River Ivel Trip Report

When: Sunday 8th October

Where: The River Ivel, Bedfordshire – ‘Put in’ Sandy to ‘Get out’ Tempsford where the Ivel joins the Great River Ouse

Who: The Paddlers – Ian Walker (Trip Organiser and Report Writer), Tony McKenzie, Conrad Chambers, Sue Leon, Chris Harper, Sue Sleeman, Andy Slatford, Jason McNulty & Martin Edwards

The section of the River Ivel that was paddled is generally Grade 1 to 2 with several different types of weir along the route, making it good for intermediate paddlers looking to get used to moving water.  The route running approximately 6 miles downstream, took about 4 to 5 hours paddle including a lunch stop. The trip gave paddlers the opportunity to shoot a few weirs and practice some ferry gliding however the tallest weir (approx. 2 metre drop) was portaged by all due to low water levels on the river.

After all attendees arrived at the ‘put in’, boats were unloaded and suitable clothing/kit changed into for a beautiful sunny warm (over 20degC) October day. A local angler passing by stopped his van and stated that we were not allowed to launch anywhere around the area on the Ivel as it is private land. In the absence of any private property signs we agreed to disagree. The Ivel is a well-known canoed river and the fact that the Environment Agency has erected signs for Canoe Portages indicates that Canoeing is permitted on the river. Fortunately we did not encounter any further fisher folk on the trip.

Once changed and ready to paddle the drivers shuttled the cars down to the ‘Get-out’ at Tempsford. Ian drove the drivers back (to ‘Put-in’) as he had most seats in his car and once back at the ‘Put-in’ carried out his pre-trip briefing including the plan on approaching and tips on weirs. Finally after checking all were ready to start the trip the group took to the water for a lovely relaxed paddle along the Ivel…

Shooting the 1st sloped Weir:

Below the 2nd Weir – a play area for some of the more experienced paddlers:

A rest beside the 3rd Weir which was portaged by all:

Followed by a closer inspection once back on the water:

Lunch time stop just after the 4th Weir near Blunham village:

Conrad saves the day! Tree blockage just before the final weirs:

Bottom two Weirs (near Tempsford Old Mill)

The ‘Get Out’

This peaceful surprisingly warm paddle trip was topped off nicely by having several beautiful kingfishers flying in front of the group. The first one when Jason accidently banged into the bank and bird flew out of of a hole and then another pair flying within a foot of each other.  As always, we left the river better than we found it, by collecting a whole black bin bag of rubbish along the route including discarded fishing floats and fishing spinner hooks. The more experienced paddlers enjoyed playing in three of the weirs and the others enjoyed their introduction to moving water while learning and practicing ferry gliding. The trip was deemed a success by all with the tree blockage across the whole river making for an interesting challenge/interruption. Conrad deserves special mention for getting the whole group of 9 paddlers over the tree. His superhuman efforts celebrated with a swim plunge deep into the middle of the river. 😊

Lovely group of paddlers, thanks for everyone’s input before and during the trip.
See you on the water soon.

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