Lower Avon - Larkhall-Hamilton - Trees & Weir

Rivers south of Glasgow
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Lower Avon - Larkhall-Hamilton - Trees & Weir

Post by Jim »

Ran this section for the first time on Saturday as a canoe trip (surprisingly nice!)

There is a bridge probably over half way with a wooden walkway over it and a rapid leading under the left arch and continuing downstream. After breaking out under the bridge we didnt really check downstream but there is a small partial log-jam up against the left wall about 50 metres or so downstream halving the width of the obvious line down the next part of the rapid.
Having 3 solo canoes on top of each other at this point was getting a bit tricky so I attempted to break out and let the bigger boats make the line, unfortuntely I just slowed down and got a bit hung up on rocks so I ended up temporarily broached on the log jam. I was able to work my way rightwards off it but I was aware it started out 50/50 whether the flow was going to take me left under it at first.
Big eddy directly under the bridge to plan your line from, should be no dramas if you actually bother to stop and look ahead, for some reason I/we didn't.

Other obstacle of note that doesn't seem to be mentioned in the guide is a pretty big weir as you enter Hamilton (100m above the takeout if egressing in Hamilton). Level was low so we were able to portage by climbing through fallen trees and flat water on the right but I didn't see any obvious weakness or discontinuity that would make a suitable chute to run it. Would be much more worrying at higher levels where water would be flowing all the way accross the right side and amongst the trees we climbed round using. The river is still sort of in a gorge at this point and options to climb out and portage appear very limited - probably need to paddle upstream and tackle some steep ground?
Maybe we were just being wussy, but this weir just didn't look friendly and we were surprised it hadn't been mentioned in the guide (we had noticed it when parking the cars but didn't check it as no hint that it might be a problem).

These obstacles aside this is a surprisingly pleasant grade 3 paddle through a deep wooded gorge in Chatelherault country park (pronounced Shat-le-roo for those not from the area, mind you you are probably pronouncing Avon wrong anyway - A'an!).

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