GUIDE TO THE RIVER DOE
NAME OF RIVER: River Doe (AKA The Waterfalls Walk) Beezley Falls and Baxter Gorge.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: In the village of Ingleton there is a road bridge going over the River Greta next to the car park for the Waterfalls walk. A very steep road leads up the river left bank just after (or before depending upon the direction travelling) before the bridge. Follow this road to where it flattens off near the farm at the top and park here, on the way to Twistleton Scar Crag (Very limited parking in a muddy lay by, 2-3 cars max). Please do not block access to the farm. The river will be visable on the right. Follow the path down to the river.
APPROX LENGTH: 2 km to end of falls? 4 km all the way to Ingleton?
TIME NEEDED: 1 hours.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: See below.
GRADING: Stuart Millers guide to the Lake District grades this as a 6 with a note that several sections remain un runnable. This is definitely true when the river is stonking in fact its probably 6+ at these levels! However everything has been run, having said that this river should carry a health warning. In Med/Med+ levels its probably serious 4/5+ with a possible portage. This river rises and falls extremely quickly and can catch people out and dramatically changes the grade. Due to the water being forced through narrow gorges it can rise and fall again by 8 foot within an hour!
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Erm...all of it. Deep gorges where safety is hard or impossible to set up, Stoppers, undercuts, and getting out to portage or Inspect, also trees. Its probably worth walking down to Baxter Gorge (approx 1 km) to have a look into the gorge. A bridge crosses it and will give you an idea of what youre letting your self in for.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Put in at the fall just upstream of where the path meets. The first fall is approx 4 meters high and drops into a deep pool.
Falling out of the pool is a small ramp/drop which is easy but leads into a 3-4 meter fall where all the water goes river left into a narrow slot approx 1 meter wide and falls into a constricted pool with the worry of getting wiped out on the cliff that sticks out directly in front of where you are likely to land. The pool again is quite deep. In decent levels a much easier line opens up on river right missing the main difficulties.
Following on pretty much immediately is another ramp on river right just below the footpath that bends leftwards. Easier rapids (for about 20meteres anyway!) lead to the start of Baxter Gorge.
Baxter Gorge is pretty serious stuff once it starts to get a bit of water coming through. The first half is approx 1-3 meters wide and is over 80 foot down in the gorge. (easily seen from Baxter Gorge footbridge) It has two drops at the start which land in cauldrens with vicious stoppers and undercuts (not the place to go for a bath). Following this is the run down under the bridge which may have the odd tree across the gorge. Although not appearing as hard as what is above the walls are undercut and a couple of tight turns could make things sketchy. In high water this is an impressive sight with massive boils exploding and surging up the walls.
Below here it opens up a bit (for a very brief period) with a large gravel bank on the river right and a chance to escape? (memory a little hazy Sorry!) Soon afterwards the river enters the lower gorge, and more madness follows with a fall that needs to be run on the left off a ramp (boof!) as a big stopper and nasty cliffs lies in wait on river right (well actually the stopper lies in wait where ever you go). Another big fall follows with what can be a tricky lead in. This drop has numerous boulders in the plunge pool and is hard to inspect/portage and at certain water levels will be impossible to portage.
After a while the river eases off to a fast grade 4 back to Ingleton (If the river is low then this section will be un runnable and you will need to walk back to the top).
Anyone wanting to do this river should have a recce when the river is very low as you need to know exactly where to go and may not be able to stop when it has water in it. Also a lot of lines that look feasible have nasty hidden horrors which you probably wont see unless its low water.
OTHER NOTES: Check out Al Steel's awesome climbing/ caving shop/ caf/ climbing wall, its called Inglesport and is in the village of Ingleton. Definitely one of the best indoor climbing walls around.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Andrew Clough.
We ran it yesterday at medium levels and it was just possible to stop at the tree and climb over it. Swimming at this point would have dire consequences.
Much higher and there would be no way of stopping, again not worth thinking about.