GUIDE TO THE RIVER KELVIN
(Art Galleries Wave)
NAME OF RIVER: Kelvin.
WHERE IS IT?:West end of Glasgow, behind the art galleries between the Kelvin Way bridge and Dumbarton Road bridge.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Park on Kelvin wWay and carry your boat about 50m down the path until you see the wave (either side, climb over the small fence and get on).
You can also get on at Kelvin Bridge (Great Western Road) by going down the underground escalators and getting on under the bridge.
Watch out for double yellows!
APPROX LENGTH: It's a playspot (1km from Kelvin Bridge).
TIME NEEDED: As long as you can stomach it.
ACCESS HASSLES: No probs, flows through a park.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs to be high. The Kelvin rises and falls quickly so a 12 hour period of decent rain in the Glasgow area will bring it up. It can rise and fall a fair bit while you're on it.
To gauge the level you can:
- go look at the wave, if there are 2 well formed waves and the water has no rocks showing downstream then it should be ok.
-go to Gibson Street bridge, on the upstream side river left there is a big pipe entering from the wall. Half the pipe covered is a good level. More is better, but not worth if if it's below a quarter pipe.
-At Kelvin Bridge there should be lots of boils downstream and if you look under the bridge behind the subway the rocks should just be covered with a bit of old weir showing.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Try very hard not to swim because there is little chance to get boats/ people out with the lack of eddies and tree lined banks. Get out quickly if anything does wash down. There is a broken weir shortly after (produces a wave) but going past that it is very hard to get out. There are significant rapids downstream and you'll end up in the Clyde and there's not anywhere to get out there either.
The water quality could be a major hazard.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: At high water, this spot produces 2 good waves.
The top wave is glassy with a foam pile. Surfing, spinning and blunts can be done.
The second wave is much faster and has a big foam pile. This opens up some more moves. More bouncy fun than the top wave.
There is an eddy on river left which you can get onto both waves from. River right has a big eddy that can be used to paddle back up if you miss the first.
There are some random rocks below both waves mostly river right and along the river left eddy. Not a problem unless the river is below a half pipe.
If you paddle down from Kelvin Bridge, there's nothing for about 1 km until you reach the wave. The boils and big cushion against the bridge pillar make getting on at Kelvin Bridge a bit more interesting but you'll want to keep your head out the water as long as possible.
OTHER NOTES: This is a decent playspot when it's up. Don't be put off by the scoffs and jeers of any locals who tell you that you're mad. It's usually up at least a
couple of times a month in the winter. But, do avoid it if your immune system isn't good and your rolling isn't bombproof.
The Kelvin can be paddled from outside Glasgow right to the Clyde. There are apparently some good rapids along the way. There are a fair number of weirs, some of them look lethal and have killed paddlers years ago. To be honest, it's never really appealed to me that much and Ihave no plans to explore other bits of this river.
The water is dodgy and should not be swallowed. Spit lots, drink coke and wash afterwards and it should be fine. It is uncommon to get ill (touch wood). No one I've paddled with lately has got ill so the odds are good. It might make your kit stink.
Keep an eye out for random objects, such as sofas, coming down especially if it hasn't been up in a while. Check out the "shopping trolley strainer" on the right bank. Needs to be massive to flow through it but there are loads of trolleys in there. Watch out for any undesirable objects on the banks.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Tom Downie Andy Kent from Strathclyde Uni CC.
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