30 Days Wild - Day 30

For the final day of "30 Days Wild", the weather was perfect - warm and sunny - so I decided to canoe along the Pocklington Canal. I've walked along the banks many times and hadn't thought much of it really, but seeing it from the water, on such a lovely day, was a different experience entirely.

Hagg Bridge

Otter spraint under the bridge

I started from Hagg Bridge, near to Sutton on Derwent. It's a fairly low road bridge, so the towpath underneath is near the water level, making for an easy entry point for a canoe. The plan was to canoe eastwards to Melbourne - beyond that it's not navigable, even in a canoe. Once clear of the bridge and the willow trees around it, it got into open farmland. The banks were lined with reeds and much of the water covered in yellow flowering water lilies. There were lots of huge dragonflies and more delicate damselflies skimming over the water. It was all very beautiful and much better than I had expected. I got about two kilometres to Gardham lock, but then found it impossible to portage around the lock. The reeds on either side were too dense to get out of the water and the landing stage for boaters was too high for a canoeist.

Not the Okavango, but Pocklington Canal

Yellow water lilies

I turned around and returned to Hagg Bridge, then continued westwards towards East Cottingwith, where the canal meets the River Derwent. Two mute swans on the water took off ahead of me, as did several grey herons that were patrolling the banks, while moorhens disappeared into thick cover. Lots of fish could be seen in the clear water, in varying sizes up to about 20cm.

Lunch stop

There were two very low swing bridges on the route. At the first one, I pushed the canoe through, then ran round and retrieved it at the other side. At the next one, I decided to try and get underneath and found it was just possible, and much simpler that the first method. At East Cottingwith lock, I turned around again and found a gap in the reeds where I could get out into a field for a lunch break. I returned to Hagg Bridge, having made a round trip of about 10.5 km.

Canoeing on Pocklington Canal

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