GUIDE TO THE RIVER EDEN

(Wetherall Weir)

NAME OF RIVER: Eden.

WHERE IS IT?:On the river Eden 5km east of Carlisle, just south of the A69. From M6 junction 43 follow the A69 east for 3km, go into a 40mph zone and down a steep hill and turn right towards Wetheral before the bridge. The weir is visible from the road 500m further on your left, just before a large layby.

Map.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Park in the large layby on the B6263 halfway between Wetheral and the A69. Walk 25m downstream to the weir.

APPROX LENGTH: It's a playspot.

TIME NEEDED: An hour or two, or until the levels change and it stops working, or until it gets too dark to paddle if the breaking wave in the middle is working.

ACCESS HASSLES: The weir is an environment agency salmon counter and the Environment Agency has asked that people don't run the middle channel of the weir. The river here is an exclusive fishing beat and you're probably not allowed to be there, so be friendly to the fishermen and try to keep well away from them (don't paddle upstream or downstream of the weir if people are fishing there). Don't annoy them in case it upsets the access agreement upstream.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Phone 0906 619 7733 (EA Rivercall North West service). Select option 1 (Eden, Kent and Derwent levels). Listen for the level of the Eden in Great Corby. It is updated at 4am and 4pm. Calls cost about 25p (60p per minute). You get the height in metres above normal summer flows. It's only worth paddling if the levels are right - the best levels are from about 0.69m and above. I don't know what it's like above 1m. It comes up soon after a few days of rain in East Cumbria or the Lakes. It drops off again within 3 days. We often paddle it the day after levels have been high in the Lakes.

GRADING: Not really suitable for beginners (see hazards).

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Immediately below the weir is a river wide line of anti-scour boulders which are usually just submerged and you will hit them if you roll. In medium-high water you don't usually hit them.

At some levels there is a gnarly walled-in stopper in the middle channel which you will probably want to avoid. It holds boats and might hold swimmers. Some people like playing in it--its like the side channels but with deeper, faster water, a bigger pile, and no escape at the ends.The weir consist of three 15m-wide channels. There is a concrete bank on river left. There is always water in the middle channel. The outside channels are symmetrical--every move you can do on one side in the left channel, you can do on the other side in the right one.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The weir consist of three 15m-wide channels. There is a concrete bank on river left. There is always water in the middle channel. The outside channels are symmetrical--every move you can do on one side in the left channel, you can do on the other side in the right one. Green waves, breaking waves, and stoppers form in all the channels at the right levels:

0m (Normal summer levels, no water flowing down side channels.) There is a fast green wave above a hole in the middle channel. Apparently it's not worth paddling. You would hit rocks if you rolled.

0.22m: 5cm of water flowing down side channels. Green wave in middle channel, you can front-surf it if your boat is fast enough. You can surf the hole downstream of the wave but you'll hit the rocks if you roll.

0.5m, 0.45m: Not worth paddling. 15cm of water flowing down side channels. 2 green waves in the middle channel - too fast to surf in playboats. You'd hit rocks if you rolled.

0.69m: This is the best level I've paddled it at--the middle wave is breaking at the edges, but with a green tongue through the middle. You can surf green waves in the side channel to get to the middle wave which is big (look behind and all you see is the wave above you) and fast and and friendly and great for carving about and flat spinning, and just sitting and feeling the water rush past. It's almost like the wave at the Bitches.

0.73m: Middle channel is a walled-in breaking wave, it doesn't look as unfriendly as at higher levels though. There is some water flowing down the side channels that forms a regular 0.5m-high green wave that you can front-surf forever (a few centimetres higher and the wave is breaking along most of it's length and might be quite good for flat spins, etc). You will hit the rocks if you roll off it.

0.8m and 91m: We usually paddle it at this level. Middle channel is a horrible walled-in hole. There is water flowing down the side channels and just overflowing onto the concrete bank. This level forms a regular breaking wave that becomes more retentive the higher it is. The easiest spot for flat spinning is a shoulder right next to the bank. You can flat spin (paddles optional) and blunt, but sometimes hit the bottom of the channel. You can side surf forever, or escape at either end. You're unlikely to hit the rocks if you roll.

? A bit less than 2.34m: A 0.5m high breaking wave forms which is almost river-wide. All the walls, and the concrete banks, are underwater. The eddies aren't very good. I've never paddled it at this level.

2.34m Washed out, a small wave forms.

OTHER NOTES: There is an illustrated guide here and and lots of photos here. Does anyone know what it's like above 1m?

CONTRIBUTED BY: Tom Botterill, http://carlislecanoeclub.org.uk.

 

 

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