GUIDE TO THE RIVER ESK
NAME OF RIVER: Esk.
WHERE IS IT?: On the border of England and Scotland. Near Carlisle.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Access at Langholm is excellent. You can put on at the car park, which puts you straight onto Ewes Water, a canalised stretch that opens out to let you float through Langholm and onto the Esk Grid ref.:(NY 363 849).
After Hollows weir and rapid, takeout river RIGHT just after the bridge Grid ref.:(NY 385 781). As always park sensibly.
APPROX LENGTH: 8/10km
TIME NEEDED: A good day on the river with an intermediate group.
ACCESS HASSLES: See the SCA ACCESS NOTES ON SCOTLAND.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Looks bony? Don't get on.
GRADING: 3(4) Harder in high water.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Hollows Weir can be entertaining.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The first rapid can be seen from the road bridge on the drive upto to put on and provides some fun waves and an excellent warm up. The state of the rapid will give you an idea of what entertainment the river might provide on the day.
The rest of this stretch offers mainly class 3 paddling at good water levels and goes around a couple of islands at places offering easily scoutable rapids.
Near the end of the trip, probably within a mile of Canonbie there is Hollows weir, which can give some amusement to those who have become too complacent with the flatter stretches. This part may even be pushing a 4, I'd say it was a few years ago anyway! Takeout river RIGHT just after the bridge. As always park sensibly.
Neil Wilson, Berwick KC adds...'Just after Hollows bridge a large rock river right signals an excellent play spot with a great surf wave in very high water, and an even better hole for loops etc... at anything above 1.5 on the gauge.'
OTHER NOTES: An excellent intermediate trip. A good test of leading skills, for those trying to gain experience of group control.
Also consider a trip on Wauchope Water, a tributary.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Andy Evans, also Neil Wilson.
If the gravel beach at canonbie has water round the back of it, it's good to go, if the beach is not there it'll be alot of fun!