GUIDE TO THE RIVER IRTHING
(Crammel Linn Waterfall to Gilsland)
NAME OF RIVER: Irthing.
WHERE IS IT?: Northumberland, take the B6318 to Gilsland just west of Haltwhiste on the A69.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Take out at Gilsland, where the B6318 crosses the river. Put in - continue up this road, bear right after the bridge. Continue (2 miles or so) until you reach a barrier across the road, turn right here onto a single track road. Head along the single track road until you come to cattle grid, just after the cattle grid there is a layby, park here. The river is a 1/2 mile walk down the boggy 'path'. Get in down a steep bank, immediately below the 30 foot waterfall. Waterfall is at GR 642697, parking for this 636697.
You can get in about a mile further up the river, GR 663710. If you're going to do this, look for the small redbrick hut which is immediately above the waterfall, which is easily portaged from here. There is also a lower section starting at Gilsland, and going down to "Low Row"? - I can't remember this that well, but it's mainly grade 2, with a couple of fun 3/4 drops. Take out at the picnic area, GR 570638. Anyone have clearer information?
APPROX LENGTH: 3 miles-ish.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: No problem at the top end, but the take out at Gilsland bridge can be more tricky. The private road here is owned by a farmer who doesn't appreciate people parking in it's entrance. Don't leave your car here! I've found that the people who own the garage on the Gilsland side of the bridge are very helpful, and will generally allow you to park on their forecourt, but please ask them first.
Richard Longstaff...(May 2005) 'Before we ran the shuttle from Gilsland get out, the local farmer who owns the land either side of the bridge approached us. Friendly enough, but he pointed out that we would be trespassing if we got out there. His concerns were raised with a group of 20 or so paddlers from Scotland earlier that month (obviously a much bigger issue) but to no avail. He suggested we got out at the stepping stones about 100 yards before the village, river left. We did so and it was no problem, having parked up on the garage forecourt. This seems a much better egress, without upsetting anybody, given the current state of access debates nationwide. The egress is also a lot easier than throwing boats over barbed wire etc!'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs rain. Check the level at Gilsland bridge. The bridge, on the underside, has a stone arch which is set upon vertical walls at either side. These vertical walls need to be covered, so that the bridge just appears arched on the underside.
GRADING: Grade 3/4.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The waterfall just above the get in. It's been run, but personally I wouldn't recommend it. Overhanging trees can be a problem, and portages would be difficult in many places due to the steep valley sides.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river is quite continuous by English standards, but probably not by Welsh/ Scottish standards. There are a number of sloping natural weirs, which could have involving stoppers in particularly high flows, but are otherwise good for surfing. I can't really remember anything more specific, since it's a while since I ran this.
Mike Tinnion (Feb 2005)...'Crammel Linn - just above the suggested put in. Looked at this many times and it always looked pretty nasty. On the weekend of the floods (Jan 2005) I found it at the right level and got through clean. I still wouldn't recommend it unless you are totally confident of staying upright and on line.'