GUIDE TO CAIRN WATER
(Irongrey Church to the Nith confluence)
NAME OF RIVER: Cairn Water.
WHERE IS IT: South West Scotland. A tributary of the River Nith, Approximately 5 miles North West of Dumfries. Follow the A76 North out of Dumfries, turn left of the A76 at the village of Hollywood taking minor road towards Dunscore. After about 1 mile take a very minor left turn to the small village of East Cluden.
PUT INS/TAKE OUTS: The suggested take out is just below East Cluden river left, although flat water leads down to the Nith with other possible get outs. There are two options for the get in. Drive upstream a couple of miles to a bridge at Irongrey church, a flat water section will lead to the first interest at Cluden leap. The other option is to walk upstream from East Cluden for about half a mile on the footpath river left until Cluden leap is reached.
APPROX LENGTH: 1- 3 miles depending where you get in.
TIME NEEDED: 30 mins for the paddle.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown. The village of East Cluden has very limited parking, no more than one car.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Best when other rivers in the area are above medium.
GRADING: Sections of 3, with one significant section of 4 Cluden leap, which apparently reaches 5 in high water.
MAJOR HAZARDS:Cluden leap Grade 4/5.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The first section, Cluden leap, has two options at medium water levels. A G4 section river right which falls 2-3 metres in a series of small drops via a S bend channel. This is an interesting if short rapid, well worth the walk to get to it. The other river left option is much easier and consists of a swift chute which projects you at some speed towards a rock face. At high water levels, I understand a river wide fall and 30 meter long slide forms with a stopper at the base. At medium water levels a number of play options exist around the base of the rapid.
A short flat section leads to a small pour over weir, which leads into the next section river left. This is a small drop and turn with possible play opportunities.
A further short flat section leads into the broken weir at East Cluden. A route over this river left provides the more challenging route,where a large stopper forms at high water levels.
Egress shortly after the weir on the left.
OTHER NOTES: Not the best river in the area, but Cluden leap can be fun and challenging. There is another short section of G3 on this river between Dunscore and Stepford, anyone paddled this?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Bob Evans.