NAME River Cotter
WHERE IS IT
Towards the head of Wensleydale, not far from Hawes.
A short way up the single track road to Cotterdale. Park where the road conveniently runs right alongside the river (SD 837 928). Take out at the roadbridge where the Cotter meets the Ure, where there are a couple of large laybys (SD 850 916). Surely one of the easiest shuttles in the country.
APPROX LENGTH 2km
TIME NEEDED 1-2 hrs
None of note but a low profile is advised if using the small bridge above Cotter Force to portage, as this is just beyond the end of the public access up from the fall.
Plenty of recent rain, but quite a large catchment so seems to hold for a while. We paddled it at the end of Storm Dennis in 2020, when things were starting to drop off, but Aysgarth further down the valley was still high. Should be flowing fairly well under the A684 road bridge with a few rocks showing. If there are no rocks showing then definitely walk up to check the main fall!
Like a mini-Upper Swale! This easily-accessed run has three nice ledge drops followed by Cotter Force, a large stepped fall that looks gnarly at first sight but goes really well. You may want to portage the narrow entry fall under the small bridge river right, and seal launch back in from slabs also river right, immediately above the main drop. This is a point-and-shoot affair that seems to go any which way. Watch out for the false lip at the end that might spoil your final boof for the camera.
Cotter Force is easily inspected via the footpath from the bridge on the A684. You can walk round to the top of the gorge on river left; it's not that easy to scout from here in summer time with all the vegetation! Can be combined with the Upper Clough, or Upper Eden, as well as other Wensleydale runs.
CONTRIBUTED BY Rich Bannister ('banzer')
Photos show lower levels. Matt Carey on first ledge drop
Benn Goodwill on second ledge
Ryan Fairhurst on Cotter Force