Three men, two boats and a dog called Sky

We've had a few paddles this year, mainly on the Pocklington Canal, but we've not been overnight from the canoe.  So when Kev said he'd a mate coming to stay who'd spent large portions of pennies on a campervan and could we make him sleep under a tarp instead of using said campervan, well, how could I resist!

We arranged to meet up at The Providence at lunctime for a bite to eat and a pint before setting off.  We sorted the cars out, shuttle wise, and then went in for some food.  Pete brought Sky in rather than leave her in the car which on the face of it seemed reasonable enough, but as I waited for waitress to finish putting menus on the table, Sky jumped up and gave her a friendly doggy sniff on the bottom.  The waitress quickly looked round at me, obviously thinking I'd goosed her.  So holding my hands aloft I said "not me, look at the dog!"  She clearly wasn't convinced as Kev asked if I was behaving myself, to which she replied with a stern and emphatic NO!  Great, I thought, that's my dinner picked up off the floor before being served to me.  As it turned out, the food was good with no sign of any sabotage.


Walking out of the pub things didn't look too inviting.  It was still spitting with rain with some very dark clouds south of Malton.  We could hear folks muttering "They're not actually going canoeing on a day like this, are they?".  We'll, we certainly were!

With the boats set and us sorted, it was off we go.  The weather slowly improved and apart from the wind in our faces actually became quite pleasant.  Passing a small piece of woodland we watched a pair of buzzards on the wing.  Various small brown jobs lurked in the reeds on either side and the damsel flies were too many to shake a stick at.

We started off with Kev paddling bow for me and Pete with Sky in the Disco 158 borrowed from Stuart.  Kev was keen to try out paddling solo, so a few circus skills later, a transfer of Pete and Kev completed, on we went.  Initially, this seemd to work well, with Kev showing an increasing ability to avoid bouncing off either bank, progress was made.  However, Sky didn't seem that thrilled with the arrangment.  This was after all her first time in a canoe, and rejoining Pete in my boat became something of a priority for her.

Kev paddles a Disco

I should say that those dark clouds to the south were still visible, by now though they were emitting loud bangs and crashes and we all thought we were in for a soaking.  As it turned out Sky was the only one to get wet when she made a jump for freedom.  A re-arrangement of folks in boats left Kev, Pete and Sky in Jus Chillin and I took the Disco.

We continued like this until we stopped for a cuppa.  Passing the mouth of the river Rye brought a large amount of water to the river and a welcome change of direction away from the head wind which had been rather tiring.  Passing under the A64, thoughts turned to refreshments.  I had a place in mind, though you'd be hard pressed to call it the heart of the countryside, it did offer a reasonable place to get out.

Close to our break spot you see this view: View of tree and church

A brew, a Budda impression and a gadget fix later, time to head off.

Our tarp setup at Rail End

As we started to pack away, a large white German shepherd appeared closely followed by his owner, a rather attractive young lady with dreadlocks, coffee coloured skin and a very pleasant smile.  A few pleasantries later she wished us a good paddle.  She kept pace with us for a while and the splash of a large pooch jumping into the river to fetch a ball stayed with us for several hundred yards.

We were soon under County Bridge and spotted our first fisherman of the day.  He was cheerful enough despite not having caught anything.  We wished him good luck and headed on.  It seemed a good time to start thinking of gathering a little firewood for that evening, so eyes peeled for suitable material caught in the branches over-hanging the river we spotted a couple of footballs and a beer barrel.

Collecting firewood.

We spotted our first Kingfisher of the trip here.  Just the flash of blue, low to the water, always gladdens the heart to see them.  It always seemed odd to me when talking to people to find they've never seen one.  Yet I guess lots of people are completely unaware to what a jewel of a river we have on our doorstep with the Derwent.  All day we saw one other boat moving on the river, this on what turned out to be a very nice sunny Saturday afternoon.  I guess shopping and watching football on TV appeals more to many.

I think all three of us would rather have been here: What a nice spot.

We gathered a nice pile of firewood for the night as we headed to our camping spot.  Sky had settled well with Pete in the Disco:

Pete and Sky.

Past Cherry Island, under the footbridge and on to Rail End.  We sorted the kit out and made ready for the night and got a fire going to cook over.

Our accommodation for the night:

Canoe bivy set-up.

...and from the inside.

Inside the canoe bivy.

At one point Pete was heard to mutter, "I spent £30k on a campervan and they've got me sleeping under a ******* tarp!" Still, we enjoyed a lovely warm evening.  The rain stayed away and we woke to sunshine.  A traditional bacon and eggs breakfast and we were fortified for the day.  Kev and Pete took the boats after we'd collected my car, which we'd left at The Providence overnight.  I hadn't realised this was the first time that the two of them had got together in years, so I let them catch up while I sorted the camp out ready to head home.  I managed to snap this shot of Kev as he came back.  He's looking like an old hand now!

Kev paddling Jus Chillin solo.

Another nice little trip, cheers fellas.

Written by Al Girling

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