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Westport Owenwee River

  Grade:   1 to 3       Rating: river rating
  County:   Mayo   Date updated:10/09/2009
  Section Length:   3/4km   Version: 3 (History)

Brief River Description

A nice upper section, flat middle section, with most of the fun in the last 1km. Can be a good run if everything else is running to high. Seems to hold it's water well too due to catchment area.

Directions to the Put-in

Located 5km west of Westport.
Drive to Belclare either along the Coast Road (R336) or by the new road leaving Westport heading in the direction of Louisburgh. There is a garage located on the left as you approach Belclare bridge. This is the parking for the take out and also gives a good opportunity to check out the levels from the bridge. From Belclare head back towards Westport for 1km and take the right turn signposted for the graveyard. After passing the entrance of the graveyard and after 200m a small lane on the left leads up along the right bank of the river. At the end of this lane turn right to reach the start point at a narrow bridge.

Directions to the Take-out

The river finishes up in the sea so walk back up the track on river right to the garage at Belclare.

The steps back up to the road are no longer there as a chunk of the wall supporting them has collapsed. It is still possible to get back up but care is needed as the wall is weak and damaging it more could cause more issues with fisheries/landowners.

River Description

This is actually quite a nice run although most people just run the section from Belclare down as it has easy access, can be repeated multiple times and is the best section of river.After the bridge there is a wee flat section which is quickly followed by the main drop and then its continuous till the end. The Irish Whitewater Guide gives this section a IV but unless the level is high I don't think it deserves it.

Anyway regardless of grade this section is a nice run and has lots of technical moves that can be made as it s boulder garden in nature and is a good run to fine tune some skills on.

Local issues

I've been told by a local fisherman that he's brought a Dublin paddler to court for trespassing. his story was that he encourages the use of the river by paddlers, but its owned by the fisheries and they would like to be asked if its ok to paddle. The paddler he came across was rude to him and told him he had a right to paddle there. The first time I paddled it I asked at the garage beside the get in was it ok to paddle and was told its fine. I've never asked since and don't plan to.

Alan Judge: "Ran into the owner of the land on both sides of the lower section. well meaning dude. Is happy with paddlers as long as we call or text that day to ensure no fishermen on the river during the fishing season. So here is his number and Name Tom, 086 8331586"

River level gauge

Visual. You can walk down to the main drop from Belclare and gauge the level from there.

River Hazards

None really. The upper flat section is a bit overgrown. Swimming on the lower section might result from a couple of bruises due to the boulder garden nature of the river, but sure thats half the fun!


Original Author: Graham Clarke
Latest Author: JP
(Full History)

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