The Souris River Route #3 / Souris to Bunclody

Launch : Just east of Souris, downstream from the dam. You can see the dam from the highway.

Landing : To get to the Bunclody Bridge, drive south from Brandon on Highway #10 and turn west onto #2 at the Log Cabin. Turn south at the "Fairfax" sign (Prov. Road 348). The bridge is seven or eight kilometres.

Distance : About 30 km

Time :
4 - 6 hours

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In early July the water was just high enough to make the rapids passable. The Souris in this area seems to be a series of wide, calm lake-like bodies joined by quick drops. The short rapids that join these quiet stretches are usually easily navigable once you recognize the submerged rocks on the first shelf and steer between them. The banks get steeper as you progress. About half way you'll see a cabin on the left bank, followed by a white bungalow overlooking the escarpment. Watch for two unmarked electric fences crossing the river in the last part of the trip - they are hard to see.

Historical Notes

This stretch isn't mentioned often in early historical accounts. As far as north - south trade routes go, the river is traveling "backwards" here until it makes the sharp left turn at the Souris Bend. Traders going south from the Assiniboine would take the cross country route rather than backtrack. Major forts were located near the Souris Mouth and in the area from Hartney southwards.

The Bunclody district does, however, have a colorful history. Settlers arrived in 1881 and George McGill became Secretary - Treasurer of the School District. He named the first school Bunclody in 1885 after his native home near Bunclody Bridge in Ireland. The town itself was not established until later. (Post Office in 1905).

It was the site of a rail crossing established in the early 1900's on a line stretching from Brandon to Devil's Lake. If you look to the west just as you enter the valley on Prov. Road #348 you will be able to spot the embankments on either side of the river. You can access this embankment on either side of the road as it heads up the valley on the south side of the river - it makes a great hiking trail. Take it to the west and you will pass the foundations of the grain elevator, and find a great view as you reach the dead end by the river. Taken to the east the embankment crosses some deep ravines and offers great views of the river valley. The rail line was abandoned in 1936. Check out the park just a bit up the hill on the south side of the bridge.

For More Details...

False Starts: A Settlement History of Western Manitoba

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