(Alnwinton to Rothbury)


WHERE IS IT?: Northumberland, Alnwinton to Rothbury OS 1:50000 sheets 80 and 81.

PUT-INS/ TAKEOUTS: Put in at the road bridge at Low Alnwinton (Multimap) and take out at the car park on the south side of the river in Rothbury next to the road bridge.

Lee Hamiton notes...for a shorter journey a good put in would be at thropton bridge, parking access, only 200 yards walk to river. if you get a 0.5m above normal spate you get a nice bouncy grade 2 all the way, A good takeout is rothbury bridge,(foot bridge). near car park.

APPROX LENGTH: 22 km for entire section.

TIME NEEDED: 3 - 5 hours depending on flow.

ACCESS HASSLES: Covered under the Tyne access agreement.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs to be in spate. Phone the environment agency rivercall 09066197722-*-1. If the height given at Rothbury is more than 0.90 metres above normal summertime flow, then it is a good fast trip without any bumps and scrapes.

For the lower section, look below thropton bridge where there is a depth gage. you need it to be 0.5m above natural level.

There's an online EA gauge at Alwinton - does anyone know the calibrations for this? The one at Rothbury is presumably the same as the telephone gauge, but add 0.26m.

GRADING: II overall. The first few miles are definitely grade II in the conditions described above. After that the rapids are technically easy grade I, but there are objective dangers to negotiate such as fallen trees etc.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There is a strange bridge type construction by a small factory/ agricultural processing plant approximately 2.5 km downstream of Hepple road bridge which completely obstructs the river with all the water being funnelled through a series of pipes. This is not passable by canoe but is easily portaged on the right.

There are numerous fallen trees and low hanging branches throughout the length of the trip and in spate conditions, when this stretch best paddled, these hazards are particularly noticeable. You may find the river flowing through small wooded areas which should definitely be avoided. They are particularly dangerous as some of them contain low barbed wire fences. However experienced paddlers should have no difficulty in avoiding these.

Lee Hamiton: Overhanging trees, can be seen but keep a look out for rapids about half a mile down from thropton bridge.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The trip starts down a fairly continuous set of bouncy easy rapids and several sharp right hand bends where care must be taken to avoid being swept into the low hanging branches on the out side of the bend. There is one small (0.7m) natural weir of significance which is best shot on the right.

After this the rapids become much wider and more shallow as the river splits around numerous islands. You must be careful to choose the right line or else you might find yourself hopelessly pinned against one of the numerous trees. The river then meanders its way gently across the flood plain becoming technically easier all the time.

OTHER NOTES: There's a harder section above this running from as high up as Blindburn which is grade 4 in high water - page 148 in English White Water. Anyone run this and fancy sending a guide in? There's also further paddling downstream of Rothbury to Weldon Mill which could do with a site guide.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Rob Cowley and Lee Hamilton.