mersey.jpgThe Mersey is a useful training river, as it carries a reasonable flow at almost all times, and there are no access difficulties. For introducing novices, it makes a good combination with the Irwell at Burrs, which is shorter and has better bank access. The Mersey follows it up with slighty easier water but a longer course. Both these race courses can be paddled at practically any level, even if there has not been recent rain. River levels can be found by ringing the Rivercall service run by the EA (0930 107702), select option 3. (this is a premium rate call, but the information is brief and to the point so it's not expensive).

  The race starts above the weir next to the lake at Trafford Water Sports Centre. Turn North off the M60 at Junction 6 and follow the road ("Rifle Road") round left, towards the lake. There's an "A" framed building just inside the park. On race days, the gate just after this will be open allowing paddlers to drive down the road ("Cow Lane") around the lake, to the car park next to the start. If the gate is locked, the best place to get on is at the Jackson's Boat Pub, about 1/2 mile upstream of the start. To drive there, go straight on down Rifle Road instead of turning left into the water park. The Pub car park is for customers only - be discrete.

mersey.jpg The river is mainly flat, but flowing, apart from the well defined rapids. These are sometimes referred to as weirs, but in fact "weir" is a misleading description. They are really artificial boulder rapids, and there are four of them plus a few riffles. The lines are easy to spot, and if you miss them, all that happens is you scrape on a rock a little. This is another classic length race, taking about 20 minutes depending on the level. Rivercall (see above) covers the Mersey as well.

The race finish is on the left bank just after a right hand bend below the fourth weir. To get there by road, go back to the M60 then 1 mile West to junction 7. Take the A56 into Sale. Turn right at the first set of lights, and follow the road for 3/4 mile or so. As the road bends right, there is a park on the left. As the road turns back left, Little Ees Lane is on the right. This leads down to Sale Cricket Club, which is just past the finish. On race days parking is arranged in their car park but for training it is best to park out of the way at the egress point.