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Upper Derg River

  Grade:   3 to 4       Rating: river rating
  County:   Tyrone   Date updated:30/08/2014
  Section Length:   10km depending on get out   Version: 1

Brief River Description

As this is essentailly a mountain stream it is best paddled when it is raining or a day after heavy rain.

Directions to the Put-in

From Castlederg follow the signs for Killeter, once in the village drive straight through and follow road, passing signs for st patricks well. Keep driving until you pass through a wooded glen and meet a fork in the road. Take the right (lower) fork and continue driving until you start to pass the new wind farms built at tullnashane. Just after this the road swings to the right and over a small bridge, this is the out in and some parking is avaiable on other side of the bridge. Get out has been suggested as the bridge below Killeter. Some paddlers use a right of way just where the whitewater ends, however landowners in area have been disputing this right of way. It is however a legal right of way. The main get out mentioned in the guide book is almost back in castlederg. On road out of castlederg you cross a hump bridge with an orange hall on the right, rew hundred yards further on is a left turn which leads onto a more substantial bridge. Alternatively just short of killeter another hump back bridge where it is possible to get out, you may have to do a bit of exploring to find your own get out as I have heard of numerous others.

Directions to the Take-out

Again mulitple get outs have been mentioned. However just at the end of the last constriction in the river is an easily noticable pool. on the river right bank a distinct path will lead you back to the road. This is a right of way but one landowner in the area has made it his personal mission to drive everyone including local residents off it. Most you will meet are friendly and if your polite you should have a problem. Parking however can be an issue but politeness will get you far in this area.

River Description

Some nice bouncy whitewater from the start, until the river takes a 'S' turn through some nice waves. Main section is notciable when river spilts around an island. take the river left or wider channel. Its badly over grown and rescue or scouting from the bank is a real mission although easlily portaged on river left and you can put back on right bellow this section.It has been described as grade 4 although a grade 3 in most waters, its tight and can attract strainers. Its fiarly straight forward and most competent paddlers should have no difficulty in making it through. Although its over very quickly the 'Best' pop out hole in the country has been reported to be at the bottom on this section Grade 2/3 follows until a hole which can hold a boat and is found under a very low tree although some reports say this has been removed. Continue until river narrow with rock walls and nice bouncy wave train ending up in large pool (easily distinguishable). at this point it is possible to egress but be wary or alternatively continue on for grade 2 until the bridge at killeter.

Also reports of a short but epic tributary into the derg

Local issues

Issues did arise between local farmers and fishermen and I heard rumours this is what scuppered plans to have the Derg made into a canoe trail, however rumours aside; just after the put in you will see signs warning against tresspass. However my understanding is the issues around this concern fisher men and do not apply to paddlers. Strainers and dead sheep can be an issue although only the main section is nt easily scouted.

River level gauge

If water is flowing above the base for the middle pillar of the bridge at the get in then the level is perfect, any lower and it will be a scrape. If your head is scraping under the bridge your in for an intense and fast paddle. The level can be gaged at the main bridge into castlederg. If the river is touching or covering the footpath that follow the river its a good level, if its up the flood wall then it will be big, looking up stream if you can see rocks in river in line with castle then its prob to low. Own judgement is required here.

River Hazards

There is a hole that can hold a boat at all levels above love with low trees, other hazrads are strainers and dead live stick, Barb wire aross the river in lower stretches but this is not an issu from put in until main sections end.


Original Author: Conor Daly

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