We continue our guide of the River Dart in Dartmoor, probably the most popular location in the UK for natural white water rafting and kayaking. There are three main sections to the River Dart, the Upper, Lower and Loop sections all have their own unique aspects and are challenging to a range of kayakers of all different levels. In the last article we were half way down the Loop sections and we had just navigated the ‘Lovers Leap’ section.
The next section is Triple Drop or Triple Falls; this is the most difficult section on the River Dart and is for experienced white water rafters and kayakers. The first drop is half a metre drop, the second drop is a large wave stopper into a pool and the third drop is the much harder and has to be taken in the centre followed by movement to the left of right to avoid the stopper in the centre line. There is a flat pool after this drop which accommodates boats and people who need to be helped to the river bank.
Once you have managed to navigate the difficult ‘Triple Falls’ section you are swiftly onto the ‘Spindryer’. At high water levels over the winter months the right hand side of the river generates a fast rotating eddy which can turn the kayak or raft full circle; this is where the name comes from. The best line is to aim for the left of the river to avoid the eddy and flow out of the other side.
The next section is named the ‘Haystack Rapids’, this is the last powerful rapid on the River Dart before the Holne Bridge, this rapid is challenging in medium to high water levels. This rapid can carry you around 80 metres down to the Holne Bridge, so it is one of the larger rapids on the river.
The final section is the Holne Weir, in the winter months when the water level is medium to high there is a high stopper wave that can be a difficult obstacle for novice kayakers and rafters. There are two flow chutes to allow access, it is imperative that you guide your way down one of these chutes as they are surrounded by obstacles including rocks and large boulders. After this section there is a flat, and easy to paddle flow which leads to another section of small rapids, this is the conclusion of the River Dart Loop section. The Loop section is the perfect location for kayakers of all levels.