Upper Swale – North East England

The River Swale, which flows down from the Pennines through Swaledale towards Richmond,  is one of my favourite backyard runs. It’s where I honed my steep creeking skills in the early days and it still puts a huge grin on my face. I was  in the area  the weekend before last after running a day’s coaching for Lincoln University and decided to drop in for a quick run on the way home and show this little gem to a friend. Subsequently we bumped into a really nice couple  (Hilary and Pete) at one of the main falls and they took these nifty photos and emailed them to us.

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The first of the seven falls are just out of view.  Here we  are just aproaching the 2nd fall called Rainby Force (Graded V).

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The river rises and drops quickly with heavy rain, so it’s all in the timing to catch this run in premium flows. A good indicator is the first fall (Wain Wath Force), if there is a curtain of water covering the whole fall it’s going to be an awsome run.

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There are some serious rock features at the base of the second fall that require a tight line through past a heavy recirculating stopper – after a quick inspection we both make a clean line through.

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It was Adrian’s  first grade 5 test peace (expanding his comfort zone into grade 5) and it was great to see him focused and enjoying every minute of this fantastic run.

There are another 5 falls between grade 4 and 5 with short sections of grade 3/4 rapids between depending on the water level – the level was on the higher side when these photos were taken.

You can find more information on this little gem on the following link: UK River Guide Book

Happy Paddling