GUIDE TO USWAY BURN
NAME OF RIVER: Usway Burn
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in above (or below) Davidson’s Linn, NT 884 157, Take out at the confluence with the Coquet, NT 886 077, but it probably makes sense to continue down the upper Coquet for about 1k taking in the G3/4 sections of Linbrigg Gorge and Corkscrew fall and get out below Linbrigg road bridge, NT 891 065.
Access to the put in is via forestry track, NT 860 114 drive to this track as it’s the only one of the many that gets your shuttle done! This track is reached by following the Coquet upstream eventually turning right up a track that passes two small farms marked as Trows and Rowhope on the OS Explorer map. A ford is then crossed, OK for cars at medium 0.6 gauge flows, but take care at higher levels. Follow the track up to NT 880 142 where a fork is reached, park here. To access Davidson’s Linn follow the left fork on foot, across a locked gate, uphill through the forest for about 1.5 K. After the gradient starts a slight decline take a descending path on the right for about 500m to Davidson’s Linn.
Those wishing a shorter trip missing Davidson’s Linn and the upper valley can get on at the open moorland section, NT 884 157, near a footbridge crossing.
APPROX LENGTH: 14km
TIME NEEDED: 4 to 5 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Access may be sensitive, so this run is suitable for small discrete groups only. The track up has some Private/MOD/Forestry signs; there is only room to leave one car at the top.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: It needs to be fairly wet to get this running but it comes up well after descent rainfall. A good visual gauge is the small pipe bridge at end of Usaway beck and the confluence with the upper Coquet, NT 886 077, Ideally the water needs to be flowing over the top of the pipe bridge at this point, the upper Coquet will be proper bank full and running fast. There is an Environment Agency Gauge for Usway Burn, it’s probably runnable from 0.3m , medium flows 0.6 and high flows above 0.7m.
GRADING: The river is fast flowing all the way, mostly G3 with numerous sections of G3+ and a few G4`s
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The get in at Davidson’s Linn 10m(approx) fall. There are couple of fence portages and a tree portage in the wooded section. A nasty double drop weir just before the confluence with the Coquet , most will portage.
A fantastic adventure in a very isolated valley. The river is narrow and fast flowing for the full distance with nearly constant interest for the full 14K. The get in at Davidson’s Linn is a superb start, a 10m(approx) drop with a slightly tricky lead in and a slight ramp half way down to fire you into a nice pool. The next 1.5 K is down a steep and fast flowing narrow valley, mainly grade 3, with two harder small drops and a fence portage. This leads into a flatter section of open moorland, see alternative put in, which is followed by a forest section. There is a fence portage at the start of the forest followed by a tree portage after a G4 double drop. The gradient picks up again here and continues “down hill” all the way to the get out. Numerous ledges and small drops G3/4 provide constant interest all the way, beware, some have fairly sticky holes. The weir just before the confluence with the Coquet can be inspected and portaged river left.
OTHER NOTES: Scouted by Stu Ridley 2012/13, ran on snow melt and overnight rain at 0.6 on the Usway Burn gauge on 14th April 2013
CONTRIBUTED BY: Stu Ridley, Bob Evans, James Connor