GUIDE TO THE RIVER TROUTBECK
NAME OF RIVER: Troutbeck.
WHERE IS IT?: Flows into Lake Windermere in the Central Lake District (Cumbria), between Ambleside and Windermere town. OS map 90.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Access the river from the road where it crosses the river at GR 413027. There is a nice little parking area on river right. The finish is either at the obvious garage at Troutbeck Bridge on the main road (A591) at GR 403004 (with permission from them), or you can paddle down to the lake, turn LEFT and you reach Millerground landing stages after a kilometre.
APPROX LENGTH: 3 km or 5 km if you continue to the lake.
TIME NEEDED: 1 hour.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Must be paddled after heavy rain, it runs off really quickly. It should be obvious from the garage on the A591 (see above) if there is enough water to float comfortably down the river or not.
GRADING: Grade 4, some of which is quite continuous and difficult to prior-inspect.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees are everywhere. Sections of the river do not allow for inspection from the water.
Ian Wilson (BCU River Advisor for Troutbeck)....'30/6/04 Paddled the river today - no major tree hazards that can't be avoided by the VIGILANT paddler, the worst is the previously mentioned strainer that takes up half the river, the long-standing riveride tree has gone and this is just downstream from it. I expect it would have 'magnetic' properties in high flows.'
Mark Davies, Regional River Advisor - Cumbria...(April 2004) 'The Rotary Screw Traps have (@ Troutbeck) and will be (Leven) put in place to monitor this year's smolt run (young salmon migrating downstream to the sea). The Environment Agency have consulted with Local River Advisors, and warning signs have been placed at certain locations to highlight the potential hazard. The locations are: Leven Directly upstream of the fish counter at Brewer's Field, in between the metal footbridge and the counter. (SD 355 844) This will be in place next week hopefully. At the moment the flows are too high to put it in. Troutbeck Downstream of Calgarth Bridge prior to the confluence with Windermere. (SD 395 997) There will be wires holding the traps in place so paddlers should exercise great care.'
Mark Davies, Regional River Advisor - Cumbria...(March 2004) 'Just got a message from the EA. The Smolt traps will be in place this year and will be put on the Troutbeck on 15 March, and the Leven on 22 March. The Local River Advisor will meet the EA bods in early March to confirm the exact positioning/ height etc and I will update again to reflect the outcomes of this.'
Mark Davies Regional River Advisor, Cumbria (Feb 2004)...'A rotary screw trap is to be located on Troutbeck (Windermere) near to Calgarth Hall. This will be fixed by wires on either side of the riverbank.'
Atti Gray (Jan 2004)...'I paddled today (2 01 04) but missed out the top section and put on about 500m above the gorge. There were not that many trees but there were two that would be dangerous in spate, the first being the already mentiond tree right across the river. In spate there would be about 2-1.5 feet of space underneath, there is a g3 fall under this log. The second tree is in a boulder garden lower down and is on the river right hand side of the river. There is room to pass on river left and far river right but in the centre there is nowhere as the tree's branches are in the river and make a strainer. One of the drops in the gorge is very pinny in low water and must be taken on the river left.'
Nick Burton...(26/10/02) 'A fallen tree islaying river wide across a part of the first grade 4 section, near the Pipebridge. There was enough room to go under it (about 3 feet or so) next to the right bank. Another tree is laying half way across the river from the right hand bank about 20 feet above this, making a fun "S" move from river left to river right necessary. Stay alert!'
Steve Ed...(November 2002) 'There are a couple of new trees down in the gorge which could be dangerous in high flows'.
Si Cubbon...(December 2002) 'There is still a River Wide tree present just after the small drop at Troutbeck Gorge, this nearly claimed the life of one of our dizzy club members!! There is also a landslide further on down the river as well as a few more trees and hay bales etc. It is still very much runnable, but inspection is well worth it. (Which we did, but the club member still managed to hit the bloody thing).'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a short but intense trip, although I have only personally done it in low water when it is not at it's best. A kilometre of Grade 2 and 3 allows you to warm up. You then reach the entrance to the Troutbeck gorge, where the river bends sharp left into...a gorge. You will now be wishing you'd inspected from the overhead pipe bridge (GR 407016) on the way up the road, as you can't see what is ahead from the river. A couple of steep drops lead you into a few hundred metres of speedy rapids, a splendid section. Shortly after the gorge, more difficult paddling ensues near a house on the river left bank. This section is particularly bad for trees in the river, but we didn't need to actually portage any. The river eases a little to Grade 3, with the next landmark being a series of steps in the river; some artificial weirs, some natural. This forms a continuous Grade 4 section (which is again hard to inspect) right down to Troutbeck Bridge. We finished at the A591 garage here; we have not done the final kilometre of river to the lake.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Ian Wilson, Nick Burton, Mark Davies, Si Cubbins, Atti Gray and Steve Ed.