A GROUP of County Durham kayakers have divided opinion after video footage emerged of the “daredevils” travelling down one of the region’s most treacherous waterways during the recent stormy conditions.

While most residents in the North East braced themselves for high winds, torrential rain and cold weather last weekend, a clip of several kayakers ‘slaloming’ down the River Tees near Barnard Castle was brought to light when it was posted to social media.

In the brief video, the kayakers can be seen travelling fast as the current takes him down the watercourse and the water lapping near their boats, while the camera person captures the footage from a bridge.

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The clip, which was originally shot by Alan Morton, who lives in the area, was uploaded to the ‘I Love Teesdale’ Facebook group, with Mr Morton hailing the kayakers’ bravery and skill.

He told The Northern Echo: “The film was hastily done because the kayaker was the one kayaker that I managed to film out of four of them that travelled past – he was obviously very skilful.

"He tackled it with great skill. I’ve never kayaked, I’ve done rowing back in the day, but he certainly made it look good fun.

“There were four in total – I caught the tail end of the third one and then captured the fourth one the best.

Darlington and Stockton Times: One of the kayakers on the River Tees last weekend. Picture: ALAN MORTON.One of the kayakers on the River Tees last weekend. Picture: ALAN MORTON.

“Nonetheless, it’s thrilling and it’s a calculated risk when you do things like this. I’ve walked the Highlands Way in awful conditions at the age of 70, you sometimes take the risk, or you wouldn’t do anything or go outside.

“If you’ve got the skill and training, there’s nothing wrong with it.

“These are the sort of conditions they wait for – they wait for awful weather and the fast-paced water brings a challenge for them. A lot of people have said the same.”  

Here's the video of the kayakers:


Despite Mr Morton posting the clip to social media, which looked to praise the kayakers, it also faced several angry reactions from members of the public who believed that they were acting “recklessly”.

One commentor on the video said: “I can't help feeling sorry for the poor emergency service teams whose lives this nutter is risking,” while another said: “It’s plain stupidity and perhaps endangering others if they need rescuing”.

However, some did leap to the defence of the kayakers, saying that it was “skilled and controlled”.

One user took to the comment section to say: “This is what they wait for - it’s a great river to paddle and fun for the good ones. Proper Kayaking.”

What do you think of the footage? Let us know in the comments.