Peak tide day

Occasionally, it is really easy to launch at Bow Bridge, but watch out for wash from cars.

Just downstream, on the way to Tuckenhay, the Dart trail stepping stones are 5 feet underwater and I can trespass over the lawn of the pretty Victorian cottage.

Victorian cottage

The cattle were taking their customary stroll along the Dart trail, but evidently hadn’t read the tide table. It is a sunken track through woodland, coming down to the shore, so if the bullocks at the back keep pressing ahead, there isn’t much the forward troops can do to keep dry.

Wet cows

I paddled against the ebb towards Totnes, passing a large group of swimmers. The cunning ones were following the ebb stream, marked by the navigation buoy, but this group was cutting the corner and falling behind.


Further on, I passed what looked like a school of fish going upstream.


And further on, a tiny bit of white water. All this bubbling is caused by air leaking out of gravel layers whose surface from mid tide point is covered with mud. The rising water compresses the air which escapes through fissures, aerating the water.

more bubbles

The river narrows towards Totnes and the tide moves faster. The Waterside Bistro is good for a restaurant break, and parking is convenient.

waterside bistro

I used a long painter, since the cafe is popular, so service is not always instant. Over on the other side, someone had lingered too long over breakfast.

tilted boat

Then I turned downstream with the tide, taking a second cup of coffee at Stoke Gabriel, where I was caught out with the kayak resting on mud because I chatted too long with a paddler with a transparent plastic folding kayak. There would not be much benefit that day, because the water was very muddy. I had to haul my boat onto the pontoon then over to the far end where there was just enough water to launch by pushing the kayak between two dinghies. I’m sorry about the muddy footprints over the boats but had not time to clean up, since the creek dries completely on spring tides.

I do my food shopping at Marks and Spencer in Dartmouth, because it is at sea level. However, the nearest pontoon was high and dry as the water had sunk to the tidal datum, so I had a long walk with the groceries. Then I paddled back up to Bow creek with the Canoe club for dinner at the Maltsters at Tuckenhay.


Most of the party paddled back to Dartmouth by night.

after dark

tim P