GUIDE TO WASDALE BECK
NAME OF RIVER: Wasdale Beck.
WHERE IS IT?: 4 km further up the A6 from the start of Borrow Beck, About 5km south of J39 of the M6. Map.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: on the A6 North of Kendal, or South of J39 of the M6. Put in (GR 561082) There's a handy layby. Best to put in below the canalised section underneath the bridge (metal Sheep fence). Take out at the Shap Wells Hotel GR 578096. They were very friendly and allowed us to park there. This is a busy hotel/ restaurant, so please change considerately. There's a major sheep fence just next to the hotel, so you don't want to miss the take out.
APPROX LENGTH: 3 km.
TIME NEEDED: 1 hour.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This is definitely a spate run. Would be very rocky in any level than full flood. We ran the falls at the end, in an excellent level, and three hours later the river was rocky.
GRADING: Grade 4-5.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Sheep Fences/ wires, large fall. Boat breaking weir. First sheep fence right below the start bridge. Maybe underwater.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Steep alpine style river. Starts amid a pine forest, 100 m of flat then you are into 1.5 km of continuous steep bouldery grade 4 water. A major 2m fall with a superb boof is located where the forest ends on the left, before you enter the second wooded section. Just below this fall is a log style bridge right across the river at a dangerous height. Mellow water through the next forest for 1km. A couple of sheep fences, the second of which is a definite portage, lead to a narrow gorge section which is straightforward. A small vertical weir lurks at the end of the gorge. Don't run centre as it has sharp boat breaking (if you boof) or pinning rocks if in old school mode. Right after this weir are the main falls - A superb set of slabs and falls, which in all form a 8m three stage drop. This was a relatively straight forward grade 5 fall when we ran it, but in more water I suspect that some of the drops would have some grippy stoppers. Take out shortly below this fall, above the hotel, and beware of the last sheep fence.
Pictures of Wasdale Beck
Video of the auto-boof ledge
OTHER NOTES: Great to paddle same day as Borrow Beck - you could can continue down Birk Beck to the Lune (joins just above Tebay Gorge).
Other rivers nearby if you want to explore further - Has anyone paddled these? The 500m of stream that comes into Wasdale beck at the Shap Wells hotel. Bretherdale Beck? Stakely Beck (into Birk Beck). Banniside Beck (3 km south of Borrow Beck put in) is the highest start to the Mint, but what about the section upstream?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Si Wiles, White Water Tourists.