Lots of factors can mean the River Calder is less forgiving than what we’re envisioning when we give the “Green for Go” light to Club Activity – but in a lot of cases, that’s actually GOOD news. If we have enough experience and expertise, “Moderate Flows” can make the river more appealing than ever!
Things like air and water temperature, wind strength and direction and current weather can all mean we need a better float plan. We prefer to help people develop experience and expertise face-to-face, but if you want to read up, please feel free to check out our guide (click here).
Note: we’re definitely beyond “green” if the Ledgard Flood Gate has been closed by the Canal and River Trust.
Is 0.5m on the gauge enough to move us to Amber?
In high summer, on a calm day, even inexperienced paddlers wanting to use the green-flow sections of the river between Cooper Bridge and Shepley Marina might be quite comfortable with the water lapping at the top step on the jetty. We might even be comfortable on the faster flows.
What’s “Normal” for Amber?
We might stay at “Amber” the river is a full 16” (400mm) over the bottom step of the jetty – but there’s a pretty good chance we’d have moved to “Red” by then as for most paddlers, that’s a pretty scary level.
We might HOPE that at “Amber” level looks more like this:
Please be aware of the variations within our “Amber” range!
Playing in the faster flows
If the River Calder is up 6″ (15cm) at the jetty, the fast flows below Battyeford Weir will be appreciably more forceful than at normal summer levels. Approaching from below and enjoying the strong currents may still be a reasonable option, and self rescue to the shallows may still be effective – but prior experience and/or competent safety cover is highly recommended!
Battyeford Weir can be fun at “Amber” levels – but the river is always changing – inspection becomes essential – and having someone with experience around becomes way more important!
Please note: even at low Amber levels, wading to help someone may cease to be an option and the force of the water may raise concerns around foot entrapment and strainers (e.g. being caught in branches). Having someone around with experience of white water safety & rescue starts to become advisable!
For Club “Amber” Activity, Pennine Recommends:
- Developing Paddlers to be in in buddy groups with at least one Signed-off Advanced Paddler – and minimally:
- Within 250m (& at least occasionally in line of sight) of Guide on cut (canal)
- Within 100m (& mostly in line of sight) of Guide on sheltered stretches of river
- Within 50m (& in line of sight) of Guide & moving one group member at a time around significant hazards
- Independent Paddlers – as for normal summer flows on the canal, but only in buddy groups with at least one signed off Advanced Paddler (able to support others) when on the river.
Club Safety Advisors will be on hand at ALL Pennine Sessions & Events to help members make arrangements for their paddling!
What Might Beyond “Amber” Mean?
When conditions deteriorate, even paddling in the green flows between the weirs can get pretty serious. Paddling on the weirs can get REALLY serious. Some of us love such conditions… but for the Club, it’s generally time to move from “Amber” to “Red” (or beyond).