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Halton Rapids

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WHERE IS IT?: See Map It flows down from the Pennines and Eastern Lake District towards Lancaster, beside the M6 for some way. This stretch is just outside Lancaster near junction 34 of the M6.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Coming up the river from the motorway or Lancaster, drive a couple of miles up the A683 until you see a little steep lane dropping down towards the river on your left. Negotiate this lane and at the bottom you will find a large former railway station; now used by Lancaster Uni Canoeing and Rowing Clubs as a Boathouse. Park in the large carpark here.

To get to the top of Halton rapids, either walk up the disused railway track for several hundred metres or more sensibly, access the river upstream of the weir beside the carpark and paddle up as far as you can get.


GRADING: Grade 3. Grade 3+/4 in spate.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Stone ledges forming massive holes in spate. Weirs.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: You will have to carry/ ferry glide in order to reach the top of the rapid. You are not supposed to go as far as the top weir as it will interfere with the equipment there which counts fish. Put in at the first rock wall below.

Halton rapids is several hundred metres long and is formed by a series of large stone walls sticking out into the flow. In normal flows, it is an excellent training ground for novices and intermediates to whitewater. Plenty of small waves, eddies and holes to play with. Novices can practise at the bottom, more experienced paddlers can move upstream, etc.

Halton Rapids becomes more lively as the water rises and becomes remarkably powerful. The stone walls generate huge stoppers which need some dodging...they are almost certainly not playspots! In spate some epic surf waves appear but you cannot consider going near the stoppers...obviously for experienced paddlers only.

Below the rapids is another few hundred metres of flat water below the Boathouse weir. Make sure you get out on the left well above the weir. Although the weir is pleasant to play in at lowish levels (allegedly) paddling it, or paddling between this weir and the bridge just below is (ridiculously) strictly forbidden.


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