GUIDE TO CHANNERWICK BURN
NAME OF RIVER: Channerwick Burn.
WHERE IS IT?: Channerwick (surprise, surprise!) in Shetland.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The main road from Lerwick to Sumburgh crosses the burn by a very small dam just north of Channerwick. Put in here or sledge down the valley side anywhere between here and the sea. Take out on the beach.
APPROX LENGTH: 1 km?
TIME NEEDED: Not long.
ACCESS HASSLES: Go for it - no-one cares so long as you don't scare the sheep.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs a lot of rain to make it possible and more to make it worthwhile. If you can paddle a boat between the boulders below the bridge then it probably goes but it's worth having a look at the ravine at the bottom just to be sure.
GRADING:GRADING: 3 and a half.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: It would be worth checking the whole length to make sure there are no new fences stretched across. Be prepared to bottom out abruptly on the first drop of the broken fall.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A small burn, at best ten feet wide (we don't have proper rivers up here so we're desperate and this is as good as it gets). The only interesting bit is a narrow ravine towards the end that begins with a broken eight foot drop and then just gets silly. No possibility of turning or breaking out so it's not a good place to practice sideways moves.
OTHER NOTES: First recorded descent - Christmas Day 1999, J.A.Johnson and J.Swale.
Why bother? a) It's there so it had to be done. b) It seemed like a good idea at the time. c) it filled the time between surfing and Christmas dinner. d) it's good for washing the salt and sand off the kit.
Update (29/01/02)...'We've run this several more times over the past year (there hasn't been any decent surf and we get bored). In BIG water (i.e about 10 cu.m/s) it develops an extra hazard about half way down, just above a small footbridge on a tight, steep s-bend This is fairly easy at "normal" flood levels but in mega flows the current blasts you straight into what would be Britain's most northerly splat rock if only the water was deep enough. As it is, it's more of a half-splat then trip over the rocks on the bottom of the burn to end up head down in the grippy hole below. This fate can be avoided by cutting the corner by means of a rock slide dropping straight into the hole. The broken fall also becomes more tricky and merits grade 4. The twist in the middle makes it difficult to maintain momentum to punch the stopper at the bottom which in those conditions is pretty powerful and treats play boats with scorn. The good news is that the gorge below ceases to be a boulder dodging exercise and becomes fun, fun, fun. We'll send you some photos as soon as we can find someone willing to stand up to their knees in a bog in the rain to take them whilst we enjoy ourselves. We couldn't persuade anyone on the big-water day because it was minus two with hail and blowing force 8. Cheers Jonathan.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jonathan Swale.