GUIDE TO EVAN WATER
NAME OF RIVER: Evan Water.
WHERE IS IT?:Right next to the M74 at Beattock, about 40 miles north of Carlisle. Considering how handy this is for Glasgow and Edinburgh paddlers it is surprising its not better known. If youre on your annual pilgrimage north and its been raining since Penrith, try pulling off at junction 15 and giving this one a go.
Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: As mentioned, exit at J15 of the M74 and go into Beattock, the get out bridge is by the Old Brig Hotel. Before setting off for the get in take a good look at the bridge you are on, there are so many on this stretch it is easy to get out at the wrong one. Then head up the B7076 for 5 miles and look for the second tunnel under the railway line. Shortly after this is a disused bridge close to the road (NT 039101), park nearby taking care not to obstruct the road.
APPROX LENGTH: 8 km.
TIME NEEDED: 3 Hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Fishing situation not known, see the standard SCA position on access.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This burn needs a good amount of rain to make it worth paddling. At the get out most of the rocks need to be covered, and at the get in it must be possible to find a line without scraping too many rocks.
GRADING: 3 (3+).
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There is a largish near the top that might be worth inspecting. Look for a narrow rocky channel ending with a drop, not far below is the fall. It is run easily on the left but the stopper can be large. The sandstone gorge near the bottom contains three choices and zig-zag, both 3+ at the right water level.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This river offers enjoyable grade 3 paddling with some sections of grade 2, and is well worth doing. Although the motorway is never far away it is hardly noticeable, especially when on lower half. The run starts off quite straight forward and after about 1.5 miles look for the fall mentioned above. Below this are a couple of miles of fun readnrun water leading to the tunnel. This runs under the road but is less intimidating than the one on the Kinglass. Watch out for the wall that runs midstream along its length. More grade 3 water follows including a pleasant sandstone gorge. Look for a larger drop with a choice of channels (three choices); middle seems to go best (3+). Not far beyond is Zigzag (3+), which should run OK. As already mentioned, make sure you get out at the right bridge.
OTHER NOTES: There is another possible section worth doing above this. The river drops quite a lot and is sent through various road and rail tunnels, it also may be full of trees. Anybody done this yet?
A few additions to the guide:
Hazards: 2 big trees. The first is above the last gorge and you'll either paddle straight over or you'll have to portage it depending on how much water there is(theres plenty of time as the river isnt going that fast at this point). This tree isnt going anywhere and has been there 3-4 years now. Second has appeared below the last gorge quite recently -straight over the middle goes but the unwary or out of control might get trapped at the sides.
Levels: You can use the Annan Watercam (
Look over the upsteam side of the get out bridge: if the water is level with or slightly below the rocks on river right then the river will be twisty and possibly slightly scrapey, if the water is over the rocks it'll be fun & continuous.
Access: We've tended to get on at the entrance to Middlegill farm (signposted on the road).Please be considerate when parking and dont obstruct gates or entrances. Have paddled further up (from the bridge) but not a lot there. If you want to see the final gorge walk over the bridge by the building with the sat dish on the roof and go 500m upstream.