Above&Below On Tour - The Lake District

Above&Below On Tour - The Lake District


As a Lee Valley paddler, I’m very lucky, the Above & Below shop aside. The Facilities I have at my doorstep are world class!, The conveniences & luxuries in this sport I enjoy every day are fantastic when I paddle at Lee Valley. 

Nowadays, Hot showers, heated changing rooms and fancy cafés are synonymous with whitewater centres across the world. However for me, 2024 is going to be all about exploring the wild.

Along with the Above & Below team I’ve headed up north for a few days to do something I’ve not done for years…. Paddle a new (to me) natural river! We’re swapping those state of the art facilities that we’re all accustomed to, for rivers with rocks, trees and dirt, this is what they call “real paddling”! I’m told there’s apparently a plastic pot of cold pasta at the getout shuttle. 

But a shuttle, cold pasta. They’re definitely talking crap… there’ll be a conveyor belt & a burger stand, there always is. 

We went to the Lake District to enjoy the Leven & the Kent. 2 rivers that are still runnable, even when low. Which is the levels we got…. Low. 

Here’s the dream team this weekend.

First we’ve got Zach Flatt, he’s the guy you see in a lot of my promo videos, scratching up a firecracker, he’s got a drone that we need & knows his way around a rapid. Becky Green, a lot of you will remember her, from working in the shop. She’s still very much involved & wanted to come along. James McKelvey, who’s often seen around Lee Valley, shredding in all my demo boats, he’s pretty handy with a throw- bag, so it’s going to be a great trip. 

First day, we went to spend some time on the Leven. I couldn’t find the conveyor belt, the guys told me something about mud & Seal launching.?

We did find a feature though……. Backbarrow Bridge, where a 10m wide section of river, all tries to cram under a 3m bridge. From what I’m told a feature a lot of developing paddlers can be fearful of. But we didn’t come all this way to portage. In order to make the footage film worthy, our video guy, wanted someone to go through 10 times so he can make a montage!

The second day we spent at the Kent. Now that was much more my kind of river. it was pretty, the features were well paced out. This is what I signed up for… the nature, the outdoors, the escape from society & urban, fast paced life. 

And to take a serious moment, we did have an incident. Although we can laugh about it afterwards, Zach had a little “out of boat experience”… which could have been a lot worse…. Don’t play with unfamiliar weirs kids…

Force falls finishes off the lap for the Kent. Which is the perfect introduction to anyone looking to run some drops.

Not everyone can afford the time or money to travel, which is why people’s local runs or local whitewater centres are so beneficial to our community. I didn’t think I’d missed being outside and going away on trips. But I definitely feel enriched by our adventure. It doesn’t always have to be the biggest, hardest rapid or sickest kick flip… but there’s something quite special about paddling down a new river with friends.

In this video we were using:

Pyranha Scorch

Pyranha Firecracker

Pyranha Ripper

Kober Scorpions

Aqua Bound Aerial 

NRS Axiom Drysuit

Sweet Rocker Helmet

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