GUIDE TO THE RIVER EDEN
(Lazonby to Armathwaite)
NAME OF RIVER: Eden.
WHERE IS IT?: North Cumbria. It eventually reaches the sea at Carlisle.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The section I have done is from Lazonby, NY 5503 4039, to Armathwaite weir, NY 5036 4539. There is a car park on river left on the Lazonby side of the bridge. From the M6 junction 41. Turn East B5305. After a mile, at an island, turn left A6. Continue to Plumpton. Turn right B6413 for Lazonby. Pass straight through the village, down a hill. As the road meets the river there is a car park on the right just before the bridge. Park by the no canoeing sign.
You need a map to find Armathwaite! Park on the road towards Lazonby outside the village. Egress is river left above Armathwaite weir. Follow the footpath through the field to the road. You are not supposed to use the farm road!
You can also carry on paddling downstream to the Bridge just 500m or so below Armathwaite weir, if you either paddle or portage the weir (best to Portage River right). Egress here river right onto PROW and onto the road, where there is suitable parking, but during busy times spaces could be limited.
Transfers can also be done via the train for this trip.
APPROX LENGTH: The trip is about 5 miles in length.
TIME NEEDED: 3 hours?
ACCESS HASSLES: There is a highly restrictive antiquated access agreement, the details of which can be found here. "Permission" is obtained through the River Advisor. He is Jim Wilson at Carlisle Canoes, 41 Wigton Road, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA2 7AX. Access is normally available outside the fishing season ie. mid October to end of March. One would question why this "agreement" is still in force given Canoe England's stated policy of 365-day agreements unless proven environmental reasons prevent paddling.
See also, comments made below.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Trip runs at most levels but this gauge is useful: https://www.riverlevels.uk/eden-musgrave-great-musgrave-bridge#.WP9Klfnyu71
GRADING: 2, or 3 in high water.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees. Weir.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river is mostly grade 2 with some rapids which reach grade 3 at high water levels. This is Nunnery rapid about half way. Look out for red squirrels.
Towards the end there are some rock carvings on a cliff face river right. There could obviously be trees in the river but none of the rapids is particularly dangerous at normal levels. However, watch out for Armathwaite weir, not to be shot without a careful look and much thought. Left hand side of the weir is generally more preferable than the river right, which is way more technical. Portage river right or get out to inspect here.
OTHER NOTES: This is one of my favourite rivers. It would be suitable for open boats. Anybody paddled other stretches of it?
Rob Byrne did not have a good experience on this river...'I paddled it a couple of times and I personally won't do it again. As a river it runs at about grade 2 on average though there are one or two grade 2/3s thrown in too. Its quite scenic and worth doing at least once though to my mind there are annoying things (hence why I won't do it again)...
The access is awful. You get on and don't stop paddling. Playing is forbidden by the agreement. Breaking out is seen as 'playing' and frowned upon, as is stopping and having a break for lunch (even though the place where you stop is popular with walkers etc). The fishermen on the whole aren't very happy either; that is not to say that they all are (some were pleasant the last time I paddled it) but others weren't. One in particular challenged our right to be on the river and threatened to report us to the landowners because while some people were getting on after lunch (it's a long trip) others warmed up, 200m upstream of the fisherman. Access has to be obtained in advance from Carlisle Canoes for a specific date and a specific number of people. Hence you paddle it on that date or you don't paddle it at all, regardless of the level or weather. So you often paddle it at awful levels when it isn't worth doing. No matter how good the scenery is 3 hours of scraping is not fun! Finally access from the river at the end is just awkward. Rather than walk 25m to the road (along the track past the farmers house) you walk closer to 500m around numerous fields with livestock in them; not good with a red boat.... So the above is why I won't paddle it again.
It's well worth doing if you're into touring rivers since it isn't hard and the scenery is great. But the issues regarding access make it unworthwhile in my opinion. Still it's worth trying once just to make your own mind up. Oh a final point is that it's a bit remote.'
Mark Aitken (Jan 2004)...'Just paddled the Eden, as a club trip. We do it every year, and have never had any problems like those described on the web site. In the five years I have been doing it, I have never experienced problems with Fisherman, booking for a group has been very easy, and yes at low levels it is a bit of a scrape in places. In the whole this a beautiful river one that has to be done. The get out is a trek, and there are cows to contend with but hey things like that just add to the adventure. As for access concerns with playing, I have never had any issues. Breaking out etc. is part of running a river safely and as long as the group behave appropriately then there shouldn't be a problem. i.e. appropriate language and no excessive shouting.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Simon Carver, also Mark Aitken and Rob Byrne.
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what are the dangers that it is for canoeists safety?
still persisting in suggesting disabled paddlers cross several hundred yards of rough field when public footpath with good access is available at the bridge.