GUIDE TO THE RIVER DERWENT
(Derwentwater to Bassenthwaite Lake)
NAME OF RIVER: Derwent.
WHERE IS IT?: NW Lake District, near Keswick. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in on Derwentwater or on the Greta in Keswick. Alternative access at the footbridge in Portinscale (254237). There are a couple of small rapids between the confluence with the Greta and the bridge.
Egress at Low Stock Bridge (236268). Contact the Calvert Trust (017687 72254) for permission. Do not park cars in the lane which leads to the bridge or at the bridge. The river below Low Stock Bridge and the SW end of Bassenthwaite Lake is a Nature Reserve and officially a no-boating zone. Canoeists are requested not to pass through, especially during the nesting season (April-June) and while birds are wintering on the lake (December to February). If passing through, go straight out from the river mouth to the buoy. Egress may only be had at Peel Wyke harbour (GR 215284), or at Blackstock point or Hursthole point on the West shore.
A permit is required for Bassenthwaite, from the Lake District National Park. Permits are available from the National Park Blencathra Centre above Threlkeld, the National Park Discovery Centre at Lake Road in Keswick, the Swan Hotel at Thornthwaite, Scotgate Caravan Site at Braithwaite or Herdwick Croft at Ouse Bridge where the lower Derwent leaves Bassenthwaite. There is a small charge (under-16s free).
APPROX LENGTH: 7 km to Bassenthwaite Lake.
TIME NEEDED: 1.5 - 2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Steve Lenartowicz, BCU River Advisor... (Spring 2006) 'The Keswick Anglers' Association have the fishing rights for most of the Greta and the Derwent down to Bassenthwaite Lake. There is an access agreement in operation and it is important that canoeists demonstrate their integrity by keeping to the agreement. The agreement is here.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: There is a level meter by the campsite on the right. We did the river in one metre of water and were fine. Any less and it would be a scrape at the Bassenthwaite end.
GRADING: Grade 1/2.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees, possibly fences.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Easy touring. Fast flowing river with not many rapids of any interest. There is a small weir downstream from the get-in, good to play in - not very big, but it's possible to get vertical.
Trevor, Stockton and Thornaby Canoe Club (Feb 07)...'Paddled this river on 20/02/07 lake level was good but not high, no scrapes on route, the last description calls it a 1.5-2hrs paddle but it only took my son and myself 1hr to complete to Low Stock bridge at a sedate pace and the get out is a little difficult to access, more of a forest track than a road and more suited to a 4X4 than a family car especially in wet weather also easy to miss from the road, we put in at the campsite on the lake, a great starting point as you can paddle on the lake before entering the river, Ideal for 1st timers on moving water in both the lake and the river. Calvert Trust number has changed (017687)72255 they will log your trip details.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Steve Lenartowicz and Anthony Robinson.
The floods last year have created a number of significant hazards with the main flow passing through fallen trees and at least one wire fence. All can be easily portaged.