GUIDE TO THE RIVER LOWTHER
NAME OF RIVER: Lowther.
WHERE IS IT?: It flows out of the NE Lake District (Shap Fells near the M6) towards Penrith. It empties into the Eden eventually.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: You put in near Askham Village at a large pond just below Askham Bridge (NY 518 238) which leads directly over a weir. Take-out is at a bridge downstream of Brougham Castle on river right.
APPROX LENGTH: 5 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Andy Ryland (Jan 2004)...'Contact the Lowther Estate. Usually not a problem, but they like to be asked...at the Estate office in Lowther village.'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Definitely needs rainfall, we did this in rather bony conditions. If you can float on the first stretch after the weir, you will be alright.
GRADING: Grades 2 and 3.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Plenty of trees and bushes encroaching upon the river.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Leaving the pond, you slide over an overgrown weir and directly into a long Grade 2 rapid. This continues for some way, passing cliffs on your right and then an island.
A strange little weir follows...some of the water flows THROUGH this in pipes but it didn't seem to be a major hazard in low water. Below here the river is more channelled and offers continuous Grade 2 rapids, splendid paddling for novices.
The river becomes a little harder just after an island where a long rapid (Grade 3?) narrows and leads down towards a sudden chute which involves taking a small drop if you choose to head right.
More Grade 2-3 water with trees to watch out for eventually brings you to the railway bridge. Here you must go river right of the bridge pillar as bushes clog up the river left channel! Inspect to make sure.
The river eases in gradient and passes beneath the M6 shortly before reaching Brougham Castle and joining the River Eamont where you finish this trip (NY 537 292). Check the Eamont guide for advice on the takeout.
OTHER NOTES: A good novice trip if you are aware of the tree hazards. I have not paddled the upper section of this river, has anybody been up there?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Andy Ryland.