GUIDE TO ARTLE BECK
NAME OF RIVER: Artle Beck
WHERE IS IT?: A trib of the Lune, flows from near the Littledale scout camp into Caton. 15 mins from lancaster, M6 J34.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Go to the get out first which is the hump back bridge between Caton and Brookhouse (SD534644, Multimap). Drive over the bridge and turn right at the BlackBull in brookhouse. Follow this road up into the Littledale until you see the scout camp (SD554622, Multimap).
APPROX LENGTH: 5km.
TIME NEEDED: 1 - 2 hours depending on trees and how often you micro eddy out.
ACCESS HASSLES: None when I have done it but it does flow through a private estate near the bottom.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs heavy localised rain before it goes (6 hours worth). Goes down just as quick. At the get out hump back bridge if the water is just touching the sides of the bridge underneath then this is the bare minimum (level pics taken at).
GRADING: Constant grade 4/4+ (bank full).
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: TREES! You best have your micro eddy technique up to scratch as trees are very common. I remember two notable trees, but due to the steep sided valley more could have fallen in.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: From the put in its about 30 metres to the first drop. Easy option is to take the slide down the right, left does go but a friend bruised his ribs going that way! After this you pass the scout camp on the right and some reef like drops/slides appear. You are now in the wooded gorge with bank scouting not easy. Continuous rapids with a pernament log dam appear creating an S bend style rapid. After this more rapids lead you to the beginning of the private estate, marked by a sheep fence right across the river, be on your toes for this in high water. Portage on river right keeping a low profile as you are now on the estate's land. Rejoin the river immediately and get ready for the must run weir/fall. When you see the estate house the weir is next/joined to it. Above it there is a nice pool so paddle over to the right to have a look. It is bowl shaped so wherever you run it you will pretty much end up in the same place at the bottom. I believe the drop at the bottom of it is undercut so just a word of warning. The action is now over with approx 1 km of gentle rapids down to the get out.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Anthony Shaw.
Very large tree blockage 2.5m high and 6 m wide at he S bend with the 2 big boulders. Best portage option is over the top, but in medium / high water might be tricky crossing the river to get to it, as pull out is on opposite bank.
One other tree across the river needs portaging about 600m downstream. Dear fence gone!
The bottom of the big weir seem to be eroding, so the edge of the final 2m drop is no longer regular. A slot has grown so that most water flows to the right into the recirculating eddy. This is hard to see from the top. Worse the recirculation in the eddy is now partly under the undercut the weir itself. No doubt this will get worse with time.
When paddling make every effort to be as far left as you can possibly be.
If you don't make it expect a big cushion on the cliff face and powerful bodily recirculation. The power out form the eddy if you can. Only possible recuse is from opposite bank with throw line and recirculating eddy is mostly under a cliff. Have pics but can't seem to add them.
The second major tree hazard comes not long after the log dam, there is a river wide tree with a slit inthe middle, the slot goes or its also possible to portage river left, some of the minor tree hazards are also river wide but are relatively straightforward to get in the right position to pass them, very worthwhile run, lots of fun but due to the dangerous trees you need a strong group.
On a plus note the massive tree just before the big cliff has moved and is now clear.