GUIDE TO OLD WATER
NAME OF RIVER: Old Water.
WHERE IS IT: South West Scotland. Approx 6-7 miles northwest of Dumfries. Follow the A76 heading north out of Dumfries, at Newbridge follow a minor road left towards Dunscore with the River Cairn on your right. Continue for approx 3 miles, you will cross Old Water at a narrow Bridge and T junction. The section of river described is above and under the bridge.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in as far above the Routin Brig falls as you wish, depending on water levels. I am not aware of anything of interest other than the falls and the lead in. Take out under the bridge, there is not much of interest after the falls.
APPROX LENGTH: A hundred yards.
TIME NEEDED: How long does it take to rev yourself up?
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Local water levels need to be at medium. The pictures show optimum level.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: All of it.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A short, fun lead in section consists of a small drop followed by a steep narrow slot, no paddles needed, into a tight S bend. This then takes you to another tight turn and the lead into the main fall.
The main fall is a 4-5 meter drop and 90 degree turn into a confined deep gorge. The plunge pool is deep but small, the correct line over the fall is critical. A line too far right will take you into a possible rocky landing and a difficult exit from behind the fall. A line on the far left will take you nicely into the main plunge pool, but the jutting out rocks near the base are a potential hazard. A line straight over middle of the fall will result in a rocky landing at the base of the gorge wall. I ended up taking a line slightly left of centre accompanied by an essential 90 degree turn as I dropped, it seemed to work well!
The small plunge pool leads directly to the final drop under the bridge. It is a very tight 2 meter drop into a confined frothy pool which has rocks at the base. I managed a very heavy impact and vertical pin. This small drop could be portaged.
The get out is a few yards river right after the bridge.
OTHER NOTES: Reckoned to first on 28/08/00, or do you know different? Thanks to John Sturgeon for providing bank support, again. Thanks also to the passer-by, John Sommerfield who did the video and is now off to join Nithsdale Canoe Club !
CONTRIBUTED BY: Bob Evans.