Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

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Seanie
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Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by Seanie » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:16 am

So yesterdays hike got me back in the mood for finding rivers I might not be familiar with. Myself and Annie (wearing inappropriately healed sandals :-p ) headed for the Owenglin river just outside Clifden. I'd heard that there are three drops in succession called 'Snap, Crackle and Pop', but I'd never investigated.

I looked at the OSI map yesterday and to my surprise there is quite a bit of gradient in one section of it and plenty of catchment area above it...So I Googled the river name and got plenty of pictures.
Heres one of the results:
22289915gTINpOaiMk_ph.jpg
http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1022289915028840018gTINpOaiMk
I also looked at the aerial imagery from google maps, yup it looked good.
So we set out today to get some photos and inform ourselves.

Conclusion
There is indeed a rapid with plenty of drops on it, it looks like it could be grade 3+, but its hard to tell without any water on it. Its located west of 'Clifden Glen' holiday houses. The official name for the falls is 'Simon's falls'. I'm not sure if this is what other paddlers call 'Snap, Crackle and Pop'. (If anyone knows can they let me know).
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Upstream of 'Snap, Crackle and Pop'.
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The main drop

Here are my photos from the day.
Owenglin_river_map.JPG
Put In/Take Out - red arrows, Rapids highlighted in yellow.
Update: See my post below
There are also two other rapids upstream of this section. Its possible to put on at a bridge about 6km west of 'Clifden Glen' estate. This section would predominately be grade 2 water, with lots of bends meandering through some of the most beautiful country side Ireland has to offer (take a look at the photos). I'd be very interested to paddle this river, with the possibility discovering if would it fit into western kayak clubs list of frequently run rivers. I have a funny feeling that this river, with its slow start and exciting finish, would have exactly what's needed for a club trip aimed at almost-intermediates.

Maps & Aerial Photography of the Area
Google Maps
OSI Maps
Using the GPS data from my phone I added some detail of the roads and pathways to Openstreetmap.org

PS. Thanks Annie for coming along and keeping me company.

J.K.
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by J.K. » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:55 pm

You had a nice day for it, those shots of the mountains are ace.

And we're not american, get that z out of the topic header.

J P
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by J P » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:00 pm

Hi Seanie,

I paddled it a few times over the last while although we just walked up to the start of the rapids near the cottages. Good technical class III I'd say. I heard talk of a short gorge section up somewhere on the longer start but never cheked it out. Access could be an issue with the cottages if the club were going through but you can get out at the next bridge down on the main road into Clifden or just before the class V bit in town...

If memory serves there are a couple of rusty iron bars sticky up waiting to spear the unwary somewhere near the middle/end of the run. I can't help with the names - didn't know there were named rapids on it.

JP

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Seanie
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by Seanie » Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:39 pm

J P wrote:Access could be an issue with the cottages if the club were going through but you can get out at the next bridge down on the main road into Clifden or just before the class V bit in town...
Hey JP, I don't think there would be an issue, there are at least two bridges before it goes near Clifden town, with easy access well before the grade IV section. Having said that I have also hear rumours of nasty river wide holes near these bridges when the level is high.
J P wrote:If memory serves there are a couple of rusty iron bars sticky up waiting to spear the unwary somewhere near the middle/end of the run. I can't help with the names - didn't know there were named rapids on it.
I've heard of iron bars on the class IV section in the town, but I haven't hear or seen anything like that on the Snap Crackle and Pop section. Is that the part you are talking about?
J P wrote:I heard talk of a short gorge section up somewhere on the longer start but never checked it out.
I got that feeling too, after studying the aerial photos, I decided to take a look. so I set off by myself yesterday and hiked in from upstream.

I found a bunch of stuff. And I must remark that this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in Ireland. Unfortunately my GPS switched it self off after a few photos, so some of the photos don't have a location on the map.

Image
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On my way home I took a trip up past the long start put in bridge, through the forestry roads, there seems to be potential for more rapids there also.
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Flat stones at the river crossing.
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Check out the full photo album here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/seaniebyrne/OwenglinUpper
The photos don't do it justice, so I'll up load some video clips later.

My conclusions this time are that this river has tons of potential, ranging in grade 3 fun to potential class 5 hardcore. It does rely completely on water, however the valley is massive! and this river is the only exit. With solid bedrock floors and solid rock banks, the river is constricted.

I'll be out here with a kayak and a camera the next time its raining.

J P
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by J P » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:34 pm

It was around where the cottages/holiday homes are that I remember the odd iron bar or two in the river. Was a bit after the main rapid but before the get out... Not a major hazard but almost caught us out.

Looks like alot of fun up further too.

JP

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Seanie
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by Seanie » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:40 pm

This is probably overkill...
Heres a video of the upper part
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7NFhJ9b_GE[/video]

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rlynch
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by rlynch » Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:20 pm

We had a great day out here yesterday – seven hours on the river. Big thanks to Seanie for all the groundwork.

There were certainly a few long flat sections, but the two main falls made up for this. The level was pretty low, but the falls were still good to go – and this was after only a day's rain, and that after a very dry period. The flat bits were pretty scrapey.

The first drop has been christened Hot as Balls Falls, by Andrew, who was first up. I'd put this at GIII+. It's maybe 20ft in total, with the right and left lines being good fun. There's a hole on the river-right lead in which certainly takes your speed away, and might get a bit sticky on higher levels.

There's a big pool at the bottom, with access up the steep river-left bank making it easy to do lots of runs. After the pool there's a short GII+ rapid.

Further down the river, the second drop is maybe 25ft and has two channels. The river-right channel is a horrible-looking crack with the water pounding on to lots of big rocks. Definitely unrunable by my standards. The river-left channel is good, with a very small pool halfway down and a large flat rock placed laterally across the bottom of the drop, with a space just over a boat-width to the left to get through. The crux is getting through that gap. I'd put this at GV. Again there is access up the left bank for repeated runs.

Fair play to Barry who said he'd go first, and encouraged the rest of us to go. I stupidly decided half way down that I'd try to catch the tiny eddy in the pool halfway down, and consequently ran the second half backwards. Dave got it sideways on his second run and got broached on the upper section, necessitating a technical exit and boat extraction. Good fun. The boat got jammed on the rock at the bottom once we got it free and was all but invisible under the water – luckily the ropes were still on it.

The section nearer the town picks up a little bit, with lots of GII/III rapids, which would be good fun with more water. We portaged Simon's Falls, since there were a lot of fisherfolk about.

Put-in up the forestry road:
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Scouting Hot as Balls Falls (perspective is deceptive – we're about 20ft above the water you can see):
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Upper part of the river-left channel of the second falls:
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Lower part of that channel (note pillow on river-right where the big rock is):
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I have a few videos and some of the lads have some more photos too. Will try to get them up.

Ross
Last edited by rlynch on Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded!

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rlynch
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by rlynch » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:35 pm

A few videos of the first drop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPzsv_zSZ1g[/video]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRenLicHuqY[/video]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btbsQt5Ynwg[/video]

Barry says he'll throw up some of the second drop later.

Ross
We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded!

Barry
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by Barry » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:59 pm


tiernan
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by tiernan » Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:57 am

Fair play lads, looks like deadly fun.

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Seanie
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Re: Adventureizing - Owenglin River, Clifden

Post by Seanie » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:48 am

I've put up a full guide for the river here:
http://www.irishwhitewater.com/river_gu ... php?id=940

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