GUIDE TO MACHRIE WATER
NAME: Machrie Water.
WHERE IS IT?: West side of Isle of Arran.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put-in/ Take-out: road bridge at 928341. Take out by Machrie golf course 892345 (the bridge over the coastal road is too close to the bailiffs cottage).
APPROX LENGTH: 5 km.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: I have not met the present bailiff but his predecessor was not very welcoming. The river is best avoided if there is any chance of anglers being on it.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If the rapid at the top bridge looks OK the river should be runnable.
GRADING: 4 (5+?)
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees - plenty of them! There is an iron deer fence about 1/2 km into the run, make sure you know where it is. Shortly below is Little Gorge - worth inspecting. Just above the bottom road bridge is Big Gorge, this can be inspected by walking up from the bridge, do not miss the breakout!
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: An excellent run with plenty to amuse. It was first run back in 1986 and may now be too overgrown. Inspection from the river requires care as many of the more serious rapids are round blind corners. Little Gorge is close to the famous Machrie Moor standing stones (unfortunately you don't see them from the water) and is recognised by a tooth-like stone right in the middle of the gorge. The left channel is tight but infinitely better than the siphon on the right. Big Gorge has not been run and is probably 5, if you do run it there is an amazing natural viewing gallery on river right near its end.
Update from Max (Oct '99)...'Access to the Machrie looks interesting, the estate couldn't be more unwelcoming so basically there's no access situation to ruin. Best policy is to paddle it if you wish and be prepared to take some flack if you are caught. Be warned however that the estate seem to have a very cosy relationship with the local police, remember that they can't arrest you or confiscate your canoe. When I checked out the bottom gorge it looked easier than I remember it, maybe grade 4+ or 5, but certainly not impossible.'
NOTES: This is a spate river. The fishermen have named each pool which can be useful, if you do run the river please note the pool names above each major rapid and report them to along with any access information.
Mark R adds: 'I walked this river whilst visiting the stones a few years ago (it bored the female I was with senseless!) and it looks very interesting. But the named pools for fishermen are a bad sign indeed from the access point of view. If you do it, do it early and quickly!'