GUIDE TO THE RIVER BLACK WATER
NAME OF RIVER: Black Water.
WHERE IS IT?: South West Scotland. From Castle Douglas drive up the A713 to St John's Town of Dalry, here take the first right, then carry straight on at the crossroads and follow the road (B7000) for 4.5 miles until you get to the Youth Hostel.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Carry the boat upstream (800 yards) along the public footpath until the waterfall. Put-in is the flat section just upstream (GR 263588). The river eventually flattens out into a lake, so the take-out, just after the road bridge, is obvious.
APPROX LENGTH: 800 Yards.
TIME NEEDED: Approx. 1 hour.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If water is flowing over the middle of the grade V rapid downstream of the bridge, the level is high.
GRADING: Grade 4 and 5.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Waterfall, Rapid after bridge.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The lead-in rapids provide a good warm up. They look innocent but I nearly winded myself on one of them!
Once at the waterfall, there are two rooster tails rocks blocking the entrance and you'll need a manouverable boat to zig-zag through them. The waterfall is between 15 and 20 foot high and the inspection is not difficult. Setting up safety cover will be tricky though, since it is immediately followed by another, smaller, shoot.
In low water the weir can be shot, but, in high water, I'm told it gets quite serious.
Before the lake there is one more rapid of note. In high water conditions it can be shot over the middle, but in low conditions the water flows river right over a fall whose exit is partly blocked by a submerged rock. Make your own mind up about this one, but safety cover is a good idea.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jay Sigbrandt.