NAME OF RIVER: Urr Water
WHERE IS IT?: Dumfries and Galloway
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: There is easy access/egress at Corsock Bridge (NX7664 7579). We found parking 100m past the bridge on the roadside verge on the right of the road. Walk back down to the bridge cross to the river left, and walk upstream on the decent path about 30m to a perfect calm eddy for entry.
To get out we went to Haugh of Urr. And got out at Haugh Bridge (NX8055 6599). There is a decent pub in the town. If you go 100m past the bridge river right the bank is and there is a style to egress.
Also possible:Old Bridge of Urr (NX 7759 6772)but there is really only room for 2 cars maximum on the grass verge just past the bridge on the west side (be nice to the locals!).
APPROX LENGTH: 13km / 8mi - 100m of descent.
TIME NEEDED: 3-4 hours
ACCESS HASSLES: n/a it’s Scotland!
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: For levels, it looks like (form various videos) most people seem to paddle this around 1.5m which is what a lot of people suggest is 'optimum'.
We paddled it at 1.4m and dropping. At 1.3m it's a bit rocky in places but passable and I think there are several section that would probably be quite scrapey at lower than 1.3m (which is still 'medium' on Where's the Water).
1~2km prior to the rapid that's just before Old Bridge of Urr. The 'jungle' might be kinda sketchy at higher levels as we were only just able to pass at ~1.3m. Low branches!
GRADING: Kayak grade 3 (4)
This is a technical paddle and will vary significantly with different flows. It’s like a micro gorge. With many rock obstacles and it’s quite narrow so lots of trees and a risk of strainers. The rapids are very condensed so at high flow, there will be no gaps between them. But enough gradient for the features to increase in size as the flow does.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: there are three rapids that require careful inspection, thankfully inspection was possible at all of them.
The first is called "The Scar" on the OS Map but is known as 'the seat of Urr' or 'Cauldrons' as some helpful locals called it (sharp right over rocks, very inspectable). NX76533 74837 is about 1km downstream of Get in. As the river takes a severe 90dg twist to the right. Through what looks like a comb of rocks. In medium flow, there was enough time to egress the river right to inspect. In high flows, I would advise inspecting from road B794 as you travel to put in. For the unwary boater, this will could be a serious risk to life and a high chance of boat pinning here, especially if upside down is likely at all flows. Length 13km / 8 mi - ~100m descent top if you get through and don’t get pinned then after the 90deg bend there is time to pick up the pieces, and this is probably the hardest rapid on the river.
Another tricky rapid worth an inspection is:
Margley Glen NX76607 72892- holds another tricky rapid with at medium flows only one good route. Inspect the river right. Or from the road ok way up to Corsock.'Margley Glen') flows round a fast and long right hand bend is probably worthy of a g3+ or g3(4) due to trees on the far side, if not careful could end up pushed into and mangled in the trees!
Red brow pool NX77002 68539. While trees are a worry the whole run, at this location the river was nearly impassable at medium flows. At a high, this would be a dangerous strainer. I would advise a visit to low flows to trim back. once past Waulk mill pool, you will struggle to egress. Inspect on the way up to Corsock. This section is also noted as a 'jungle' section as noted in the physical guidebook, 1~2km prior to the rapid that's just before Old Bridge of Urr. The 'jungle' might be kinda sketchy at higher levels as we were only just able to pass at ~1.3m. Low branches!
Just upstream of the Old Bridge of Urr at Damhead NX77455 67832, there is a feature that looks just like a weir but it’s got a natural nature to it, so rough and messy. Portage river right or inspect and run.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Fantastic, never boring kayaking trip through the magical countryside, I would call it the Nith's baby brother! Technical paddling with fun at a challenge every turn. But appeared to be mostly easy to portage at all levels - so well worth the trip!
After the Old Bridge of Urr, it’s pleasant and gentle rest of the river
CONTRIBUTED BY: Kelvin Goodyear & Fraser (EKC)