GUIDE TO BARBON BECK
NAME OF RIVER: Barbon Beck
WHERE IS IT?: Tributary of the Lune in between Sedburgh and Kirkby Lonsdale off the A683.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Drive through the village of Barbon up the valley. The road crosses a stream and parking can be found on the left near a footbridge at SD 657 828. Take out just west of Barbon where there is a big layby just before the A683 on river left at SD 625 826.
APPROX LENGTH: 4km
TIME NEEDED: 1-2hrs with the portage.
ACCESS HASSLES: It's pretty remote at the put-in, and all the villagers seemed happy to see us in Barbon.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This is a spate run, so recent heavy rain is needed. If you can float at the put-in or get-out, the rest will be fine.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: About 1km into the woods there is a 4+ fall, followed by some big rapids and then the 5 (the Witches Cauldron), which is a slide into a boily pool followed by a slide at a right angle out. All had trees in when we did it, leading to a portage river left with ropes.
Trees will always be a problem as this goes through woodland, keep your eyes peeled, the eddies can be small.
Sheep fences are found at the beginning and end. The one at the put in is a portage. Near the end most had been washed away or could be ducked, but be aware.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A fun spate ditch with a continuous feel. Grade 2/3 at the start leads into woodland. The river picks up after a km or so leading to a series of slabs near some footbridges. Keep your eyes pealed for trees and the crux rapids which most will portage and all will if the tree problem persists! We portaged the first fall up the bank on the river left, then lowered boats back down next to the 5. From here a fun seal launch can be done, sliding down next to the 5 and avoiding the boily pool by landing in the exit rapid.
Once clear of the woods there are series of sheep fences to be ducked and some more grade 3 rapids through the village. Beware the last drop which is a small slot funnelling river right which will hold a boat and swimmer (as I found to my cost!) The take out is 200m on the left after this.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jim Pullen.