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Coomhola River

  Grade:   3 to 4       Rating: river rating
  County:   Cork   Date updated:03/03/2011
  Section Length:   4Km/2Km   Version: 3 (History)

Brief River Description

Good class 3 play water with a couple of trickier rapids.

Directions to the Put-in

Situated in West Cork about 6 km from Bantry.

From Bantry head for Glengarriff on the N71. After 2.5km from Ballylickey village turn right (signed Coomhola/Kilgarvan). Drive another 2.3km to Coomhola P.O. bridge, you'll reconoise it because it has a green post office box by the sign post and a stone Coomhola sign.

At Coomhola P.O. bridge cross the river and turn left. Drive along the river 2km to next bridge, which is the first road on the left. This is the put-in. It is better to leave only one vehicle here and the rest at the take out.

Directions to the Take-out

Two take outs are possible, one shorter take out just below Coomhola post office bridge. A gate in the wall leads down steps to the river just opposite the (now permanently closed.

The next take out is longer, about 2km downstream where the river and sea meets. Recognizable as a big sweeping bend right next to the river with a large lay-by or 0.5 km farther still at Snave beach.

River Description

From start about .5 km flat water. Then a sharp right hand bend (good squirt spot) and a couple of small waves lead to another bend to left. The rapid here has good wave, flat spins are possible. Then there are easier rapids for 1 km.

Look out for a rapid where a rib of rock crosses the river on a bend causing a 50cm drop, because the next rapid is tricky. Stop to inspect river right. The canyon section, the entry to this rapid funnels all the water onto a large boulder (Pinning potential is huge). This can be avoided by picking your way through the shallows on the right and dropping off the shoot into the middle of the canyon (1.5m).

The second rapid down is a pour over type play spot (better at lower levels). A small bit after the pour over there's a play hole. You will notice a huge tree which is half missing on river left. Further down stream just before the river splits in two, you will see the other half. You cant miss it. Caution is needed but can be easily avoided as the river opens up before it.

Flat water leads to the P.O. Bridge Rapid beneath the bridge, its grade 3+. On the rapid on bend after bridge a good wave/hole forms in high water or flood.

If continuing on to the mouth of the river, flat water leads to a class 3+ rapid about four different lines are possible. Then more flat water till the last rapid. This raid varies according to tide between a big volume class 3 and a nasty undercut 5!

Local issues

Its on a privately owned fishing river so access is not possible from May 1 to Sept 30. Please respect this for the sake of local paddlers who have good relations with the anglers. And there's usually little water during the fishing season anyway.

River level gauge

The gauge is between the two takeouts on side of a pump shed. 0.6 to 0.8 seems best for the pour over spot, 0.8 and up for running the river.

River Hazards

Trees are a problem in big water. Set up safety for the final rapid if you run it.


Original Author: dave glasswell
Latest Author: Seanie
(Full History)

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