Hazard: Wick River - Pentland Canoe Club - Pentland Canoe Club

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Hazard: Wick River

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The River Wick is usually paddled from Watten to the sea wiith the put in usually just upstream of the A882 Bridge.  Above this there are many fences across the river.  In very high water head clearance below fishermen's footbridges can be an issue.   The first 6 km are grade 1 with a series of fishing weirs giving interest and a chance for novices to practice river skills. There have been two incidents in recent years where paddlers had problems with either wires across the river to stop cattle walking upstream, not in use 2009, and the watergate at Bilbster, an archetypical strainer(see photo).  Warning signs were put in place after the first incident but have disappeared.  The farmer has willingly agreed to replace his sign and the SCA have been contacted for a sign to indicate the need to portage above the watergate bridge(ND283535).  From there to the town the river is a sluggish mature one with little currrent.  Headwinds on this stretch can be strength sapping and lead to prolonged paddling times. Current picks up in the valley below the railway bridge. The groynes in the town can give grade 2 conditions if plenty water.   Take out is above the weirs at the boating shed on the left bank or at the slipway below the road bridge at the river harbour.

The 6km above Bilbster is very suitable first trip for novices, and the whole river may be of interest to open canoe paddlers, but they should carry food, drinks and spare clothes to avoid emergencies arising. Fishing huts can be used for sheltered breaks in two places.   In general the local fishermen do not relate well to us, and paddling on a Sunday is recommended.   Further info can be got from Bill on 01955 603512

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