Long Day on the Inchavore River

Two weeks back we got out to the Inchavore, one of the lesser-run classics of Wicklow boating. It’s a bit of an unknown quantity in terms of water levels and predictability. The put-on is reminiscent of the Source of the Liffey – when you get there, you think someone is winding you up, so narrow is it. It’s true ditch paddling for a good while, again similar to the Source.

Since the put-on is near the Sally Gap on the road to the Glenmacnass you never really get to ‘pass by’ and check it out. Maybe it’ll get run more often now that Warren has put up a river description over on IrishWhiteWater.

We took a chance that it would be running and headed that way when the Dargle was running at one-and-a-half blocks (or ‘bananas’ if you prefer). Another reason the Inchavore isn’t run that much is that the shuttle is perhaps the longest one in the country, with the usual takeout being the bottom of Lough Dan. Yes, you have to paddle the length of the lake after the river.

It turns out there wasn’t really enough water to run it, but we were a way into the forest before we accepted that it wasn’t going to pick up sufficiently. That said, there are no bad days on the water. It’s quite the remote and beautiful stretch, dropping away through the forestry, picking up water as it goes, before eventually and gradually becoming a proper river, with rocks and even some drops. Many, many rocks at the low level we experienced. There was plenty of practice pulling boats off rocks, and even a little two-point broach extraction ‘scenario.’ I love the use of the word ‘scenario’ in kayaking. It’s like a management buzzword.

For comparison, this little drop had to be portaged last time I was in there, due to a horrible towback. That’s Dave Cox…

Although most of the group were unhappy at being dragged down some low-water rockfest, the Inchavore is definitely one of my favourites in the country. It just needs a tad more water to show its potential.

When you take the time to look back up the valley, you realise just how beautiful the place is. Actually, the main reason I’m posting this at all is that I like this next photo – I got exactly two pictures this whole day, but this one makes it alright.

Daragh Power on the island section…

When the river widens out further down you catch a glimpse of the slopes of the hills around dropping down into Lough Dan. The final section of the river meanders around bends before feeding you into the lake. It’s a long slog across the lake, but we had a trailing wind and it was a fine afternoon.

With huge water spilling out of the other end of Lough Dan we pushed through the overgrown entrance to the Annamoe and on for a big water run down to Annamoe Bridge. What’s the worst thing you can do on the longest shuttle in the country? Leave the car keys at the top of course, which is what I did. I got off at Annamoe to try and figure a way back to the top, and most of the group pushed on for a full trip to Jacksons to pass the time. Huge, huge thanks to Paul Armstrong who happened to be finishing his own shuttle and offered to run us all back to the top, a long, long way. In the end we were back at Lynham’s with the vans before the paddlers.

If only the summer rain would continue and we got a run on the Cloghoge Brook, this might be the best Irish summer ever.

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2 Responses to “Long Day on the Inchavore River”

  1. Where the hell is Cloghoge Brook??
    I cant believe Darragh couldnt even manage a smile for the photo

  2. Hi Brian,

    The Cloghoge Brook runs parallel to the Inchavore, about 2 km north of it. It feeds into the Cloghoge River, which is the one that drains Lough Tay into Lough Dan. The put in is marked on the map over on IWW’s Inchavore guide.

    I haven’t run it myself yet, but I’m told it’s great. The take out would be the same as the Inchavore – that is to say, a long paddle across Lough Dan, but I’d love to get in there some day.

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