East Lyn - Watersmeet to Lynmouth trip details

Last crux move. Image by Simon Westgarth www.gene17.com

West country whitewater kayaking par excellence!
Region: South West
Discipline: Whitewater
Difficulty: Intermediate
Grade: 4
Length: 3 km
Average Time: 2 hrs
Start: Access is easy to this section as the road (A39) follows the path of the river. There's a car park on the right and you can park here and carry your boat down the winding path to Watersmeet where the Lyn and the Hoaroak join Alternatively put on at Brendon to combine this with the run on the superb Upper East Lyn (see separate guide)
Finish: Pretty easy really, just keep paddling until you find yourself at sea! If you're really lucky the swell will be rolling and you can surf a few waves before taking out on the beach. Alternatively take out on river left just before the footbridge over the river and walk up the path to the main car-park

The Lyn is an absolute gem for hose that want something a little more challenging and steep. When it's in condition it's fantastic. When it's high to flood it's a white-nuckle rollercoaster ride verging on a religious experience.

If you catch the Lyn in condition then it's a challenging and pushy run, best suited to smaller, experienced groups. A swim would be very nasty, (if you've ever walked up the path by the Lyn when it's empty and seen its rock formations you'll know why). There's an option of getting on at the village of Brendon (Check out Guide to Section HERE) adding some fun quality water withone more serious drop in need of inspection/protection. But most choose to put on at Wtersmeet, where the Lyn and Oakement join. From the get on at Watersmeet until you reach the sea at Lynouth (you can actually paddle out in to the surf if there's swell!) you  are going to lose over a 100m in height and pretty much all of it it in the East Lyn's short, but action packed gorge.
Crux A on the East Lyn River, image by Simon Westgarth www.gene17.com
Just after you put in you'll come to a slab style drop, which requires a good boof. In higher water the hole becomes grabby. From here the Lyn lets you warm up with some nice grade 3 before you pass a house on river left and the more serious drops begin to appear. A series of drops come thick and fast, getting more and more technical in nature until you approach the main gorge. As you reach the second bridge you are on the brink of the gorge and the main meat of the run. A path runs beside the river here and you can easily scout the main drops from here. Or continue on and each section is also scoutable by eddy hopping and then jumping out on the river right. If it's been a bit much up to that point then the bridge offers an escape before you commit to the gorge. It's technical, pushy paddling and the water hides some nasty potentail pinning spots and some ugly siphons... Staying in the boat is highly reccomended. After a difficult drop where you have to thread the needle through a slot you'll approach the first crux. A line over a sloping weir drop and down the left before pushing over to the middle for a small waterfall with a very shallow landing and a sticky hole in high water, make sure you get that boof stroke in to keep your nose up to save your bow and ankles. In really high water the top weir drop can also be sneaked on the right before heading over to the left.

A few more drops to keep you focused before you hit the second crux. A tricky lead in before flying down a left hand channel and hitting a mega boof over the sticky angled hole, which ominously lurks below. In low to mid levels there's a cheeky 'Rock Star' grind/boof that you can do by driving up on the rock shelf that runs down the righthand side of this left hand channel.

The hardest stuff is over, but don't relax to much as there are still a couple of boulder garden style rapids to negotiate, and they've pinned more than one paddler. After these things ease off until you finally hit the canalised section and then, finally the sea. If there's surf catch a few waves before heading in to shore and some well earned fish & chips or pub grub in Lynmouth. Alternatively take off on river left by the path that leads to the large carpark.

Images courtesy of Gene17 Kayaking

Paul 'Cheesey' Robertson. Former World Freestyle Kayaking Champion and Brand manager for Palm Equipment and dagger kayaks on the East Lyn RiverPaddler's Favourite

By Paul ‘Cheesey’ Robertson Dagger Europe & Palm Equipment Branding Manager
Like a good narrative the Lyn has a beginning, middle and end. With the odd chance of a spin off and twist at the finale. At the begging you have Brendon. A small village with a few hardy bigots who try and dissuade you from enjoying a warm up on a truly majestic little class three run of mini-gorges, tight chutes and a few tasty boof moves. Best enjoyed with two or three friends with kit on ready to go.

As you meet the confluence with the Hoaroak, at Watersmeet, a little side tale starts with the chance to hike up the trib for a few sweet jumps of the sporty variety to be discovered. Just follow the path and you’ll find them.

Below is the gorge. Well talked about, we’ll walked about (there are a few tricky moves) and sadly run all to often when its low - don’t bother enjoy a cream tea and mini golf in Lynmouth instead. Best wait for a summer storm or two, rustle up a crew and it will deliver you some full on ‘paddling and leave some of your friends speechless (we’ll it was dark and the gauging island had disappeared)

The twist is at the finish. Upon reaching the town you paddle straight into the sea (which is cool) and if you are lucky you’ll find one of the SW’s best point breaks peeling away down the coast – two for the price of one, nice!

Why do I love it? Here’s my recipe for a classic day on the Lyn. 1. Let it rain (it always does as part of a British summer)
2. Is it still raining? Good. Get your kit and boat in the car. Round up friends.
3. Make sure its after 3 pm and set off at high speed. Have a vehicle malfunction en-route.
4. Meet at put in (it always looks lower there) and cajole friends into getting on.
5. Get changed and head to Brendon. Meanwhile ignore unreasonable objections to your doing, so by irrational and locals (they are a bit special in Brendon)
6. Set off and enjoy the 4km class III section with its funky little sneaks, rollercoaster gorges and a few nice boof moves. It’s really quite a classic but should only to be enjoyed with two or three friends, no big groups.
7. Arrive at Watersmeet all content. Hike up Hoaroak and return back to confluence a sh*it load faster than anticipated due to gradient (there are a few sneaky jumps up there if you keep walking) and the by now rapidly rising river levels.
8. In darkening skies, note worried look in friends’ eyes. Ignore, turn and head into the gorge.
9. Arrive at Lynmouth, in the dark, after a thrill a minute ride of class 4/5 proportions. Paddle straight into the sea for karma and then move immediately to pub for ‘karming’ friends’ nerves (now stretched to lack of speech).
10. Go home via the chip shop and off to bed to dream sweet dreams.

 East Lyn - Brendon to Watersmeet Guide

Accommodation: Campsites nearby and a choice of B&B's in Lynmouth and Lynton. A few 'nice' hotels if you're feeling flush too.

Food and Drinks: Spoiit for choice a plethora of pubs, cafés, restaurants and Chip shops (it is the sea side) in Lynmouth. We favour the Rising Sun for an apré paddle pint and a bite, or head to one of the chippies for steaming hot fresh fish & chips

Canoe Shops: Outdoor Active - www.canoeandkayakstore.co.uk Kayaks & Paddles Plymouth - www.kayaksandpaddles.co.uk Kayaks & Paddles River Dart Country Park - www.kayaksandpaddles.co.uk Totnes Kayaks - www.totneskayaks.co.uk AS Watersports - www.aswatersportsequipment.co.uk

Guidebooks: English White Water - www.pesdapress.com British White Water - Terry Storry

Useful Websites:

Kayaking and canoeing are assumed risk sports and you should take every effort to become aware of any dangers involved. These guides are not intended as instruction manuals they are just as the name suggests... guides. They can give you access and egress information and give you a flavour of the water you'll encounter, but water is an ever-changing environment. Rivers change with varying water levels, trees get stuck, and banks can collapse. Never assume a river is safe just because you read it in a guide. You must use your own judgement and experiences to make the decision whether to paddle, or not. And as rivers change so to at sea can the weather conditions and tides change. All information has been checked to the best of our ability, is given in good faith, and we hope will be helpful, but all information should be checked locally and you and you alone are responsible for your decisions to undertake any of the paddling trips contained within it. The authors and publisher can accept no responsibility for any inconvenience, injury or loss sustained by any persons as a result of information given in this guide.

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