THERE will be plenty of activities both on the water and on dry land as the popular Tyne Tour takes place at the weekend.

The three-day event, organised by volunteers at Hexham Canoe Club, is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, with paddlers from across the country heading north to tackle the rapids of the river.

While it gets under way on Friday, the main action will take place on Saturday.

The Tyne Descent Wavehopper Race from Barrasford to Tyne Green, in Hexham, always attracts stiff competition and is famed for the tricky stretch at Warden Gorge.

Many participants have come a cropper, thrown from their boats into the choppy waters.

However, there is never any need for fear as an alert safety team, marshalled by Michael Nelson, is on hand to pull any victims of the rapids out of the water.

The race has been won by Tees Tigers member Nicky Cresser for the past two years, and he will be looking for a third victory in a row. He completed last year’s course in a winning time of 50 minutes.

Finishing not long after Nicky was Lydia Oxtoby, who claimed the women’s title.

Joe Birtwhistle finished in third place and he epitomised the spirit of the event as he stopped to assist Alex Abraham, who ran into difficulties at the top of Warden Gorge along the way.

The racing action spreads into Sunday with a wild water race from Wark to Barrasford.

It will be the third time the race has been held following successful events in 2016 and 2017.

The stretch of water is not as difficult to negotiate as the Tyne Descent race, and this allowed Nicky Cresser and Lydia Oxtoby to complete a double last year.

It is not all about competitive racing though, and a couple of guided tours will take place over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, starting at 10am, David Glendenning and Andy Poad will lead canoeists down a designated part of the Tyne.

Depending on the water level, the tour will either take place between Haydon Bridge and Hexham or Wark and Barrasford.

The following day, again at 10am, Michael Nelson and Eddie Watson will take a group of less experienced paddlers from Hexham to Corbridge.

Away from the water, the annual ceilidh is expected to again get people up dancing.

Hexham’s Blue Eyed Strangers band have been invited back to provide the music for the event, which will take place in a marquee on Tyne Green at 7.30pm on Saturday.

This event is open to everybody, not just those involved with the Tyne Tour.

Hexham Canoe Club member Lorraine Glendenning said: “We are looking forward to another brilliant weekend, and it is great to see so many people come into Hexham.

“It helps the local economy, so it is good that it brings a boost to the town.

“We have to say a big thank you to all those that help us out from Northumberland County Council to the local riparian owners and residents for making it the success it is. Most of all, thank you to the volunteers as we wouldn’t have an event without them.”