GUIDE TO THE RIVER ROEBURN
NAME OF RIVER: Roeburn.
WHERE IS IT?: About 15 miles up the Lune Valley from the M6 near Lancaster, near Junction 34/35 of the M6.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Get in where the road crosses the river high up in the moors (SD 6000 6375) , you'll need a map...highest road access, maybe there is more paddling above? Take-out in village of Wray below bridge on river right (SD 6055 6746).
APPROX LENGTH: 2.5 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 1-2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown. We were not questioned and all the locals seemed friendly. Wray is small but busy with lots of kids, dogs, horses milling around (even in torrential rain) so drive/ park carefully. At the get in there is a small lay-by which fits 3 cars - the road was well used by cars, tractors, trailers, etc so don't block it! It's a small river and not suitable for big groups - a group of 4/5 would be ideal.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: I've paddled this in lowish levels, which was pleasant. However, this river is best in spate. I don't know of any indicators other than looking at the amount of flow in Wray village. Brown and churning is good!
GRADING: In high water, remarkably continuous grade 3.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees/ cables.
Ewen Fraser...'3-4 trees in the river 1st Oct 2005 at regularly spaced intervals. All could be paddled around but two were in the main flow and potentially nasty.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A blast in spate! More challenging than many pool-drop grade 4 rivers, take note. It drops over 100ft a mile without any flat bits, long wave-trains with the odd stopper lurking.
Trees are a hazard, and we also paddled over an electric cable, under a low swing bridge, to the left of some scaffold and over some small weirs. Breakouts which fit the whole group do exist but are widely spaced so paddlers need to be prepared to find their own eddies. We also proved that pinning on rocks is more than a possibility, and throw lines were required to retrieve a submerged RPM and stranded paddler. Towards the end, the river bends sharp left before it narrows to a short gorge with a ledge drop - this needs inspection as it can generate a big tow back, but it's not the easiest drop to take a look at. After inspection, we took a line on the far left (against the wall of the gorge) with no problems although some people went rather deep - different water levels may provide other options. It's possible to portage around this drop via the right bank, but it's more of a muddy climb than a walk and took the two guys who did so about 45 minutes of hard work with throw lines.
OTHER NOTES: Don't do this without doing the River Hindburn too.
Thomas Young (2nd Sept 2006)...We found the locals to be very friendly and accepting of us there. Trees growing out from the bank can be a problem at times, but nothing life-threatening at time of paddling. We took the Ledge Drop (in high water) on the Right Hand Side, and found it to be a lot easier than it looked, with a dogleg channel that flowed through nicely. Having done this, general concencus amongst the group was that other sections of the river were far harder.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Helen Wigmore, Thomas Young and Ewen Fraser.
Whilst none of the whitewater is particularly difficult, the remote nature of the river and tree hazards make it more dangerous than most ordinary grade III runs. Exercise caution and enjoy!
Near start: portage for tree in slides
4x scaffold bridges: first one fairly low and might be problematic at high levels
Sheep trolley (large metal cage hung from cables). Cage only just above water level
Cable swing bridge - fairly high out of water
Real footbridge - quite high with concrete base all across river (mini stopper) but with metal cable strung across 5m below, not too high above water, but ok today
20m further a second cable strung across with bits of old sheep fence hanging from it and almost had to duck under it
At main drop there was a pair of trees right across just above drop making it unrunnable. Must inspect closely
Before Wray trees partly blocking round blind corners several times. Passable today, but higher water could be different
Further down there are 3 new manmade structures, all passable with ease at normal low/medium levels.
Two are odd metal box-like structures made of scaffolding. Tey're not quite bridges but they're fairly substantial. They're 1-1.5m above the river at normal levels and about 50m apart. Beware the second one is round a blind bend. At big levels they'd start to become obstructive, and possibly are at risk of being washed into the river - keep your eyes peeled!
THere is also a suspension bridge of sorts (possibly the one mentioned previously having been rebuilt). It's higher off the water level that it was, but has sides made of chicken wire. Again, be careful when it's high high high.