(A801 to Linlithgow)


WHERE IS IT?: Linlithgow near Edinburgh just off the M9.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: You can put in either:

At the bridge at Avonbridge (NS 91118 72756).

At the bridge where the A801 crosses the Avon (NS 95454 73582), if you take the left directly after the bridge (coming from the north) you can park here along the roadside more safely than nearer the bridge.

Get out in Linlithgow at the bridge (NS 98339 77196) by the Bridge Inn pub before the weir at the slalom course.

APPROX LENGTH: 13km from Avonbridge, 7km from the A801.

TIME NEEDED: About 2 hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: No idea, there is a nature walk beside the river so as long as you are considerate I can't foresee any problems.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Rain!!! This trip needs a reasonably large amount of rain. We paddled it after 2 days of rain and it was pretty scrapey. If it chucks it down in the Edinburgh area for a few days then it should be running.

Gauge: Avon (Forth Valley) @ Polmonthill ( ... t&lc=14884) 0.9 is a low level.

GRADING: Grade 3, although it probably deserved a Grade 2/3 rating when we did it. Others I know have described it as a lot harder when it comes up becoming more powerful and apparently one rapid managed to back loop a slalom boat.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Barbed wire across the river under the bridge at 55.935421, -3.718377 (the first road bridge downstream from Avonbridge) and then again shortly after. Lots of overhanging trees.

A bizarre little weir that drops straight into a Grade 2 rapid. Not really very hard to hit, just take it down the middle and dodge the rocks :-).

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river consists of mainly grade 2 and 3 rapids and gets better further down in a sort of half gorge section. Considering where the river is located the water is quite clean and the surroundings a nice forest. Worth a go for anyone in the central belt area who what to paddle water, not sewage. Nothing too hard on it.

OTHER NOTES: Close to this is the River Almond, I've not paddled this yet but am aiming to in the near future, it looks quite good and at a harder grade than the Avon.

Robin Cole, July 2004...'I've wondered about this river for a while but I always thought that the Gorge (that runs parallel to the M9) from Linlithgow down would be a better
bet. Anyone paddled it?'

CONTRIBUTED BY: Douglas Rae - Herriot-Watt/ Selkirk Canoe Club and Jonathan Riddell.



Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Avon - A801 to Linlithgow -- Scots_Charles_River
2013 Jan 30 07:08:58 PM
At Linlithgow bridge, there is a river wide weir which looks easily runnable but may have towback - I have not run it so inspect.

There is also a weir after the Birkhill Caly Mine Gorge at the bottom of the Ski Slope, river wide. There is a low road bridge after this which has a nice wave and recirculating eddy at certain levels. At high levels this bridge would be impassable underneath. After this it has many tress before it becomes tidal and at below High Tide it has deep muddy banks.

A good Trip report below from Nick E

The Avon is one of Lothians unsung gems, running from Fannyside Lochs down to Boness. The best sections are from Avonbridge (good parking and river access) down to Linlithgow Bridge - around 12Km. A shorter trip is possible from where the A801 crosses the river, but the bank is steep (and long), and the parking is err dubious at best, as its right on the main road. I did the top section in the Summer in a kayak, and it was a bit scrapy, but would have been great for poling. I was a little concerned that levels might be too high given the revent rainfall, but it was fine. Levels were significantly higher this time and gave a much more enjoyable ride

The river is G2/3, with three large viaducts running overhead carrying the Union canal, railway, and ex-railway. There are a few weirs, and we had to do a few inspections, but only one walkaround was required - when the kayakers started talk of "boofing".....

We met 10.00am at the get-out - Bridge Inn, Linlithgow Bridge (basically where the A803 crosses the Avon, on the west side of Linlithgow), then consolidated vehicles and drove to the get-in at Avonbridge. The get-in can best be described as non-scenic, but within a minute or so, we were out of site of human influence....

There were 4 kayakers and me in the open, with attendees from West Lothian Kayak club, Edinburgh Kayak Club and a couple of SOTP folk. A great day overall, and a good warm-up for the North Esk trip (report pending )

Overall, the trip took about 3.5 hrs.
Re: River Avon - A801 to Linlithgow -- RobinCole
2013 Jan 30 07:01:14 PM
Done this river a few times now, keep promising myself not to go back...

It's grade 2 most of the time. You can get in as far up as a Avonbridge (when the rivers high) which gives more of the same.

There's a tree right across the river (2013) just above the main Gorge, it's easy to spot and portage around. The wier just below the aquaduct should be inspected, could be nasty taken on the right or the middle, goes ok hard left. Definatly the most (and only?) serious bit on the river.

It's not bad carrying on down past Linlithogow through a second gorge by the Birkhill Clay Mines. The get out is on the little lane just off the A905 (or actually on the A905?). There's a very good surf wave down that way.
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