RIVER BELAH

North of the Severn drainage, west of the Pennines
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Mark R
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RIVER BELAH

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Jim Pullen
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Re: RIVER BELAH

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I drove past this the other night and was wondering if many people had run it? I think Poke told me he had after doing the Upper Swale once, but that it wasn't worth the effort due to the severe tree problem. If anyone fancies going in there with saws and clearing it during this spring/summer let me know and we'll see about getting a few people together as it sounds like it has the potential to be really good!

My other query was to do with the tribs. There seemed to be a ton of water coming down one of them opposite the road. Looking at the maps now I'm guessing I may have been looking at either Blueberry Beck or Middlegill Sike. As Blueberry Beck has three marked waterfalls including Blueberry Force (NY848078, click zoom twice), I think it was more likely to be that. So has anyone wandered up there and had a look? Runnable falls/slides or not?
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!
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Rockrat
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Re: RIVER BELAH

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I've warked into the Belah only once and walked away pretty sharpish. The Swale was flowing well and not much was happing in the Belah. Did look to have some potential from what I saw.
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Gorge Walking and Gardening

Post by Jim Pullen »

So I had a few hours to spare this afternoon and decided to gorge walk the Belah with my friendly bow saw.

I walked in from the Bridleway at 869091 alongside Potter Sike and into Woofergill scar. The beck is too small for a kayak (even in spate) until 860088 where the first major beck comes in. Below here there's a series of small falls:

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The next major Beck to come in is Bleaberry Beck at 857089. There was a fence at the bottom with lots of flotsam caught up in it, indicating that this beck may have a decent flow coming down it occasionally! There are at least two waterfalls marked on the map, but I didn't have time to climb any higher. The walls of the river close in here, but the beck isn't particularly steep, with no noticeable falls:

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This gorge seems to be a home to several million of these surprisingly tame little furry things:

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The Beck is then flat as it leaves the gorge, with a sheep fence about where the guide suggests putting on. After about 300m there's then a wire fence across the river followed by Belah Falls (851095) which is the entry rapid to the first tree-lined gorge:

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Fortunately there's no trees currently fallen in this bit. After a few hundred metres it opens up again. There were a couple of small trees across the river around this area, but they got the Titchmarsh treatment!
After the river meanders and Great Stowgill enters from the left, there's another wire fence across the river. Entering the tree-lined gorge after this I saw the first of the major tree-blockages. There were approximately 4 large trunks fallen and stuck some 4ft above the river bed. I "weeded" out all the small branches which were pointing down into the river and made sure there were no snag hazards left on the underside of the trunks. A chainsaw would be required to get rid of these beasts properly. At low or medium flows a sneak line through this should now be possible:

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After this is another small fall, which was clear of trees:

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When the gorge opens up a bit there are three big trees lying right across the river:

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These were too big for my saw, again chainsaws needed! However in medium/high flows you should be able to float right over them.

Pearly gates was the next major rapid at 842098. Unfortunately, this had a big tree right across the two boulders forming the gates and would have been very difficult to run. However, 20 mins pruning took about 4ft off the end of this branch leaving the left line on the fall open:

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Below this the river was clear of river-wide trees until this one, another chain saw job, maybe passable at high flows:

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I ran out of time and walked out at the footpath at 838105 (Powleyclose Bridge), the right angle falls were clear of trees however.

Hopefully I'll head back and check out the lower half of the river later in the summer, but I think my pruning has already had a positive effective on the appeal of this run for the next time it gets some water in it!
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!
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