GUIDE TO THE RIVER DUDDON

(Birk's Bridge to Seathwaite)

NAME OF RIVER: Duddon.

WHERE IS IT?: South West lakes in Dunnerdale.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Many. Put in at Birks Bridge. See Lower Duddon section for take-outs.

APPROX LENGTH: 4 miles to Long House Gill.

TIME NEEDED: 1.5 hours or more.

ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: It needs heavy rain. There is an online EA gauge at Ulpha, for this section, calibrations are roughly - Low: 0.80m, Medium 1.00m, High 1.20m (less needed for the section below).

GRADING: Grade 3 to 5.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS:

1. Narrow slot above Birks Bridge grade 5.

2. Troutal farm falls grade 5+ ( most will portage) .

3. Wallowbarrow Gorge grade 4 and 5.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This river has a good reputation which is well justified. Heavy rain is needed to make it paddleable, in spate conditions it is fast and furious. Many will get in below Birks Bridge via a good seal launch, the grade 5 slot immediately above is not very inviting without a warm up. The small gorge has numerous siphons and potholes forming a major hazard. Do you feel lucky?

A few twists, turns and small drops lead to Troutal Farm falls, a nasty grade 5+ most will portage. It is unrunnable in low water levels anyway, as most of the flow sumps under rocks. Get out river left on a right hand bend to inspect when a large 'forked' crag on the left is visible, don't miss it!. 2 -3 k of twisty, bouldery grade 3 and 4 follow which can be run without prior inspection in low-med water and would probably be hard to stop on in spate.

A huge boulder in the middle of the river marks the start of Wallowbarrow Gorge, a grade 4 and 5 section which gets progressively harder. At low to medium levels it consists of a series of small drops between and around large boulders with numerous pin opportunities, although bank/ or "boulder support" is readily set up. The final drop has boulders at the base which tends to trip and punish the challenger. In high water the gaps will fill in, although inspection and care are required. A short section of easier water leads to the confluence with Long House Gill and the lower section described elsewhere in this guide.

OTHER NOTES: It's well worth carrying on down to the sea using the lower Duddon.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Bob Evans and Mark Rainsley.

 

 

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: RIVER DUDDON (Birk's Bridge to Seathwaite) -- PMB
2015 May 06 11:48:02 AM
Be aware of a tree across 2/3 of the river in Wallowbarrow Gorge. It can be sneaked river right, and is visible from upstream at medium/high flows but you would not want to be swept onto it. The tree is about half way down the gorge - you may wish to boat scout from above if the river is low, or walk down river right and have a look if the Duddon's flowing at pace.
Re: RIVER DUDDON (Birk's Bridge to Seathwaite) -- Lancs_lad
2013 Oct 25 05:16:50 PM
Paddled today at a low level (0.75). There appears to be some sort of tree/branch just under water in the pool for the final drop out of wallabarrow gorge. I cant say a size as only an inch of branch was breaking the surface. We all paddled it but kept our boats on the surface. Something to be aware of.
Re: RIVER DUDDON (Birk's Bridge to Seathwaite) -- Lancs_lad
2012 Nov 25 05:16:17 PM
Vid showing a low level - click click
Re: -- Poke
2008 Dec 23 04:06:25 PM
"Jim Pullen" wrote:
"Helen Wigmore, 16/12/06" wrote:
16th Dec 2006 (low water) – There was a tree blocking the Duddon (Birk's Bridge to Seathwaite section), a short distance below Troutal Farm falls – easily portaged on both banks.


I don't remember this the last couple of times I did this section, anyone know if it's still there?


Yeah, it's still there but following a fair bit of pruning work means it's pretty easy to skirt on the right hand side.. or over the central rock in medium/high water and above.
No subject -- Jim Pullen
2008 Nov 23 01:30:47 PM
"Helen Wigmore, 16/12/06" wrote:
16th Dec 2006 (low water) – There was a tree blocking the Duddon (Birk's Bridge to Seathwaite section), a short distance below Troutal Farm falls – easily portaged on both banks.


I don't remember this the last couple of times I did this section, anyone know if it's still there?
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