Darley Bridge to Matlock
A pleasant stretch of the River Derwent meandering through the Derbyshire countryside was the scene of the latest club trip in April. Only eight made it on the day but that wasn’t going to be a problem.
A cunning plan was developed whereby we all stopped at the finish car park first, a mile downriver of Matlock. We got changed into paddling gear and left our dry clothes in Mark’s van, which was parked and stayed there. We then drove up to the get in, using the other cars, to launch. We left these cars there. Are you still with me? So far it was going well.
The sun was shining and there was a modest flow on the river, running through the bridge. The river is quite gentle with a few little waves to practice on and eddys to catch, ideal for the beginners. It was then that the plan began to go wrong. Luke announced that he had forgotten his neoprene spraydeck. Fortunately we had a spare nylon one – not cool though and definitely not as waterproof. After a mile or so Mark announced that he had left the keys to his van, (you’ll remember that is the one parked at the end, waiting with all our dry clothes and food in), in the cars still at the top!! A decision was made to carry on and sort it out later. One grumpy fly fisherman was encountered, the rest were fine. Wayne rolled and also took a swim at ‘petrol station rapid’ but seemed to enjoy himself. Some wagtails were spotted darting along the banks.
We arrived at the finish in the sun. All was not lost. Mike volunteered to walk back to the top whilst the rest of us played on the last wave or helped Mark break into his van with a yale key to get food and clothes. The sun still shone and the route back on the road and footpath was much straighter than the river, taking only 50 minutes. With the town now busy with tourists this car journey wasn’t much quicker.
The swans have nested much later this year and set up again on the corner near the overflow at Courtaulds before the Foleshill Bridge 3. So far the skirmishes have been minor and it is believed this is not the same pair that have terrorised us on this stretch of water in previous years. It is still quite ominous when you hear the beat of wings behind you. Paddle fast ..!
See you on the water.