize how limited in size their country is and take better care of it. The USA is so vast that we tend to be negligent about the landscape.
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geoffrose
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by geoffrose »

Yes, England is a friendly place. Even the weather was more agreeable than we anticipated. Sure there was plenty of rain, but with the right equipment (the tarp was really a key element, and at 14 oz for an 8 X 10 it was easy to haul) it was not an issue, and even in wet weeks there were plenty of dry breaks through the day.
If anyone is considering a similar trip they should make sure to post their plans on the canoe forum - the responses come fast and furious. We got offers for rides through or around tunnels, and even places to stay, plus lots of helpful tips.

john allsop
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by john allsop »

Just spotted your trip on the English canals. It sounds very interesting, many miles of the canals were allowed to deteriorate until they were no longer navigatable, then groups of narrow boat users got together and worked for years to open them again and it is still happening. I hope that your post gives others the incentive to come over. While England is small perhaps over populated,the scenery which has to be seen is worth the trip, unfortunately many rivers in England are closed to kayakers.

scotjack
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by scotjack »

john allsop wrote: ... unfortunately many rivers in England are closed to kayakers.
Interestingly John, because Scotland has no law of trespass, all Scottish rivers are open. The scenery is better too!
Jack Charity

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john allsop
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by john allsop »

For quite some time there have been attempts to have the same river use applied to England as it is in Scotland where I think all the rivers are open to paddlers. I think there are some sections of some rivers in England open .The canoe union will have them documented.

idc
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by idc »

Hi John and all,
The following link has extensive information on the campaign to obtain recognition of what is argued to be a long-standing right of navigation on English rivers that only seems to have come to be disputed over the course of the last 100 years or so. The case in law looks fairly solid (I say as a non-lawyer). The dispute, if I understand it rightly, is mostly to do with the way English law treats hunting and fishing rights as property that can be sold independently of the land they are attached to, and the owners of fishing rights have over time attempted to argue that they also have a right to prevent navigation on sections of river they own fishing rights to. It is a shame, as in most countries I believe there is a good overlap between people who canoe and those who fish. In England and Wales there seems to be a non-sensical attempt to put two groups who like outdoors recreation at each others' throats.

http://www.riveraccessforall.co.uk/faq.php

There is a section of the song of the paddle forum devoted to this. (But unless your English you may find it all a bit baffling.)
http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/ ... 136-Access

The long and short of it is that I am persuaded that a right to navigate rivers in one's canoe exists, but it seems unlikely that anyone will have a test case to prove the issue one way or another and there is a lot of ignorant propaganda put around which can make a few hardliners actively hostile to canoeists & kayakers. There are a few rivers notorious for 'friction' between canoeists and fisherman, but elsewhere people get on with the business of canoeing and politely move on if asked to by someone who believes they have a right to restrict navigation.

In other words don't be put off enjoying English rivers. There is a map with notices of places where one can put in, which also attempts to record where 'problems' have been encountered. It can be found here:
http://paddlepoints.net/

All the best,
Ian

john allsop
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by john allsop »

Ian Looks pretty good. Things seem to have improved over the years. I was in Ontario for a long time and all of the rivers seemed to have free access from their source to sea, often to the great lakes or Hudson Bay. But we couldn,t cross private land to reach a river. But there was plenty of access places and documented river routes. In Northern Ontario it is possible to lease lakes and deny public boating and fishing. (there is of course a bit more to it)

geoffrose
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Re: Kayaking the canals of England

Post by geoffrose »

Been a while since I checked this. Ah, happy memories. I might be heading for Europe mainland this year. Not sure if by bicycle or kayak, but if the latter will expore the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany on their canals.

But you were talking about Ontario. The neat thing about canals in Ontario is they are maintained by the Federal Government parks. The canals are really a series of rivers and lakes linked by canals, making the more interesting, and in parts, more wild. Better fishing, and you can camp at the locks for $5.00 a night. They even give you the code to the washroom. I've been almost the entire length of the Trente Severne system. It really is beautiful.

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