River Esk
photo of the River Esk at Longtown
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River Esk near Longtown

How to get here
From the M6 come off at J44. The A7 Longtown signed road is your exit route off this motorway interchange. Longtown will be reached in a few minutes and just 7 miles away, which takes you out of England and into Scotland. Drive through the town and at the far end of this small town you'll see the bridge but stop and park up before reaching it.

Parking
Parking is available on the left side of the road, just before the bridge sign. This is the only parking area available for this site. Nothing exists on the other side of the river.

Brief
Having parked as close to the bridge as possible, you will find two entry points are available. One is across on the right side of this busy road beside the bridge. A steep concrete stairway takes you down to the river. Under the bridge is where you want to be.
The other is in-between the row of houses on the left side (if coming from Carlisle), and down (and almost into) what looks like a private garden but leads down to the river close to the bridge.

The other side of the bridge is the deep side. I'm not sure which is the better to drop into? deep water? or shallows? - you are either bumming it until you drop in a deep hole or grovel on your belly until your arms drop down and you cantilever over.

The Dive
The bottom is of stone and boulders but has a base of hard sandstone which you'll come across as you descend. It also has layering and deep crevices. What makes this very interesting is that this is a tidal river so you hopefully will spot the odd flounder on the bottom here. (they are waiting for the sea to come back in - I think?!)

What is the depth of this dive? I've kept the best till last here - 3 to 4 metres!! - but then how many chances do you get to dive a tidal river with flounders?

Hazards to Divers
River dives can turn nasty. Strong under and over currents can make life tough. NEVER dive if the river is suffering from flood conditions. Always have shore cover in case you are swept away and maybe you will want to consider a rope and tender linked to you. Strong unexpected currents in unexpected places can strike you - be aware and use evasive maneuvers to counter-act suddden water flow directional changes.

Not to be dived when flood conditions prevail.
The sea mucks this river up, so not to be dived when the tide is in flow or ebb.
Watch for barbed wire and other rubbish. A few years ago, this was a dumping ground for scaffolding. A renowned spot for teenagers practising bridge jumping, sadly a teenager died upon hitting a piece of scaffolding.
That scaffolding has been removed by divers since then, but that's not to say similar dangers may lurk beneath, so if diving here please report any danger issues to the police and to freshwaterdiver.

What are the "counter-act measures" you mentioned in the above Paul? . . . If you have to ask that question you should stay out of the rivers.

Sustained finning at full power are, on occasion, the norm during some river dives, depending also on rain fall levels. Test your thrust by thrashing it out in your pool with fins on and try holding full power for FIVE minutes :-). Remember your training with arms above water for 30 seconds while thrashing your legs to keep the elbows above the water??
Here's a dive where that test may come in useful :-)

The advise here, is not to go in when she's in strong flow or ebb. This dive is in a tidal river.

River Esk at Longtown



River Liddle
photo of the River Esk at Penton bridge
The River Liddle
River Liddle at Penton Bridge

Our appologies: Previously we had mistakenly called this the River Esk.
This is the river Liddle, which runs into the Esk just south of Canonbie.

How to get here
From the M6 come off at J44. The A7 Longtown signed road is your exit route off this motorway interchange. Longtown will be reached in a few minutes. Drive through the town and at the far end of this small town you'll go over a bridge. The same bridge described at the start f this document above.

If coming down from the Langholm side you will pick up the A7 heading south. Stay on the A7 until you see the sign for Canonbie B7201 or if you miss it take the Canonbie B6357. All these roads take you through Canonbie. Pick up the B6357 for Rowanburn / Newcastleton.

Having passed Rowanburn (visitors take time coming through here because it has some interesting (strange) "decorations" in this village that actually won it an award. Watch for the B6318 Penton sign and you will soon be here.

Parking
Parking is available on the right side of the road right next to the bridge. There is room here for about six cars.

Brief
Permission from the land owner is required on the English side. (No information regarding the Scotch side at present).

Across the road you will see a small gate (Scotch side) which you will go through but watch when crossing the wooden board walk which goes over a small ditch. It was a bit creaky when we went over.

The Dive
The bottom is of hard sandstone with what could be limestone plus boulders and sand. For anyone who has dived the river Lund's Devil's Bridge at Kirby Lonsdale this is the near equivalent. She's not as large but it's nice and quiet here and has a depth of 5 to 6 metres dependant upon rain fall.

Expect to see the Salmon and Trout around May/June.

Hazards to Divers
Not to be dived when flood conditions prevail. Try to ensure that no rain has fallen for three days before diving due to peaty water and a current that may prove too strong. You don't want to hit the rapids on the other end of this dive!
River Liddle at Penton Bridge





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