GUIDE TO THE RIVER HINDBURN
NAME OF RIVER: Hindburn.
WHERE IS IT?: About 15 miles up the Lune Valley from the M6 near Lancaster. Try here for a map.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Start at the highest road access, near Lowgill village (SD 6504 6400), see map! Take-out is in the village of Wray (SD 6055 6746), or at a bridge half a mile above village.
APPROX LENGTH: 5 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 2-3 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: I've paddled this in lowish levels, which was pleasant. However, apparently this river is best in spate. I don't know of any indicators other than looking at the amount of flow in Wray village.
GRADING: In low water, it was grade 3 BUT with one notable fall, grade 4. I understand that in high water many sections reach grade 4 and the big fall is grade 5.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There is a stepped 4-5 metre waterfall...see below. Trees in the river are not uncommon.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A good trip in low water, I understand it's storming in high water! Notable falls include a series of natural weir slides forming a long steep rapid with good play waves/ stoppers at the ends of the slides. The one to watch for is near the end of the trip; a stepped 4-5 metre waterfall at 623675 (OS map 97). The river bends right below a footbridge...you MUST get out above the bridge or you're probably committed to running the fall blind. In low water it was straight-forward but I'm told it's fearsome in high water..."it was okay, I just got looped a few times". Below the fall are some little drops which form play stoppers.
Mike Hayward (Dec 2003)...'The so-called class V fall on the Hindburn is formed by ledges in the river bank. It is always sensible to inspect as stopping after the footbridge 100m upstream is extremely difficult. The top fall is onto a bedding plane in the rocks and it would be impossible to backloop there as the water can not be deep enough. With any water at all you go so fast that you can not do much besides run it flat. I have run this drop at all levels, the higher the water, the more intimidating but I have never seen anyone ever capsize on the drop - so although it looks V paddling skills, probably III as long as you can point your boat straight down river.'
Nigel Crompton paddled the river recently (Dec '99)...'There are a great many trees in the river. Most have been in the river for some time and fetched up on the outside of bends. Apart from these it would be a good river for the not too experienced. Your memory of the waterfall drop is accurate. Pass the bridge and you're "doing" it. It was a funny water level yesterday, in that we couldn't see a clear, good route down. Insufficient to run it on the right as advised by the member of our group who'd done it before, but too much to run "hey-diddle-diddle" without a backloop on the first drop. Wouldn't want to run the second drop anything other than in a boat and upright. Second drop seen from the river is MUCH bigger than it seems from above. Any way we walked, crossed the fence by a fisherman's stile, lowered boats to a ledge 4' above river, tricky seal launch (balancing boat) then 50m downstream came across a ramp leading down to riverbank. Doh!'
Nigel adds (June 2000)...'As of 04/06/00 there is a river wide strainer formed by a newly fallen tree completely spanning the river 50m below the second road bridge at 614676. To avoid it eddy out river right _immediately_ after the bridge and portage.'
OTHER NOTES: Don't do this trip without also doing the nearby River Roeburn.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Nigel Crompton, Mike Hayward and Jo Sayers.