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Dunniel River


             
  Grade:   3 to 4       Rating: river rating
  County:   Sligo   Date updated:06/05/2012
  Section Length:   2km   Version: 1
             

Brief River Description

A banging start with two nice falls. Most of the rest is scant on eddy service and is mostly tucked into a gorge precluding easy swimmer rescue. The whole thing is narrow, shallow, tree-filled and rescue unfriendly. But has some nice lines and drops to make it very much worthwhile.

Directions to the Put-in

Take the N4 from Sligo. Turn off and go through Ballisodare. Take the N59 from Ballisodare to Dromore West. The River is located just on the sligo side of the village. You can't miss the main falls on the left as you drive through. Best parking is the right side of the road before the actual put-in.

To get to the put-in follow along the wall on the falls side of the road and there's a break in the wall and a stairs down. From the bottom, head around the back of the old mill. You'll need to do a small bit of climbing, then head along the bank 60 meters until you get to the spot you'll seal launch in from.

Directions to the Take-out

To get to the Take-out, take the right turn in Dromore West onto R297 signposted for Easkey, then take the next right. Continue along here until you get to the bridge just over 1km along this road. Park at this bridge. Keep well in so other traffic is not obstructed.

There is a walkway that runs nearly the entire way along the river, from Dromore West. This is handy to get a view of what you are in for. You can also use it if you don't have a second car for shuttle, just leave boat and paddles out of you on the path and follow the path across the road. The path seems to end at the next road you meet, but turn left and take the next right and keep walking until you see the path starting again on your left.

River Description

To put-on walk into the mill area (mill in Dromore West, not the one halfway down the river) and climb up the old millrace behind the building. Seal-launch in just above the drop on river left. this drop is a pretty straightforward group of steps. Little boof-strokes off them all are fun.
The second fall under the road is taken on the left with a good stroke on your right side as the river will kick to the right on landing. If you go too right on this drop you can get broached in a bunch of partially sunken tree roots and junk.
The rest of the river down to the lower mill is all read-and-run grade 3 stuff. Main things to be aware of here are the trees, brambles and the fact that any swimmer is in for a potentially long and nasty swim as you are in a gorge.

The entry of the lower mill section is identifiable by the small concrete bridge over the river.
The eddy above the bridge on river right is the top eddy for this set.
The lower mill rapid is made up of two drops followed by a constriction. Take the first drop on the left or right. It is very shallow here so, for left line boof and curl up ready to land about 6 foot onto barely wet rock. Right line leads down a twisty slide. Slightly less rock impact.
This leads straight into the second drop of the lower mill section. It will try take you left, but work it as right as you can. Itís a straight boof, no problem. Going with the flow left will deposit you in a slot against a vertical rock face. Probably not fun.
There is an eddy directly below the second drop on the right. Directly behind this eddy is the constriction in plain sight.

The constriction is a rock filled slide between two vertical walls about 4 feet wide. You will need to inspect for any strainers in it. You might be able to do it from your boat in the eddy above it. In all but the most extreme of flows you should be able to get out on river left right above the constriction, though it's going to be a hike and a half out. If it happens, try not to piss of the owner. If possible, do not go onto the private land. If you must venture onto it, pop in to the mill and ask permission. The land owner is very nice and is supportive of paddlers doing their thing on the river. But he has planted the woodland on river-right side of the mill rapids with exotic ferns and the like which we will probably not even notice in our trampling. There is virtually no use in any bank-based safety from here anyway, so your best bet is to just send the strongest paddlers down first to set up chase boating positions. . There is a small hole at the base, but you should have enough speed to go through no problem. Once one paddler is through you can set up some safety below from the stone slabs on river right if needed.

From here on down there are two more grade 3 drops on the way down. The first one is read and run. Simple. Right after the first the river turns more than 90 degrees left. It's advisable to take the first oppurtunity to get off as there are plenty of low lying branches at the moment, including some spanning the whole river. It's on river left approx 100 meters after the bend in the river. Go under the bridge then climb up onto the path.

The second has a channel on the right you can take or a lip on the left you can boof . At the moment the channel is filled with brambles, so go for the boof line. By now you will be at the bridge. Go under it and on downstream until you see a grassy slipway on river-left for feeding cattle or something. The walkway that comes from Dromore West runs above it. Get out here ,climb onto the walkway and walk up to the bridge.

Local issues

There are no fishermen on this river at all! (the first bridge you go under apparently made it impossible to let fish up the river.

If possible, do not go onto the private land. If you must venture onto it, pop in to the mill and ask permission. The land owner is very nice and is supportive of paddlers doing their thing on the river. But he has planted the woodland on river-right side of the mill rapids with exotic ferns and the like which we will probably not even notice in our trampling. There is virtually no use in any bank-based safety from here anyway, so your best bet is to just send the strongest paddlers down first to set up chase boating positions.

There's clearly marked parking as you enter the village on the right handside of the road, there's also space on the left but it's funeral home so avoid using it if at all possible.

River level gauge

Look at the main falls, you'll have apretty good idea if it looks scrappy/high/unrunnable etc.


Author(s)

Original Author: Tim Fullwood/Sligo Kayak Club


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