With the wettest December since 1910 resulting in severe flooding all along The Dee valley, I thought I’d kick off 2016 with some exploration along the river side path that follows it on the North bank from near Duthie Park.
The water level was still high, however right near the start I passed Asda and David Lloyd gym, which were both shut due to flooding previously, and lie another 20 feet higher. Trees were festooned with debris high into their branches and contorted into shapes. The path itself had some deep ruts scoured – glad I hadn’t splashed through them at speed thinking they were inches and not a foot or two deep. Overall there was little damage here and the path was still good.
A few km further, the path goes through a sparse woodland that spreads out over a wider plain, and here chunks of bank had been washed away, and the trees in places had caught and piled up impenetrable thickets of driftwood and debris. Channels of water a few feet deep had been scoured. Here and there, clumps of trees had netted pockets of property flooded out from upstream; a dresser table, cupboards, clothes, an oil drum perched 10 foot up in the branches.
Now it was a case of off the bike, hiking and dragging the bike though the undergrowth, teetering over fallen trees spanning streams, and sinking into deep and soft rippled sand banks. My fat bike would have made short work of some of the terrain, but then the extra weight would have made the hike-a-bike even tougher going.
Near Inchgarth reservoir, a family I had passed earlier having a stroll had now caught me up such was my slow progress. Surprised they’d made it this far, it was tough going picking a route through it all.
The path was again washed away and streams blocked any further progress, I let them know and headed inland, again picking my way over logs. I talked briefly to speak to some dog walkers and bird watchers who were a bit surprised to see a chap carrying a bike emerge from the bushes covered in mud and sand.
Unfortunately, will be some time before this route is easily navigable by bike again. An interesting place for a trail run though – If I head down again I’ll take a folding saw and try and open up a few gaps in parts blocked by branches and bushes. Already, a few intrepid walkers are picking their way through, and eventually new paths will form. Hopefully the ‘powers that be’ will be able to open it up again at some point.