The Tees Barrage is one of the Canal & River Trust’s most unique structures: a huge barrier built across the River Tees in Stockton-on-Tees to prevent flooding and the mixing of saltwater from the sea with freshwater upstream. But did you know that there is also an Olympic-class white water centre alongside it?
Tees Barrage International White Water Centre is a hub for adrenalin-fuelled water sports – an aqua park where you can try an array of activities from power boating and white water kayaking to more gentle activities, such as bell-boating and stand-up paddle boarding.
But it’s white water rafting that the centre is undoubtedly most famous for – people visit in their droves to get completely soaked on a “water rollercoaster of sudden drops, crashing waves and sharp turns”. The activity is suitable for any age and requires no experience – each raft is manned by an expert guide who helps you conquer the wild waters ahead.
How the centre generates the water for its two white water courses is a feat to marvel at in itself – four 30-tonne Archimedes screws pump more than 14,000 litres of water every second. Once you’ve dried off you can calm the nerves with a hot chocolate in the Barrage Café, which overlooks the Tees and the Air Trail – a high ropes adventure course.
The area surrounding Tees Barrage is also a delight to explore. Wander up to the beautiful Infinity Bridge – so named because of the infinity symbol formed by the bridge and its reflection – and keep your eyes peeled for grey seals hunting for salmon in the churning waters.