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Scotland March 2006

Scotland 24th – 27th March

Three cars headed north early on the Friday morning, with the weather man promising rain all day long. 

We arrived at the Bridge of Orchy and inspected the guage, the level wasn’t even registering, the short drive to Glen Etive revealed a trickle coming down the Allt Charroiun, so 5 of us went and threw ourselves down the rocks for the afternoon.

Nice Guy Tony on Speed


Exiting Speed

Molly bounces pinball

Taking the dry line

Molly exits a low water pinball

Exiting Pinball the right way round

The promised rain materilazed although not in the quantities we had expected, we drove round to the Arkaig and walked up the Allt Mhuic, its was all good, there had been enough rainfall to get the hill streams running and we changed and walked back up with our boats.

There was a fair bit more water than in November when we had been up here last and Lew too the role of blind probe for the run down the first slide and drop, I got the signal that all was well and dropped down to join him in the first eddy, the level was just beginning to get pushy with the eddy beginning to re circulate, we didn’t hand around and quickly ran the next two drops before carrying up for more of the same, with a bit more flow coming down it was possible to throw a hammer and pretty much land in the eddy after the first drop, a few of us had multiple runs of this top section before we moved downstream breaking each feature down and running it for the benefit of the cameras.


An un believing Clare styles the third drop


booftastic                                                                   hammer time


X Pres


Lew clocking up more air miles


Lyndon using the low brace, surely not, in the box

PK, as ever unruffled by the fact that his hanging draw just ain’t no good in these situations

Yup, that is you Clare

Climbing out after the last slide some of the first timers where surprised to see how short a stretch of river we had paddled, Lew and I hiked up for a quick blast down.

Saturday it rained and the temparature went up a good few degrees, this combination ensured that the previousley ditch low rivers were bank full on sunday morning, I stumbled downstairs to a grinning PK  who had just returned from inspecting the Roy, that told me all I needed to know and we quickly got everyone together for a discussion on what sections to do.  A short time later we were heading up through the murk and the mist to get on the Upper Roy, a quick chat with some guys who had just got off the river having had a bit of an epic confirmed that the river was rushing on through as we had expected.

Amy took a swim early on, exiting her boat after about six oh so nearly rolls in what was very messy boily swirly funky water, having banged her knee she was back upstream for the car.  Lew Lyndon and I continued on and all made a feeble attempts at Rooster Tail, each of us rolling in turn.

The Roy Gorge was pretty full on, we caught and passed Nottingham Uni at Wish You Where Here Tail and collectivley swirled our way downriver to Head Banger, a quick inspection saw all of us with boats on shoulders, portaged we carried onto to exit the gorge and pick up Orn again for the lower section.

Arriving at Spean Bridge and a few of us were tired and cold but with water in the river (3 on the gauge) which I had seen empty on so many occasions we just could not bring ourselves to getting changed, so five of us ran the Spean gorge which was pretty washed out, apart from the Witches Cauldron which PK led with his usual style.

Sunday saw some rain but not the amount of the previous night, we headed up to look at the Coe and found a decent amount of water in it, changed and on for the short blast to Back Door Man, which looked henious, Lyndon and Lew made it look simple, taking the shallow line and both getting a left paddle hook as they left the ledge, dropping down angled to the right and a straight forward exit out.


the guys on back door man

A short section and you soon arrive at the gorge, half a K  of walled in river, we spread out a bit and headed down, I couldnt see PK’s lead as he was out of sight within seconds, half way down we eddied out for a quick breather and then carried on down, the gorge spits you out in to easy water then only one obstacle before the get out, an un named rapid but with a 5- badge drop,  the guidebook recommends inspecting either the left or centre right line, as Lyndon and I dropped the left line we looked down on X Pres who it has  to be said was not in a good place, upright when I saw him but working hard to stay that way, trying to dig himself out of some horrible looking water, it was soon apparent that the only way out was up, PK grabbed him from the bank and pulled him out as he popped his deck, shaken and maybe a little be stirred, we carried on.

PK and Lyndon dropping Easan Dubha

Jefe, thats a lot of boat to get tail squirted

Cars loaded we headed for the Orchy, with 3 on the guage we had a big water blast as the sun shone down, Lyndon and PK ran hard right on Easan Dubha with the rest of us out on the bank river left, with 3 on the guage this section is a hoot, although I kind of fancy the level that the guidebook describes as mind altering.

We paddled: Allt a Chaoruinn, Allt Mhuic, Upper, Middle and Lower Roy, Middle Spean (ok its flat) Spean Gorge, Lower Coe and the Middle Orchy

Thanks to Dr Beer for pictures on the Orchy