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"Indeed these ever changing circumstances are, for many, a major attraction of the sport and, as such, those taking part do so in the realisation that the inherent risks associated with these variables can present themselves while taking part.

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As the catalogue of accidents, tragedies and near misses continues to grow it may be apposite to consider what can be done to stay safe on our district's eponymous river.

And just last week three members of the same family were lost in a canoeing tragedy as they tried to paddle the rain swollen river from Hexham to Wylam.

It stated: "Kayaking and canoeing activities are wide ranging in their scope, enjoyed annually by some 1.2m adults over many thousands of hours, all very safely and without incident.

Fishing guide and instructor, Neil Lobban, says that vigilance is vital when venturing into the Tyne.

"There's no lake or reservoir so that river pretty much brings whatever falls in that catchment with it.

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"Of course all steps should be taken, via training, risk assessment, planning and preparation and venue choice to ensure that any and all identified risks, hazards and environmental variables are mitigated against and that the level of activity is appropriate to paddler experience.

In 1771 a major flood washed away almost every bridge in the Tyne Valley, with just the river crossing at Corbridge left standing.

During summer months, many have been tempted to step into the river's cool embrace only to find themselves at the mercy of sudden and furious currents.

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Two years ago, canoeist Andrew Weatherill was drowned at the weir at Riding Mill after losing control of his canoe in high waters.

But the South Tyne is an unpredictable torrent. Rising on Alston Moor to run down through Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge, the water levels Under Armour Shoes Blue And Orange of this tributary are greatly affected by rainfall.

Rising on the Scottish Border and running through Kielder Forest and Bellingham before flowing into Hexham, the flow of the North Tyne is mostly regulated by Kielder Reservoir.

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"In this, individuals are supported through a huge number of clubs, centres and coaches who provide a range of training opportunities, support and safety knowledge and experience.

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The Tyne comprises two main tributaries, the North and South Tyne which join at Waters Meet at Hexham to flow all the way through the region to meet the sea at Tynemouth.

He said: "The Tyne is the best river in England and Wales for salmon fishing but like any other river it needs to be treated with a bit of respect.

"So when rain falls, the river responds quite rapidly, and that's where we can experience flooding issues."

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"But most important, you need to know what's happening further up the valley and whether the water Under Armour Curry 2 Low Cut

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"You need to know the area that you're going to; you need to know the obstacles.

But for hundreds of years, flooding, devastation and even death have been left in the wake of this vast and unpredictable river.

"The South Tyne runs from the hills around Alston; that's the true spate river.

More recently, in 2005, homes and businesses throughout the district were swamped after 36 hours of torrential rain caused the Tyne to burst its banks.

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is going to be rising or falling."

"However, like other forms of outdoor sports, either on river, sea or lake, they are dynamic activities that take place in ever changing environments.

"Nonetheless, by their very nature, outdoor sports such as kayaking and canoeing can, from time to time, challenge even the most competent of performers, sometimes without warning."

"I do quite a lot of guiding and I try to educate people about the river. One of the first things I would always do before setting off is to have a look at the river levels, and see what's happening elsewhere in the area.

In the wake of the deaths of brothers Darren and Mark Thorpe and cousin Gavin Bradley, British Canoeing issued a statement expresing sadness at the incident and underlining the necessary precautions to take on the water.

"You need to be very aware of not what's happening with the water levels where you are now, but what's happening miles up the valley and what the rainfall was the night before because that is what you're going to get.

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"It's important to know what happened in Alston and Otterburn the night before. If there's a huge rise of water in Alston I know that at some point that's going to hit me down near Hexham.

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This unpredictability with regard to water levels is something those enjoying water sports on the river must be ever mindful of.

Paul Atkinson of the Tyne Rivers Trust said: "The Tyne is what's known as a spate river, as its bedrock isn't very permeable.

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