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Winter Paddling | Changes in the weather

The weather has changed in the UK and winter conditions have arrived. Strong winds, torrential rain, high river levels and a drop in temperature as well as shorter days all require factoring in before you paddle.

These conditions have an effect on:

  • The places where you paddle 
  • The equipment you take 
  • Who you paddle with - experienced and inexperienced paddlers
  • Whether you paddle at all

Returning to a familiar stretch of water you paddled in the summer, but now transformed by heavy rain can produce a hazardous environment beyond your capability. 
When planning to paddle always check river levels

River levels can rise very quickly. Consider past, present and future weather forecasts this can help determine whether a planned trip is postponed for another day.

Strong winds can cause increased debris in the water as well as fallen trees that could block or restrict your descent.

When water and air temperature drop, consider your clothing and additional equipment carried, we would strongly recommend waterproof and warmer garments and layering to keep yourselves warm and dry. Always be prepared for immersion in cold water. 

Please take care, consider your and others capabilities and no matter how well you have planned ahead, undertake a dynamic risk assessment of the conditions on the day.

For further advice on winter paddling visit the Go Paddling site and read through our top tips for winter paddling and cold water shock.