CSCC Reports 2007: Shropshire Trip - August 2007
This was the club’s first non-slalom trip to Shropshire for a number of years, and I was glad to make it up the M40 after several weeks worth of rain and flooding had threatened to call the whole thing off. In terms of timing, it was ideal – the river was flowing back at its normal level, the sun was shining and there were very few tourists in the area, leaving us to enjoy the campsite and river in peace.
Martin, Nick, Doctor Dan, Gordon and I stayed at Denn Farm campsite at Chelmarsh. Despite the ‘League of Gentleman’-esque welcome at the office, this was one of the better UK campsites I’ve stayed at, with good views, clean facilities and piping hot water. Unfortunately the nearby pub had closed down – something to do with ‘people who steal from children’, but Gordon’s caravan definitely provided a more luxurious spot to eat the take-aways we got from nearby Highley.
On Saturday we were joined by Beth, Russ and Rachel. Starting from the long stay car park river-left in Ironbridge we took a nine mile route to Bridgnorth. The trip reminded me in some ways of Symonds Yat – mainly flat, beautiful gorge scenery, and passing the occasional novice in a canadian. The route took us under the famous bridge and through the Jackfield rapid – a very short stretch that must rate as either hard grade 2 or easy grade 3. Beth and Russ’ new boats were put to the test, and survived the rocks. Doctor Dan provided some helpful hand disinfectant for lunch – just like in a hospital, except that we used it.
We progressed through another 8 miles of flat water to Bridgnorth. The current slowed considerably for the last few miles, but everyone involved including new-ish paddlers Rachel and Nick lasted the final slog. Fortunately we had an easy portage at the end as the get out car park was just next to the river (on the left hand back before the bridge).
On the 2nd day a smaller group (me, Gordon, Nick and Martin) headed back to Jackfields Rapid for some whitewater practice. Access was tricky to say the least. There had been a serious car crash blocking the most direct route from the campsite, the proper portage path river left of the rapid was closed as a construction site, and the road river right closed due to a small landslide caused by the recent rain. The pub landlord was happy for us to park at his pub and access the river down what must have been an above 45 degree slope. Gordon and Martin very helpfully coached me and Nick in basic whitewater skills – and I’m glad to have survived taking in a mouthful of Severn during a practice roll.
Overall a very enjoyable trip. – I’d like to go back again, by which time access at the rapid should hopefully be back to normal.