Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: River Carron. Two nowhere bridges and big metal horses.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Cumbria
    Posts
    1,638

    Default River Carron. Two nowhere bridges and big metal horses.

    My brother lives near the River Carron which runs down through the North part of the Central belt of Scotland to join the river Forth. I've looked at it in passing quite a few times and it always looks like it would be a good canoeing river to me. Seems to hold a reasonable amount of water most of the time.

    We were supposed to be doing a group paddle on the Loch Shiel circuit but it was scheduled for the same weekend as storm Ali was coming through so we landed up diverting to visit my brother instead.

    I had a look about for accounts of paddling the Carron but it seemed to end with everyone deciding it was too dirty to bother with. From a cycle round looking over bridges for put-ins it didn't look THAT dirty. We checked a few sections as far upstream as where it passes under the M876 and decided it was a decent level to paddle but cautiously because it's quite wooded and there are more than a few man-made features which would warrant inspection.

    It was a bit of a dull morning with high winds forcast for the afternoon so I stashed my pushbike downstream and set off for a riverside Car park just coming into Camelon from Larbert. First feature to negotiate was the archway on the carpark. A definate portage through. Still very tight! van + roofrack is too high but with me sitting in it JUST fited through.


    Handy map in the carpark. Don't get too excited though, the walk may be ok but as paddling loops go, this is rubbish. There are into double figures of locks on the canal stretch. It's the bit of canal that joins the top of the Falkirk Wheel to the river Forth.


    So yes, starts at Dorrator Bridge of whick only one end remains.


    It's the kind of thing I'm looking for in an urban paddle, bits of industrial heritage etc. I can't see anything in the picture showing how it would swing, looks like a suspension bridge to me but if it was a swing bridge, that would imply sufficiently tall things once navigated this far to need the clearance. That would bode well for it being paddleable.



    It certainly looks good from here anyway. Good size, good flow, good volume. Not so pushy we wont be able to stop to dodge fallen trees or other obstructions.





    And off we trundle. Not the best light for photography it must be said but the wind was staying away.



    Plenty of evidence of man interfering with the course of this river.



    Mrs stinkwheel says the water quality passes the sniff test. Plenty of wildlife about suggesting this isn't as polluted as people seem to think.


    Howerer invasive non-native species aboud. There are signs asking people not to disturb the knotweed and balsm but frankly, that horse has bolted.



    Some Autumn cololours in evidence. But is maple a native species to central Scotland? Funny how we tolerate some but not others.


    A few strainers to dodge but nothing too strenuous so far.



    You'd find it hard to tell you're in the middle of an urban area at this point.





    But there is an odd clue.



    First (of many) shopping trolley of the day.



    Blue sky!


    I'd seen a fairly substantial "feature" on google earth not far beyond this pipe bridge. The water getting pretty still-and deep-looking too.



    Textbook horizon line.



    Easy step up river right onto the top of a broken weir.



    Doesn't look too dangerous and no evidence of concrete however it's very busy downstream. On another day with another boat on hand, this might be a bit of fun.





    Just rather too many rocks to dodge so we took the easy/safe option ald lined it.





    Not sure what this was but the stonework almost looks military somehow.



    Second bridge to nowhere of the day.



    You wonder if a lot of people realise they have a river at the end of their garden. This guy's taken full advantage.



    While the river isn't particularly polluted (plenty of herons, fish and a couple of kingfishers), it is VERY untidy in terms of litter. There is rubbish everywhere, both industrial and straightforward litter. Here's an odd bit.


    Not every day you see a flamingo on the River Carron.



    Nice wee Gin terrace and tree house to watch the sun go down.



    As you pass through Carron, the character of the river changes. It's definately tidal now and is picking up speed. The wind is getting up too.


    A bit more steering input required as the river forms a few tidal rapids and the river bed is littered with debris from fencing to chunks of masonry to old cars. Can't be far off low tide at this point.







    Potential take-out ahead on a road called "The Avenue" on Carron. Would be a scramble up a muddy bank at this point of the tide though.



    Wind is starting to get up now. Having to dig-in to make good progress.



    NOW we get some pollution. Dalderse sewage works is chucking out some pretty nasty effluent at this point making us both glad we're not paddling a kayak.



    And the end is in sight. Not many people will see the Kelpies from this angle.


    Approaching the tidal lock at helix park.




    Bit of a challenge though. Get a 30kg boat up a 20ft ladder. Not entirely unconsidered though. I used my pin kit and set up a mechanical advantage rig with a pulley suspended between the top bars of the ladder and anchored to the lamppost then just belayed it up. Much to the surprise of several onlookers. No photos because the wind and rain were starting to get a bit silly as storm Ali began to make an appearance.


    Kelpies from the canal.



    Yours truly having a play.





    And that's that. I dropped Mrs stinkwheel at one of the cafes for some hot soup while I cycled back along the canal towpath to pick up the van.

    So the Carron. A perfectly delighful and varied green water paddle bang in the central belt of Scotland with an easy shuttle. If you were particularly fond of portaging round locks, you could go from here to the Falkirk wheel then drop down onto the Queen Elizabeth canal for either Edinburgh of Glasgow.

    If you carried on, you'll come out into the Firth of Forth but it's a wide open area and used for commercial shipping, not a great place to be in a canoe.

    With hindsight, if you arrived nearer high tide, you could carry on downstream a short way, lift out onto the bank on river right then paddle back up a short stretch of new canal into the kelpies. Rather than roping up a tidal lock. Here's the google earth view of that bit from the A905 bridge. I didn't do this because I didn't know it was there, that bit of canal is too new to be shown on maps (it's not even on google maps or satellite, it's only visible on the street view).


    That night, trampolines and wheelie bins were sent flying across back gardens all around the central belt of Scotland by 100mph winds.
    Last edited by stinkwheel; 6th-October-2018 at 04:11 PM.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  2. #2
    Crow's Avatar
    Crow is offline こんにちは。私はカラスと私はスコットラ ンドの出身で す。
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Third stone from the sun
    Posts
    16,113
    Journal Entries
    10

    Default

    Excellent stuff.

    I love these urban paddles.

    Like the tiger helmet. Not sure it was necessary on this trip, but it certainly added a bit of colour.

    Loved the shot of the Kelpies over the mud too.

    Here comes the future and you can't run from it
    If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it


    Crow Trip Log

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Cumbria
    Posts
    1,638

    Default

    We weren't sure exactly what to expect so took the lids anyway. Mrs stinkwheel took the view she would either be wearing her wooly hat or a helmet so didn't bother bringing both. I put mine on latterly because it was starting to get pretty cold and wet and I was cycling through town afterwards anyway.

    We checked out a couple of weirs and rapids upstream of where we put on and most of them looked runnable, (although one big step weir would be to climb down), certainly from the motorway down but I suspect you could even run the Carron from a fair way further upstream given some rain. We didn't go too far up to make the cycle shuttle easier. Just as well really because the wind really got up just after we arrived at the kelpies.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    21,482

    Default

    Excellent stuff. I do love the idea of a jungle adventure in a canoe, 20 yards from people's front rooms, roads, parks, shops etc, and nobody knows you're there.

    I bet I'm not the only one looking for a decent line on the drop. I reckon it'll go river left in those conditions.

    Not sure how I've never realised that the canal actually paddles by the kelpies. That's now on the list, too when I visit my friends up that way.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Cumbria
    Posts
    1,638

    Default

    No/limited boat traffic on that bit of the canal at the moment becaue one or more of the locks is out of order. They had to crane some boats out so you certainly won't be bothering anyone in a canoe. There are a LOT of locks though. 14 between the wheel and the kelpies I think.

    If you did want a short paddle on it though, you could easily park at the top (free) carpark at Helix park, just a short carry from there, the canal runs above the carpark.

    If I fancied a canal paddle in that area though, I'd be tempted to go to the top capark at the wheel (South end) where the kelpie maquettes are kept. You can put in at the top of the wheel, go through the Roughcastle Tunnel, then it's a 3km paddle (with one double lock to portage) to the illuminated 615m Falkirk Tunnel. It's where I plan to take my neice and her Dad for her first canoe trip.

    We looked at the left too. There is a gap in the weir about 2ft in from the left bank, then there is a sneak-through to the left of the main stopper wave (which as-ever, looks smaller on a photo), it was where to after that? Turning left towards the chute against the bank looked best but it would have been a hard left turn then a powerful pull through to sneak between two rocks at 45 degrees to the flow. It would have been a stuipd place to pin a boat.

    A swan we'd passed further upstream took the same route we did. Mrs stinkwheel nearly jumped out of her skin as it came shooting past.
    Last edited by stinkwheel; 6th-October-2018 at 09:27 PM.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Central Scotland
    Posts
    4,376
    Journal Entries
    14

    Default

    Your brother must live quite near me then! I cycle that way 2 or 3 times a week, down to the kelpies and back. The weir at the carron iron works needs a little more water in it to be runnable, the downstream rocks are pretty.. well, rocky! Your bridge to nowhere was an old viaduct that took trains of material in and out for the old Carron works. The carron used to be really bad when I first moved up here but as you say it's coming back really well apart from the invasive species.

    Nice paddle sir!
    Cheers,

    Alan


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
    Posts
    17,012
    Journal Entries
    2

    Default

    Great blogg as always. Glad to see you making the trip north to explore Chainsaw’s home turf for him while he paddles Loch Ard (I am very much the man in the glass house throwing stones here)
    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    ~Kirkintolloch, Glasgow
    Posts
    810

    Default

    Drive past it every day. I've had a hankering to give it a try (initially from higher up), but I'd never got round to it. Good to see the photos.
    Thank you for the Blog.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Shefford, Central Bedfordshire
    Posts
    1,041

    Default

    Nice blogg and pictures. Would be a nice paddle, in the summer ..... sun glinting off the shopping trolleys and wheelbarrow
    Simms ..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Kettering Northamptonshire
    Posts
    1,131

    Default

    Enjoyed your blog .... very warts'n'all....thanks.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Nr Rochester in Kent
    Posts
    3,820

    Default

    Nice blogg. Always good to explore somewhere new, and always remarkable how you don't need to go far to escape the urban world.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  12. #12

    Default

    After being slightly embarrassed that it took a guy from Cumbria to point out the river 10 minutes form my house was paddlable - I gave it a go on Monday. A nice outing. Put in at the same spot. Met a dog walker who claimed to have seen another couple paddle it the other week(must be the river stalker?).
    Spotted a semi submerged Morris Minor on the way down.

    Timed it for high tide at the Kelpies, but went to the 2nd lock further down the river. You can get out at the floating dock, then if you have a long line climb up onto the lock, walk around to the bank - then pull the canoe over to you and up the bank. Pretty sure you could do this at most tide states. Did try a get out on the bank - the mud was solid at the high tide line (but is not below that) - however very very slippy. Did a stylish retreat (fell) back in the canoe without getting wet.

    I will try and stick up a picture or two.

    Adrian

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •