GUIDE TO CRAWICK WATER
NAME OF RIVER: Crawick Water.
WHERE IS IT?: South-west Scotland, a tributary of the River Nith. Head North on the A76, past the Nith get in, go through the village of Sanquhar. On the outskirts of Sanquhar turn right onto the B740. The Crawick is on the right side as you drive upstream although you can't see it until the get-in.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Drive up the B740, when you can see the river on the right it is time to get in. Note, car parking here is not easy, you can park a few hundred yards down stream and walk across the field to the river. The access point is just below Meikle Carco at grid ref NS781133.
For the take-out...after turning onto the B740, you will see some open ground on your right, parking here has not caused any problems I'm aware of. The river and suggested get-out are a few hundred yards away running parallel to the road.
Donald Gibson adds... As well as getting off here, it is also possible to continue to join the River Nith at grid ref NS 776096 and get off at a picnic site on the left bank below the bridge leading to the golf course.
APPROX LENGTH: 3 km.
TIME NEEDED: Approx. 1hr including ferry etc...although pre-inspection of the gorge would be recommended if it's your first trip or in high water. Most of the gorge can be inspected via a public footpath on the right about half way between the get in and get out. Walk past some dog kennels to the river, across a small foot-bridge which is at the bottom of the gorge, most of the gorge can be inspected by walking up stream from here.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If it's clearly not a scrape at the get in then the level is good. If it's obviously low but "scrapeable" at the get in, it is well worth doing. If it is obviously high and fast flowing at the get-in the gorge will be demanding, grade 4/5. For such a small river it holds the water well and remains up for some time after rain.
GRADING: Probably 3+ in low water, rising to 5 in spate.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: A very narrow gorge with twists, small drops and stoppers. Trees could be a severe problem, once you are in the gorge the only way out is down! An electric fence!
Steve McCreadie, River Advisor Nith and Minnoch (Dec 2005)...'Tragically a canoeist died while paddling the Crawick on Sunday 4th December. I have very little concrete information but local press reports that a twenty four year old man died while paddling in a group of four experienced canoeists. I will be speaking to the Police to ascertain whether any information can be shared to reduce risks to any other paddlers. There have been several reports of trees in the narrow gorge but I do not yet know if this was a factor. Please be aware and treat the gorge with caution on the meantime. Paddle safe!'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a excellent run at all levels, and potentially very demanding with high water. The only down side is that the gorge is all too short and the remaining 1.5 km becomes an anticlimax being rather flat.
After the get-in a short flat section leads into a few small drops and waves. There is occasionally an electric fence across the river shortly below the start - which can be difficult to spot from the water! If you can float down the first section without scraping rocks, the gorge will be at a good level.
The start of the gorge is marked with a few larger drops and turns. The river narrows, steepens and twists through the gorge with single file eddy hopping becoming the way to proceed, in a group any bigger than three the front and back paddlers will become separated from view. The end of the gorge is marked with a huge boulder in the middle of the flow and obvious route, intimate contact with the right side of the boulder is difficult to avoid. The excitement is now over, with only a few waves and minor sections to keep you interested to the get out.
Some photos of Crawick Water from Douglas Wilcox (Jan 2004)...
OTHER NOTES: This rather short run can be combined with a trip on the River Nith, so if you are planning a run on the Nith and there is a bit of water about get out of bed early and do both! It's well worth the effort.
Donald Gibson adds... 'It was first paddled about 1982 - in the days of fibreglass boats'.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Bob Evans, also Rab Kirkpatrick, Donald Gibson, Steve MCCreadie, Paul Seddon and Helen McKenna.