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Owengar River

  Grade:   4 to 5       Rating: river rating
  County:   Cork   Date updated:08/02/2011
  Section Length:   3kms   Version: 4 (History)

Brief River Description

This is a tight and steep hidden gem. At the get in you have a stepped waterfall with a fast rooster, followed immediately by a 10 footer boof. From here its tight and fast down to the main feature, a 28 footer with a tricky move on low/ medium flow at the top. at higher flows, this drop gets more dangerous. The river flows 90 degrees right in the plunge pool, and its tight. Its gorged in, and things could go seriously wrong here. Inspect it! From here the river continues downhill, with plenty of tight moves and boofs. You'll be in and out of your boat like a yo-yo!! beware of the rapid above the bridge at the get off, the line is tighter than it looks and it doesn't like paddles.

Directions to the Put-in

Its about an hour from Cork. From Cork city, take the new road heading for Killarney, the N22. After 20kms, turn off left onto the R585 at Crookstown, and head for Bantry on the R585. (Well signposted all the way) Make sure you take the right fork signposted Kealkill Church (Main road continues on left fork and the main sign seems to have gone). Drive for about 45km until you reach a small water works on the left hand side, and a shell of a ruined house on the right.

Keep your eyes peeled for the water works, its tiny and you could easily miss it. The put in is about 100 feet behind you, where a small path leads towards the river, and you should have a pair of waterfalls in front of you and just around the corner.

Directions to the Take-out

The take out is at the bridge in Kealkill village. Continue down from the get in to the village, swing a hard right at the shop, and carry on to the bridge. Easy! The take out is recognised by the river widening and you'll pass under the bridge you parked near. Take out on river right.

River Description

This one is tight, steep, shallow, deep, undercut, rocky, and beautiful!!!At the get in is one of the better parts of the river. First you have a 12 footer with a step and a rooster to send you flying. Straight after this is a nice 10-ish footer, keep right!!! immediately you will notice how tight this run is, being similar in width to the Caraghbeg in Kerry, but steeper!!! don't be afraid to get out of your boat to look around corners or at drops that seem ok from above in your boat. this river is trickier than it seems at times!!

The main feature is just a joy!! Its a 28 footer with a fast and tricky move to be made right before the lip. Pass under an arched bridge and its immediately after the next left hand bend. Eddy out and inspect on river left. The waterfall drops into a gorge and turns 90 degrees right immediately as you land. You HAVE to be right as you hit this beast, you'll see the consequences of a mistake yourself when your there, more so at medium to high levels. We've had a few hairy moments here and something could go wrong easily. Inspect and respect this one!! It can be run at quite low levels, but have someone at the lip to help straighten up a missed entry move. Sounds weird, but you'll see what I mean. This can be scouted by driving for about 1.1km from the put in until you reach a right turn-off with a Beara cycling sign and a big green transformer box. Continue down this road for 0.6km and turn left just before the bridge down a concrete road (private road leading to a farm yard) Continue along this until you come to a sharp right turn, the drop is just around the corner on your right.

From here on its mostly read and run grade 3/4, but again beware of the unknown on this one!! Small drop within sight of the main falls is followed shortly after by a tight slide. The pool below runs into an undercut rock on river left. Its joined by another river below this and is relatively flat for a distance broken by grade 3 wave trains. When you're looking at back gardens on river right you're at Carriganass falls. Fast and fun with nothing sticky its a great end to the river. You'll pass under a bridge where you would have parked. This rapid here is a bit tricky sometimes, and it doesn't like paddles, so beware!! Take out is on river right.

Local issues

Parking is limited at the get on so tuck in somewhere out of the way. There's some space outside the waterworks just beyond the put in and a layby at each side of the road just before the put in. There shouldn't be any hassle from the locals down them parts. Bit of a Deliverance feeling around the place though. Mind out for the sheep in fields, they're everywhere.

River level gauge

We are not aware of any level gauge or scale. This is a steep run, so its fairly obvious how the level is. If its brown, roaring and daring you to ride it, then its big.

If the waters low, it'll look like a scrape and it wouldn't really be worth getting on. As an indicator, if the drop around the corner at the get in is going, then the whole thing will go. If not, try the Upper Bandon(30 mins away)near Dunmanway.

River Hazards

Lots. Undercuts, big drops, trees, drops appearing out of nowhere, pointy and sharp rocks, crocodiles and all the things we're used to on any tough river in this country. Also, the river leaves the roadside for a lot of the way, bring everything you might need with you on the river.


Original Author: Eric
Latest Author: Tadhg O Keeffe
(Full History)

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