RIVER ETTRICK

(Upper section)

NAME OF RIVER: Ettrick.

WHERE IS IT?: The best section of the Ettrick and possibly the best run in the Scottish Borders. This narrow twisting and bouncy run has enough to keep all levels interested.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Drive west from Selkirk on the B7009 pass through Ettrickbridge the location of the gorge section. Continue up the valley for about 12 miles and take the right hand turn at Ramseycleugh for Ettrickhead. Look out for a bridge into a field on the left hand side with a 7T weight limit. There’s only room for one car without blocking access. Leave a car here and carry on up the road for 4 miles just past the second bridge there is a shepherds shed on the left hand side of the road with a layby on the right. Park here and cross the field to get to the river.

APPROX LENGTH: 4 miles

TIME NEEDED: Unknown

ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: It needs to have been raining hard or an intense summer shower. The river at Ettrickbridge should look fairly full on. There is a sepa gauge at Brockhoperig (half way down this section). Check the Sepa website (http://www.sepa.org.uk/water/river_levels.aspx) for levels, (brockhoperig) ideally the gauge should read 1m or above but should still go at 0.8. The more the better, but beware the road is liable to flooding.

GRADING: 2/3

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: A gate across the river, see description.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river is mostly continuous read and run grade 2/3 stuff but watch out for a rapid about a 1/3 of a mile from the start under a big wooden bridge. It is a narrow fast chute with a rock at the end, a quick turn to the right around this rock and into the boily eddy that awaits before the next narrow chute to the river right. The river continues with constant interest and with the odd stopper to watch out for Also check out a bridge across to a farm on a fairly flat section. Under the bridge is a sheep gate across the river. At time of writing (Feb 2016) only half the gate remains and is passable but is well worth checking on the way up as it is at the side of the road.
The next rapid to note is a long continues grade 3 with a few different lines. This is fairly close to the road just after a flat section. The normal line cuts right then moving to the centre and following the main flow. The river is fast flowing here and could result in a long swim if anything were to happen. Continue down the main flow through a couple of big holes.
The rest of the run is grade 1/2 to the end. Beware of trees overhanging the main flow river right. 200m from the end. It is possible to take the left channel down the back of the island.

OTHER NOTES: The Lower Ettrick and the Yarrow are fairly nearby.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Ryan Notman, Mark Watson

 

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