washburn.jpgA short race with bags of small chop and plenty of resistance to pull on.The secret is to use plenty of rotation from the lower back and hips and concentrate on your boat speed. Adapt to keep it running.Essentially there are only 2 moves, the 2nd and 3rd weirs, but bends toward the end of the race and some of the steeper waves sections are critical. The key is also to hit the very short slow moving sectionsvery hard, but they too seem to blend in with the scenery. Don’t you be the one to finish with loads of energy saying "I wish I had tried harder"!

The start is very important, get off quickly and into the rhythm that best suits you. Avoid the eddy right behind a rocky outcrop after the start (it could be embarrassing). Do not drift too far left as again a high speed collision with the bank has been witnessed. Under the footbridge get left to go left of the rock that leads into the first "drop" yes I know its small but go centre left leaning back. Settle and relax now as you work towards the first weir, think about being sharp on the catch and really focus on your bow. Do not let it decelerate. The first weir is easy if taken straight on a middle left line whilst leaning back. Be ready for a hard stroke to accelerate out and miss trees on left. Time the strokes through waves down to sharp left after the bridge, imagine the finish line around corner as you carve across the bend. Rest in the next waves and then pull hard to the right hand bend, again cutting to avoid waves river left. Missing rocks river right, hammer down to the weir, be positive. Imagine a fast clean shoot and relax. Hug the left hand bank eddy line and hold on that line, keeping boat upright, lean back and go for it. Land with a right stroke ready to support steer or accelerate.

Now get into fast chop and get the boat moving as you work down to the third weir. This is the place for a well-timed stroke or two and some quick edges. Look ahead and plan to make that middle right line to miss the wave and overspill on far right as you pass the wave. I believe this is about half way, well I do know there’s plenty of pain to be suffered and time to be lost from here on in. Avoid trees, it’s easy to drift towards them and then have to make stroke adjustments. Adjust the stroke rate so that the blade enters on the backs of waves and the boat rides flat.

As those sharp slack bends approach look for the fast exits and psyche yourselves up to power in and out of the bends. The entry angle must be judged so that the boat carves rather than skids or slides around the bends. As you pass the footbridge (or where the footbridge used to be until 3 years ago - editor) it’s not far to go, when will you crank it up? The holly bush flashing past on the right is the signal to endure optimal lactic acid. Only wimps leave the final charge until after the holly bush! Remember to keep paddling hard through the whistle, the finish is not always in the same place.

Please ensure you have a thorough warm down after both events and between sprint runs. You can paddle down to the lake, or against the current, feel free to grab hold of a tree or paddler and gasp desperately before your warm down.

Check the info line on 01426 978654 for confirmation of releases, see also BCU Yorkshire Region site.


31 Aug 2008

There have been significant changes to the river as detailed below by John Handyside.


Washburn "In river".

All the big rocks are in and placed.

Work to the dam car park and access.
The pipes under the alternative access track have been replaced and the track re-surfaced.
The new river access point from the dam car park has been completed, much of the mud removed and replaced with stone.
The bridge was badly undercut by the river and this has been fixed.

Stepped weir to Low dam.

The rocks have been replaced to make the weir wave more friendly.
The result is that there is now a BIG NEW "WOW" DROP immediately after the weir. Paddler inspection prior to paddling is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
This drop has been modified this week after it caught a loose boat and bigger eddies are now below it.
An access point has been concreted and will be available for use by the 6/7th.September
The contractor will still be working on the tracks, so there could be machinery around.
There is lot of deep mud just off the tracks, in some cases it is over 4 feet deep !!!!

Below Low Dam to the Cricket Ground.

The loose Gabions have gone and been replaced by rocks.
There are 5 new features in all which are now complete.
A 6th new feature, which involves bolting down some stone blocks has not been completed as yet due to higher than expected water levels. This will be done this coming week. It is a technical issue to stop bank erosion and will not need prior inspection by paddlers.
The track to Skaife Hall Farm and various drainage issues are being tackled.


This is now available for parking, although it will be locked unless prior arrangement is made
The tarmac has been part scraped of mulch.
We have locks on the main gates and shed.
The logs blocking the main gates have gone.
The 4 dead trees have gone, but there are several more, but these are not in the way or a danger to users.
Rocks are now in at the Woodyard takeout to make it easier for paddlers to pull out of the river.

There is lots more work still to be done here.

Thruscross Lake. (the one above the dam)

There have been two trials using the lake, the feedback has been cautiously positive.
There are arrangements for 3 more trials to be held during September. Following this Thruscross Lake should be available for use for training and warming up.

The river is now grade 3 in places and is not a good swim, It is strongly recommended that inspection takes place prior to paddling the first time and that beginners are not put at risk in any way by committing them to paddling the whole river from the top.

Update 14th September 2008

The river has now been cleared of the major hazard below the stepped weir. Our first paddle on it was very good, course has now been made more interesting below the 3rd weir with the addition of the new features. Runs were consistently done without touches on the way down.