Medway

BangsFallsThrowdown Class: I – IV- Length: 5km OR Park’n’Play
Location:Greenfield NS Character:Remote, Pool Drop
Gauge:River Gauge Contributor(s):Karl Vollmer

Hazards

The Medway river is a series of pool drops with very few continuous rapids or hazards. The section normally paddled is between Greenfield Nova Scotia and Buggy Hole a few Km downstream. At Greenfield on river left there is significant concrete and re-bar from an old mill in the river. The suggested put-in is below this obstruction. You can put in under the bridge at Greenfield but should ensure that you do not approach river left.

Depending on the time of year there can be fishing gear in the river, wood eel weirs and fishing platforms have sometimes been left in the river creating strainers. Some of these features can take up most of the river. While you are often able to spot this hazards long before they become a problem, it’s advised on any blind rapids to scout ahead first to ensure new fishing gear hasn’t been placed in the river.

At Bangs Falls there is concrete and some wood on river left under the bridge. It’s advised to stay river right under the bridge. This hazard is easily identifiable from upstream, but care should be taken at higher water levels as a swim at Perfect wave above the bangs falls ledge drop could drift into this dangerous area.

Bear Falls is the next major hazard on the river, and one of the few higher classed rapids on the river. It has multiple lines during almost all water levels. Fishing equipment is sometimes placed in this area so it should always be scouted before running.

Access

PUT IN
Taking care to stay to river right you can put in at the bridge in Greenfield, there are also numerous land-owners who have graciously allowed paddlers to launch from their river-side property in the past. Please contact local paddlers for more information.

DO NOT park in anyone’s driveway, or along anyone’s road. There have been issues where a paddlers car has obstructed access for emergency vehicles. Please reach out to the local paddlers for more information, and safe parking locations.

TAKE OUT
1 Hour Run: For a very short river run you can take out on right at Bangs Falls just after the bridge.

2 Hour Run: For a medium run you can take out after Bear Falls on river left. Do NOT approach Bear falls on river left as there is a large dangerous hole from river centre to river left. For all but experienced paddlers it’s suggested you portage around the falls from river right, and then paddle back over to river left below the rapid. There is a campground on river right which provides an easy portage path.

3 Hour Run: For a long run you can continue on from Bear Falls down to Buggy Hole about one km downriver. The take out is on river left in the pool just after the rapid where the road abuts the river.

Gauge

CKNS and MetOcean are pleased to offer Nova Scotia paddlers real-time water levels of the beautiful Medway River. The Medway River is a 75 km river in Queen’s County, with a medium-volume stretch of class II/III whitewater between Greenfield and Buggy Hole. This section is home to popular play features such as Perfect Wave and Fisher’s Hole, and well-travelled rapids Bangs Falls, Bear Falls and Buggy Hole.

The river level is measured in real-time using a custom made gauge built for us by our friends at MetOcean. The gauge uses satellite communication and ultrasonic technology to send data to the CKNS website conveniently available to you on your computer or smartphone.

The gauge was built by MetOcean engineer and local paddler Leigh Woltman . The gauge installation was aided by the generous volunteer efforts of local paddlers Karl Vollmer and Dave Dunne. In other words this is a community project that was completed by paddlers for paddlers, with generous help from CKNS and MetOcean!

The gauge is available at http://whitewaterns.ca/gauge/

Named Rapids

Mountain Falls Class II+ @ Highwater
An easy class II rapid comprised of a series of wave-trains. This is the first rapid you meet after leaving Greenfield. Little to no manoeuvring is required. This rapid is formed where the river narrows and bends to the right. It’s suggested to stay River Middle as on occasion trees have been observed on the edges. There is one more unnamed section of Class II water after mountain falls. There are large pools in-between them allowing time to deal with any upsets.

Perfect Wave Class II-
This is a small ledge directly above the Bangs Falls ledge, within view of the Bangs Falls Rd. bridge. At all but the highest water levels this is only passable on river right. River left of this feature is a very large eddy. This feature is one of the three primary play-boating features on the river. At most levels this is a wave feature that can fit 3-5 play boats at one time with direct eddy service. The neighbouring eddy is very large and can easily hold 20+ paddlers unless the river is in flood.

This feature is not recommended for beginners as if you come out of your boat you will likely have to swim over Bangs Falls and then over another small ledge under the bridge. A swim here is not hazardous, but the nearest easily accessible eddy is about 30-40m downstream on river right.

Bangs Falls Class III-
This rapid is the ledge drop just above the Bangs Falls Rd Bridge. At any but very high water this feature is only passable on river right. Directly below this feature is a hazard on River left under the bridge, so even at high water this feature should be run on river right.

Bridge Wave Class II
This is a small ledge/constriction created by the bridge just below Bangs Falls. The wave can be dropped in on from above, or accessed from below by paddling up directly behind the centre bridge pillar. When approaching this from above care should be taken that you do not pass under the bridge to river left of the right-most pillar, as there is concrete/re-bar and other hazards on river left under or directly after the bridge.

This is the second common Play-boating spot, it’s easily accessible from above or below the bridge on either side. This feature is primarily a steep wave, but at some water levels you can get a small hole at the surfers left of the feature.

Fishers Hole Class II
About 75m downstream from the Bangs Falls bridge is another small ledge drop, with a small play feature in river centre. There is a wooden bridge leading out to the play spot, this bridge is not in the river and is not a safety concern, but allows you to easily access this rapid from river left.

This feature is a hole, at optimum water levels it is deep enough for loops and other advanced play-boating moves. Swimming here is low risk, there are small Class I/II waves directly below it before it settles out into a pool. There is a large eddy river left of the feature. If you do swim and fall below the eddy it’s easiest to take out on river left and walk back up, but it is sometimes possible to attain back up the river.

Bear Falls Class III/IV
The most significant safety hazard on the river Bear Falls should be approached with caution. There can be fishing platforms and gear placed directly below the falls so it should always be scouted by taking out on river right and walking through Bear Falls camp-ground.

The most common line is the Sneak Route located on river right between two small shrubs. This feature can safely be done by most any paddler it is very low risk and pushes you into the eddy on river right at the bottom. At lower water your boat can hit rock, so swimming could result in minor injury, but the entry for the line is very simple, and requires minimal manoeuvring.

There are multiple other lines between the Sneak Route and River centre that can be run depending on the water level. They should all be scouted and relevant safety should be set-up. River left should be avoided at almost every water level due to a strong and retentive hole extending from river centre all the way to the bank on river left. River centre’s holes can be retentive at some water levels so care should be taken when running the centre line.

Buggy Hole Class III

Buggy Hole eddy move, Photo by: Matt Delong

This feature is located a little less than a kilometre below Bear Falls where the river jogs to the right and then takes a hard left as it comes up against a large slab of rock that extends most of the way across the river. The easiest line on this rapid is to simply maintain a position river centre and punch through the various holes and wave-trains. None of these features are retentive, and it ends in a calm pool so even a swim down the centre of this rapid is nothing more than a roller-coaster ride.

If you are off-centre to river right there are some large boulders which could be hazards, make sure if you are going to come in contact you lean towards the boulder to prevent any possibility of pinning. In past runs these boulders have had large pillows on them, but that may change depending on the water level.

There is a Class III ‘move’ that can be quite fun. As you approach the rapid charge river right aiming for the edge of the large rock forming the bend in the river. There is a small (4-5 boat) eddy behind this rock protected by a eddy fence that can be upwards of 2 feet tall. If done properly you will launch into the eddy dropping 3-4 feet. Exiting the eddy can be complicated as there is a large boulder directly below and it often has a very significant eddy fence. This move is so fun, often we portage back up to run it multiple times.