NAME OF RIVER: Kinnel Water

WHERE IS IT?: The Kinnel Water runs alongside the A701 Moffat to Dumfries road. The mid point is St Annes bridge (the one with traffic lights on) in between Moffat and Dumfries. If its been raining hard this river combines well with the Evan water for a really sweet days boating.

PUT INS/TAKEOUTS: The put in is at the small bridge at Boreland (NY 0658 9581). From St. Annes bridge head north on the A701 for approx 11/2 miles to a small road turning on the left. Follow the road down to a paddock,  some signposts for anglers and a small car park. Put in at the pool just above the wooden bridge. There are two options for the get  out. The first is to drive towards Dumfries for ½ a mile from St Annes bridge and take the first left to Hartfield farm (NY 06740 92333). Park considerately half way down the farm track. The alternative is to extend the paddle  for 2k (only really worth it if the river is humping) and get out at Courance. To get here go south on the A701 for approx 1 mile then take the small road on the left (signposted “Lochmaben”).  Follow this road until you see a lodge  house on the right hand side of the road with a large estate house behind it. On the left hand side a farm track leads to the river (250m) (NY 05929 90116). It’s a good idea to walk down to the river at both get outs so you can recognise where to egress when you come to it.


TIME NEEDED: 1 1/2  Hours

ACCESS HASSLES: The river is fished – but probably not at the levels needed for boating. The locals seem friendly, and considerate parking etc will keep it this way.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Like the Evan this needs a ton of water to get it going. Look over St Annes bridge – the river should preferably look brown and bouncy with few rocks visible on the downstream side for a good trip. Use the SEPA gauge at  Redhall – 0.9 m is the absolute minimum for paddling with levels of 1.3 and upwards ideal. At higher levels the river is committing and scarily fun!


MAJOR HAZARDS/FALLS: It might be wise to inspect the double drop and gorge above St Annes bridge (Gd 4). Fallen trees are  a possibility on the whole river and there are lots of sweepers and strainers along the way.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Best considered the Evan waters bigger brother, this river makes a great alternative to some of the better known runs in D&G and the Borders and deserves to be paddled more often. Exciting but never desperate, it’s great boating when there’s lots of water.

The first rapid at Boreland bridge gives a general taste of the river down to the gorge – really nice fast Gd 3 boating alternating with flatter sections. Often the trees hang down over the rapids restricting possible lines and providing traps for the unwary.

After approx 1K an exciting looking  tributary enters on river right – I’ve paddled the bottom 500m (Gd4) but the rest may well be worth a go.

The river carries on in the same vein – as the banks close in and heighten, a metal footbridge appears. Start to keep an eye out for a sharp left hand bend with a fallen tree about 300M above the gorge, a telegraph pole close to the left hand bank is pretty well the last chance to jump out and look (best inspected from the left). Mark your route down the double drop and boily S bend, then go for it safe in the knowledge that this is the most difficult part of the river. If you’ve missed the last eddy,  centre left then hard right seems to work.

Once past the gorge, fast water leads to St Annes bridge and an eddy to catch your breath for the final rapid. At lower levels this consists of a succession of 4-5 sweet Gd 3 drops. In higher water these form large stoppers – the final one is a tricky twisting affair.  For those that have parked at Hartfield watch out for the ruined building on the right hand bank which marks the get out. The river now begins to flatten out to shingly Gd 2 as the walls recede  and the second get out approaches on a scenic and relaxed bit of water.  Watch out for logjams on this stretch – there’ll be plenty of time as the river has slowed considerably by this point.

OTHER NOTES: I’ve not paddled all of it but an alternative get in would be at the top of the previously mentioned trib (accessed from the Raehills road). I think this is called the Duff Kinnel water. Anyone done it?


If you would like to submit updates, new guides or photos, email ukrgb.scotland AT gmail DOT com