GUIDE TO THE GREENBURN BECK
NAME OF RIVER: Greenburn Beck
WHERE IS IT?: Central Lakes. Flows into little langdale tarn from the back of wetherlam.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put-in: A walk in. Take the Wrynose road at the end of Little Langdale. A park next to the small footbridge over a beck next to the road. This is located between the road junction and farm around 200 meters from the junction from the 'blea tarn' road. Walk along this track to check levels (this bit is flat!). Continue by following the track as it climbs left up the hill as your trying to pick up the track above this which leads up the valley. You can cut across some open fell to cut the corner and then slog up to the gate. This wall marks the divide between the harder upper section and the more moderate lower section. The track gets nearer the river, and you should get a good impression of where you want to get on (see below). (Multimap).
Egress: A walk out! Back the way you came on the track across the field.
APPROX LENGTH: 2km
TIME NEEDED: 3 hours.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Water level; It should be raining hard. Check the main beck before gettingon. If it looks like you can float without scraping then it's a go, but remember it going to take you a while to walk up and get down so it may drop/rise significantly.
GRADING: 5 at top easing to 4.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Falls and slides. Trees.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: As low volume Lakeland beck's go, this is a good one. The upper section is continuously pushy, down to a small footbridge, the lowers section is easier with continuous ramps and slides. However, this lower section enters the tree line, so branches and fallen trees are an issue. On the walk in you'll get a good view of the upper section, so just pick you spot to get on. The highest practical starting point is just below the old mine workings. The fall next to the mines are not possible. Just blow a large 'island' splits the channel and gives a choice of two unpleasant looking long slides. As the flow is split it would require a lot of water to make either possible and as far as is known these have not yet been run.
After the channels rejoin, the flow becomes stronger a short section of slides leads to the fall you will have been staring at on the way up. Closer inspection reveals three drops which must really be run together, imaginatively named 'triple falls'! The first drop is a 3-4 metre steep slide into a deep boiling pool, which has a constricted exit. The second drop is the exit from this pool, and is virtually impossible to generate any speed for, and not wide enough to get a good stroke in. Nasty. Third up is an easy 3 meter drop on the right, but the left hand channel has an ugly tree in it. There follow two angled slide/rapids. The first is 'Roller Toaster', which drops something like 6 metres over a 10 meter stretch. This has been run by taking the slab on the right at the top and rattling down the tight channel below, just making the chicane at the bottom. It would be a bad idea to roll through here! The next slide is less spectacular, but is still very awkward. The banks open out beyond here and you get some well earned respite. One 2m drop leads to the next gnarly bit above the footbridge. This is a tight double drop with an inconvenient bush below. The drop just below the footbridge forms part of the wall and has a metal girder across it. Although this is above the river level it would prevent a decent stroke on the lip, and the sides are viciously undercut. A portage will be even more appealing when you realise the next drop is completely blocked by a sump. From here the grade drops to a continuous 4+, with many slides a ramps. These should be checked for trees but otherwise it can be done by waving people through when its checked. Only the main ones are mentioned. Firstly a narrow slide has the feel of a tunnel as a large tree has dropped across the slot above. 5 minutes of sliding will lead you to a steeper drop (2-3 metres) which has pothole in the middle. Either right or left seems to avoid it. Five more minutes of easier slides leads to the next wall line. A rock band across the river holds the flow up before a one last large slide which loses 6 meters but is currently blocked by 2 large fallen trees. The slides finish now and bouldery rapids lead back down to the footbridge. This section needs a lot of water to be enjoyable. There are two steep sections that should be inspected (G4+) and constant danger from trees.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Ned.