GUIDE TO THE LEAD MINES CLOUGH
NAME OF RIVER: Lead Mines Clough
WHERE IS IT?: Bolton way. It runs off Rivington Moor into Yarrow Reservoir.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in at GR SD633171, here. Take out here. Park at the big bridge going over Yarrow Reservoir, you should be able to find some space. From here, you will see a track blocked off by a gate which heads up the valley, follow this up and you will come to a bridge (50m up) Use this as a guide for water levels. To get from here to the put in, follow the path further up which again will come to another bridge, cross this bridge and then you will see two paths, one which follows the river which is the best option to take if you want to scout the river on the way up. This is hard work with boats. For an easier option, take the path which heads up the hill to the left, you will come to a memorial, keep heading up the hill, then this should start to drop down, and you will see a bridge with a big waterfall. This is the put in and the quickest way there.
APPROX LENGTH: 1km in total. You can head slightly higher up if the levels are really high (only about 50m but it is a good warm up).
TIME NEEDED: If you know the river, then 30 mins for the walk up, then 5 minutes for the run down. I'd advise lots of inspection and a walk up the river maybe before you put on. You may be glad you did!
ACCESS HASSLES: No access hassles that I know of.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Your best chances of catching it at a decent level is after a very heavy downpour and whilst it's raining. If not, then you're against the clock. It drops off extremely quickly due to the gradient and nature of the river. If you stand by the bridge at the get out, and there looks to be about a foot deep of water, then you're good to go. Anything more ups the game.
GRADING: 3/4/5(?) - Constant Grade 4 due to little stopping and gradient and general style of river, with two notable drops, the big one at the get in 5 (?) and then 500m lower down, the 30 ft water fall again 5(?)
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The big slide at the put in, directly under/after the bridge. There is a fence below the bridge, but it is possible to put in directly below the bridge and run straight into the 25-ft (?) slide. Following this is some nice continuous, steep low volume grade 4. The second notable danger is a portage for most I'd imagine. This is roughly 500m down river. A 30-ft free fall landing into a deep plunge pool, but is very small. This even closes up in higher water. We've run the drop at an angle before (river right to left) which seems to go easier than it sounds. Make your own inspection, portage river left. Then grade three rapids for 200m takes you to a low bridge, you'll be able to inspect on the walk up. One nice grade 4+ slide and drop, and then get out just after this. Also, the river runs through a forest, watch out for bits of trees that may have come down.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Lead Mines Clough is a beautiful little river. It runs off Rivington Moor which is a big peat bog. It needs torrential down pours and runs off extremely quickly but will hold a base level for a while, not really enough to float a boat, but some drops may go. It's also good for gorge walking.
The general style of the river is extremely fast and looses a lot of gradient in a short space of time due to its smooth Limestone rock bed. There's some tasty drops/sections which shouldn't be under estimated, they have broken boats and people! There isn't much space on this river and groups can get split up very easily. I wouldn't like to paddle with more than three or four people on this run. Swimming isn't an option. Bank access is actually quite good all the way down, with lots of footpaths around the area.
If Lead Mines Clough is up, maybe check out Yarrow river?
OTHER NOTES: I'd advise not leaving anything on show in your car as there is usually broken glass at the side.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Rick Atkinson.