Best ''missions'' in the UK

Inland paddling
Post Reply
Duncan Stewart96
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:05 pm

Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Duncan Stewart96 »

Hey guys, been trying to tick off as many exploratory runs as I can in Scotland recently which got me wondering what good 'adventure' paddles there are in the rest of the UK. Examples from Scotland include long remote runs like the Uisge Dubh/Ling which are hard to access but super rewarding with really classy whitewater, as well as really involved committing runs like the Cuileig and Affric needing a bit of nerve/ropework. I haven't run it yet but the Eidart/Feshie would also be a good example. Plenty of other wee projects up in the north highlands both known and little known which i'm keen to get around to.

I saw a video recently from a friend of mine of the Afon Pysgotwr Fawr (I think that's the spelling...) in Wales which seemed to fit the bill, not run very often and with a big walk in which made me think it might be a useful thread idea. I feel the UK often gets overlooked a bit as a place for adventurous and exploratory paddling, but there's some really good stuff tucked away in hidden corners of OS maps.

I know the north and west of Scotland pretty well and have wasted plenty of time scouring maps.... but there must be stuff elsewhere in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK for remote and challenging rivers. Although I wouldn't recommend the Ailnack Gorge, it's pretty pish...

Anyone got any good examples?

(Please don't suggest the Dart...)

User avatar
banzer
Posts: 3309
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 11:37 pm
Location: Harrogate, Yorkshire
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by banzer »

Duncan Stewart96 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:24 pm

Anyone got any good examples?

(Please don't suggest the Dart...)
Sorry to break it to you but there are actually some good missions on Dartmoor! Basically involving carrying your boat through the pouring rain vaguely uphill through the bogs until you find one of the headwaters of the various rivers eg Okemont, Tavy, Taw, East Dart. Maybe not quality WW, but good missions. Plus on Exmoor you can do the headwaters of the East Lyn down to the sea, at which levels the East Lynn gorge is a solid 5 or worse!

Not that many in Wales as there are usually little roads everywhere that negate the need for a long walk-in. However there's the ones near Llyn Brianne you mentioned and a few others dotted about. Walk-ins yes, big missions, not so many.

N Ireland unfortunately I have no idea about!

Your 'classics' in Scotland are the Ossian / Ghuilbain combo now with bonus hydro scheme that ruins things at lower levels but apparently might be a help at higher levels (anecdotal evidence), and the Kirkaig trip over the lochs from Elphin. Apart from the others you mention you have,

- Avon from Loch Avon
- Douchary
- Whole Roy including the tight canyons and falls way above the regular sections and (possibly) White Falls, if it goes. Finish with the Sporge, of course
- Upper Findhorn catchment? Lots of hydro and windfarm roads to follow, who's got the key?
- Tarff, but heavily affected by hydro now
- Anything in Knoydart, Kinloch Hourn area eg Arnisdale, Inverie
- Basically anything in the North West that involves carrying over a mountain!

I need to take a sabbatical year...
A. Boater wrote:It's all Pierre's fault
www.neviscanoes.co.uk

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13950
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 48 times

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Jim »

If you want remote and challenging, but not necessarily in a WW way, there is a well documented but not so often travelled coast to coast open canoe route from Kinlochleven to Perth. Some good steep portages to the watershed, and then if you are out of luck with rain/hydro you may have additional portages on the way back down but first part of the trip is pretty remote, apart from a railway, but it's not as handy as a road. Includes some less paddled (but accessible by road) sections - Garbh Gaoir, Gaur, Upper Tummel and then into the classic Tummel and Tay sections. We allowed 7 days to do it in canoe, but ended up with some prolonged cold weather, camps above the snowline and resulting lack of water in the rivers and by the end of the 5th day had only got half way so bailed out, but it can be done in about 5 days if your timing is better.

A more common alternative start is to jump on where the A82 crosses the river Ba on Rannoch moor and just do a downhill trip. I haven't heard of people starting further up the Ba, but there is an old drove road (runs from Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe) which is easily hikable (they used drive cattle along it on foot) and its bridge over the Ba is at an interesting looking gorge, I say interesting looking - I've only seen it frozen solid and have no idea if it goes, or is even just flat. If you follow the Ba further uphill on the map you will notice it starts just across the ridge from the Allt a Chaorainn, so if you want to hike over a mountain first, maybe ignore the drove road and start up the Allt a Chaorainn, or if you are a real sadist, start at Connel, up the Falls of Lora, Loch Etive and then up the Etive and Allt a Chaorainn - coast to coast!

Or how about a circular route? Again I have only seen the remote parts frozen and they may involve more hiking than paddling, but you could start at Inverawe, Part way up loch Etive, portage up a river (forget the name), over the watershed into Glen Shira (friends have biked it in reverse) and paddle down to Loch Tulla, Orchy, loch Awe and river Awe back to the car in a few days.

I've heard there are some interesting adventures to be had in QE forest park exploring headwaters/tributaries of the Forth, think it is fairly easy to get lost in the forest on your way in and end up on a different stream to the one you were aiming for. I've been biking in there and I have no idea how we found our way out again!

User avatar
banzer
Posts: 3309
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 11:37 pm
Location: Harrogate, Yorkshire
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by banzer »

Yes there are a few across the watershed missions.

- Upper Garry / Arkaig area
- Headwaters of the Meig, carry in from Glen Carron
- Upper Tees from Maize Beck (who will do this with me? highest altitude run in England, potentially)
A. Boater wrote:It's all Pierre's fault
www.neviscanoes.co.uk

User avatar
Neptune
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Doncaster
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Neptune »

Banzer,

Maze Beck to High force I take it. This looks like it would be a fun litte adventure, the kind I would be interested in doing with you. How much rain/water is needed for this to be viable to paddle or will it go if water is being released from Cow Green Reservoir?

Peter

User avatar
morsey
Posts: 6278
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 12:36 pm
Location: West Country :-)
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by morsey »

What's wrong with the Dart, at night? Or the Mellte or the Pyrddin...




#toughenup

Bod Bagby
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:42 am

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Bod Bagby »

We did the Upper Upper Walkham on Dartmoor recently with one of the well known Marks of this Parish. It had a wet,windy walk across an isolated part of Dartmoor, paddling on top of the moor, smashing through rhododendrons, a steep bit with lots of wood, with an eventual arrival downstream where you might see another paddler. Felt like a mission at the time. I guess it depends upon how much self-flagellation you want!

User avatar
Neptune
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Doncaster
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Neptune »

The firts time I ran the Upper dart was in the dark as we arrived late and did not want to wait until the following morning to run it and it was so much fun. Troutbeck (South) was another one that we ran in the dark the first time we ran it, again so much fun.

Peter

User avatar
feelingjustfine
Posts: 2186
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:05 pm
Location: yorkshire

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by feelingjustfine »

ultimate mission,
trying to find a half good looking girl in the pub after boating in the west highlands.
dam the dart :)

Sean_soup
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:17 pm
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 19 times

Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Sean_soup »

feelingjustfine wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:23 pm
ultimate mission,
trying to find a half good looking girl in the pub after boating in the west highlands.
It gets easier the longer you spend in the pub.

@Duncan

Did you see the link to the lovely wee programme on the BBC in that other thread:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m ... r-the-moor

If you watch the second episode too, halfway along the Northern shore of Loch Morar there's a glen where you can (relatively) easily portage over into Loch Nevis. (It's where they give up on the packrafts and start walking.)

Post Reply

Return to “Whitewater and Touring”