Washburn Canoe & Kayak Festival 2019

Two days of Playboating & Boater-X / Races with a BBQ & a Party at England’s Premier Dam Release River!


​We have just received the news we organisers always fear – that we cannot have a Washburn release this weekend.

Yorkshire Water checked the depths today, and after all the rain yesterday, Thrusscross is overflowing and Lindley and Swinsty reservoirs above the “control line” Yorkshire Water has set or is limited to) for ongoing works at those reservoirs – and it is still raining.

Bottom line: Yorkshire Water say “The canoeing this weekend will have to be cancelled” – and it’s their call.

Looking on the bright side – most of our natural rivers are currently registering as “high” or “huge” and the forecast is for rain – so we should all be able to find somewhere fun to boat next weekend.

We recommend http://rainchasers.com/river-levels – but please take care out there!

Sat 17th August & Sunday 18th August 2019

Thanks to Yorkshire Water we’re expecting a Saturday AND Sunday release – so Pennine Canoe and Kayak Club are opening up the river for uninterrupted boating – and Kool Kayakers offering outstanding catering – and the Washburn Committee is offering camping with a BBQ – and yes, EVERYONE IS WELCOME!


Yes – you can just park and play as at any other release – the full programme will be out shortly but expect uninterrupted playtime for most of each day!

What to Expect

For much of the year, the River Washburn is a boulder-strewn ditch on which canoeing is impossible... but the river will fill naturally, especially in winter, and on up to 20 days in the year, Yorkshire Water releases water from Thruscross Reservoir, creating England's premier year-round, dam release facility - with 2.4km (1.5 miles) of grade 2-3, fast flowing water.
Further details can be found on the Regional Development Team's website:

Please note: paddling on the reservoirs is strictly prohibited.

Washburn Boaterfests 2019 is a weekend paddling festival in which the River Washburn is the undoubted star.​ As at all Washburn Cruises, enthusiasts are invited to take to the water and enjoy what it has to offer - playboating on favourite features, running favourite sections or completing entire laps down to the Woodyard and returning by shuttle.​
As at other events we will have a food stall offering hot and cold drinks, breakfast / brunch / lunch / afternoon tea type snacks and a shuttle service but as this is a weekend event we are also offering camping at the Woodyard for a token fee of £2 / head - and many of us will be staying around on Saturday night to have a BBQ and a party!​
Silverbirch, Tootega and Robin Hood Watersports will be attending Boaterfest with full demonstration fleets of white water kayaks, canoes and sit-on-tops. Interest is always immense so if you want to try something specific, please get in touch with them in advance!​
In addition to all these standard elements, Boaterfest will include:​

  • Kid Capers - with volunteers helping ​youngsters in their first descents of the river
  • Yorcie Old Timer Celebration - with old school boats and gear not seen in a generation or more
  • ​A Boater-X - starting with time trials (for seeding) and ending with heats and a final​
  • A Final Farewell Finish - with racing at the front and cruising at the back, all the way down to the Woodyard​

These elements will be managed to minimise the impact on recreational playboating!

​Pre-registration and booking details will appear here over the weekend. but If you are insured by British Canoeing )either directly or through your Club visiting) then in essence:​

  • ​ Adult Parking & Boating £10 / day or £17.50 for the weekend​
  • Under 18 Parking & Boating £6:00 / day or £10 for the weekend​
  • Non-Paddler Parking £3 / day or £5 for the weekend
  • Donations requested for camping / shuttle​

Insurance is essential to this deal - but that is easily overcome!

  • ​Be an "On the Water" member of British Canoeing / 
  • Equivalent membership of Canoe Wales / The SCA or CANI​
  • Full or Provisional Membership of a Club which is formally attending​
  • An event pass - cost to be confirmed but not a lot!

Turning up on the day should be fine but it REALLY, QUITE GENUINELY helps us (the organisers) if we can capture details on a spreadsheet before you arrive - and if you've registered we know to contact you if anything changes at the last minute!

We might even be able to make your life easier when you arrive if we have your registration in advance!

Finding the Washburn

Between Thrusscross and Fewston Reservoir – West End Road, Blubberhouses, HG3 4BA 

in partnership with

the River Washburn