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Brief River Description
Hack and Huck. As in hack your way in through the undergrowth and then huck yourself off some waterfalls.
Directions to the Put-in
This river is situated just behind the hotel in Leenaun. From Westport take the N59 straight to Leenaun.
Directions to the Take-out
The take out is located in the Leenaun Hotel car park or any other suitable parking that you can find.
The main area of interest on this river is contained within a very short section of the gorge. There are a total a four drops of varying heights (as seen on Huck’d). The put in starts in the pool above the first and biggest drop of about 22ft. The drop directly above this could possibly be run safely with a decent bit of water on it. When we ran it the pool into this drop was too shallow to consider. There’s also a large branch in the way which you’d have to navigate or remove. If you combined these two drops together you’d have quite a 'sporting' drop on your hands. Excluding the initial run in drop, the main drop is a simple enough “tuck and huck”. The plunge pool at the bottom is very deep and quite safe.
The next drop will probably require you to get out of your boat as there’s a boulder choke blocking access. If the water level is on the high side, then you should be able to squeeze down the gap. This drop is again a simple affair. The drop is about 15ft into another super safe pool.
The fourth and final drop is a bit trickier than the other two, but still very safe. There is a tiny lead in over some rocks which then shot’s you into and over a tight, almost vertical slide of about 15ft which lands into a plunge pool not much bigger than your boat. It would be quite important at this stage to have someone waiting in this plunge pool or have a rope strung across it so as to prevent you sailing off the next drop (or both). This next drop is about 12ft again, but lands onto rocks and a tree and there is definitely no way of running it safely. This final, runnable drop, makes for a fun finish and despite the consequences of going over the following drop, with adequate precautions this is easily avoided.
In general this run is a bit of a no-brainer. However in high water this run would jump from a pleasant grade 4 “tuck and huck” to a more full on “what the fcuk?” Give yourself lots of time when running it whatever the water levels. It took three of us over three hours to run this gorge. There can be a fair bit of ropework involved.
There are A LOT of issues surrounding the use of this land. Essentially the owner doesn’t want anyone on his land for fear that he might be liable. Which is fair enough. I would strongly suggest that you ask for permission before entering onto his land. The landowner’s house is the new one located at the top of the track as your heading towards the gorge. This also means that he can see anyone trying to sneak up to the river.
Access has probably improved here as the new house at the top of the turnoff is actually two apartments both rented(at the moment, 2007) by outdoor workers who would be more than sympathetic to people parking sensibly and paddling there
Please do not enter onto his land without express permission as it might damage relations between kayakers, landowners and fishermen in the area. Cheers.
River level gauge
Requires feck all.Although a bit of rain is always good for a laugh.
The feckin midges. Did I mention the midges? They'll eat you alive in there. Locally we call it Midge Creek. Other than that if you run the first drop, possibly squished toes. And there exists the possibility of shooting over the final drop onto nasty sharp rocks. But the rest of the drops are about as safe as you can get for running waterfalls.
Author(s)Original Author: Graham Clarke
Latest Author: Graham
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