Archive for November, 2009


Day 8- The Allt Kinglas to Middle Orchy…Again

The last day of our holiday arrived and I was feeling happy but my body was feeling tired and bruised. I decided not to paddle that day. I was ‘paparazzi Kate’  for the day and followed the guys as they ran the Allt Kinglas and a section on the middle Orchy. Levels were good.

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Photo: Chris on the crux drop of Allt Kinglas.

Chris nailed the line over the crux drop. Its important for this drop to get it right as the consequences of getting it wrong are not pleasant. Gregor took much the same line as Chris over the drop, but Al unfortunately did not get  far enough right. He landed on a rock on his back. Ouch. And he lost his paddle in the waterfall, but he was okay, thankfully.


Al on the crux

Al on the crux

Al going left

Al going left

The guys put together the split paddles and continued on the Allt Kinglas into the middle Orchy.  They had a good run down and Dave was so super pleased with chicken shoot that he ran it again and styled it. 

Dave on chicken shoot

Dave on chicken shoot

The group continued on down to Easen Dubha. While I was waiting for our group to appear I watched a paddler from another group get a lovely line down the right hand side of the rapid, ending in a nice boof.

Random paddler taking a different, neat looking line

Random paddler taking a different, neat looking line

However the more usual route is the centre slab. Chris was the sole person in the group to run this rapid.

Chris, maybe a little tad left on the slab

Chris running Easen Dubha

Below shows the kick from the stopper on the left. Probs best to avoid this stopper by going a bit further right on the slab- apparently it can get quite grabby at lower levels. On this day it kicked Chris out of the water completely and he did a total airscrew in his creekboat! He was totally fine though- he even landed upright…

Chris mid air in his air screw. Extreme playboating.

Chris mid air in his air screw. Extreme playboating.

Yeehaw! Some of the guys put back in after this rapid to run saw tooth. A bit of a nasty swim was taken by one of the group so they decided to call it a day. We headed back to the bunk house to eat, drink and be merry :-) before making the long journey home.


Day 7: Pattack- the River not the Curry Sauce

The Pattack is a fun class 3-4 river, with a neat rapid at the end.  There is an access agreement in place, and the land owners accommodate paddlers graciously. You just call up (number in Scottish Whitewater guide book) and ask for the access code to the gate. It’s an easy shuttle but you will have to take the car back to the get out and run by foot to the get in as there is no parking at the get in. I loved this run and given that we were running the Pattack (name share with the curry paste manufacturers), we re-named all the rapids with names of curry dishes on the way down.


Most of the rapids were of Dupiaza or Karii spiciness. There was poppadom of drop half way down that was as sweet as mango chutney. The last rapid was surely a spicy Jalfeizi. Hot, but definately not a Vindaloo (spicy with consequences). I’d probably say at the flow we paddled at (which was quite high) it that last rapid reached a 4+. It wasn’t that hard, but the swirlies were squirly and boily and i couldnt help chuckling to myself. Couldn’t fight ‘em just had to go with them. Check out  the video below.

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Day 6 Part II- The Fun Continues

After the Etive it was onwards and upwards to the Allt Kinglas and middle Orchy. Allt Kinglas is prime example of a feature that the Scots call ‘Burns’.  These little gems of tributaries rise quickly after rainfall and the art of descending them is called ‘burn bashing’. It was indeed a bit of a bash down but super fun, none the less.


Photo by Larissa: Dave on the Allt Kinglas


Photo by Larissa: Graham and me on the Allt Kinglas

It was then onto the middle Orchy. We were beginning to lose light fairly early on this run, but we continued as quickly as possible until the last remains of the light was eclipsed by the rain clouds.


Photo by Larissa: Chris on Chicken shoot. Note the extreme low level of light.


Day 6 Part I- The Etive, Allt Kinglas and Middle Orchy

Question: Just how many rivers can you paddle in a day in Scotland? Answer: As many as you are able. The geology and speed at which rivers rise around Glen Coe lends itself well to multi section paddling and this was the first time that I have run 3 sections of rivers in one day. Our day began on the Etive. Most of our party had paddled this river before and Chris and I had run it just a month or two earlier. We had a good time, with a few issues but nothing too serious. As i’ve posted a lot about the Etive, not too many photos from this run.

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Photo by Will: Dave and Tim inspect Triple


Photo by Will: Myself and Tim and a few helpers on boat rescue duty.

Etive over, with just the last two rapids not run due to time constraints it was off the the Allt Kinglas…


Day 5- Lower Roy to Spean Bridge

A few of us woke early and went to investigate the effect that the epic amount of over night rain had on the Etive levels. Wow it was just pumping. I met some Irish guys, one of whom ran Triple. He said he subbed out on the first drop, popped up just before the second and went for a swim over the third. Right angle just looked nasty and the pool below a big boily, thunderous mess. Spectacular.


Photo: Chris photographing Triple


Photo: Right angle on the high side and the pool filling in.

Plan for the day was to finish what we’d started the day before- our descent of the Roy. After our long day on the upper and the gorge, we were happy to slow the pace down a tad and take the playboats out for a spin or two.


Photo: Will blunting

The group split into two sets of 4 playboaters and creek/river runners. We managed to find some cheeky little spots for play on the way down the river.


Photo: Me playing.

If you do this run be aware of a ledge drop just before the take out at Spean Bridge, after the confluence of the Roy with the Spean. Although we knew it was there, it did catch us a bit by surprise.


Mid-Week Stocktake

At the end of day 4 of our trip, it was time to reflect a bit and plan the next couple of days. The week was taking its toll my body a bit…but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I think I need to learn yoga or pilates prior to the next multi-day paddling trip. With Christmas is on it’s way, I’ll be posting my letter to Lapland, requesting Santa be kind enough to bring me the Yoga for Paddlers DVD. Fingers crossed he comes through.


Photo: Larissa and myself compare the bruises.


Photo: Chris and I doing lower back stretches in the Coe River car park


Day 4 Part II – High Times on the Roy Gorge

After finishing the upper section, 6 of us decided to run the gorge. With three siphons on the gorge section, this was no mean feat but as the level was high, they could at least at this level be less significant . The last rapid on the upper/ first rapid on the gorge is called ‘wish you were here’, which Will styled of course.


Photo: Will on Wish you were here

Kate_roy  tim_roy  Tom_roy

Photos (L to R): Me;  Tim;  Tom and Graham

We took the far river left channel on the next rapid. A couple us got spanked in the upper hole, but survived the playboating session in our creekboats. The river was running fast and high. Eddys were small. Eddys were must make and we adhered strictly to line of sight. The most scary must make eddy was just above the ledge drop on river left. At the level we ran at this just looked awful to me, though some brave soul may run it . This was closely followed by ‘S-bend’ or ‘Brothers Grimm’.


Photo: the Brothers Grimm

None of us ran either the ledge drop or the brothers grim rapid. Infact here’s the video of my thoughts at the rock between the two rapids.

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Although I was at the edge of my comfort zone during times on the gorge, I managed to relax and enjoy the ride. It was certainly a new experience for me of running a creek at really high levels. I got the biggest back loop off a hole I’ve ever had; yehaw. I got a cracker of a bruise off the constriction at the end- elbow pads next time.  We were supposed to meet Larissa and Dave to run the lower together, but daylight scuppered that idea. We later found out that the Glenmore Lodge course guys hiked off half way through the gorge, so it was the day of plan changing all round.

The gorge had all the fun of the fair- fast flow, minimal and micro eddys, mandatory portages, swims, boat chasing and one wickedly fun run. Mind you I could only say that  after I’d ascended the muhassive climb at the get out and collapsed from the most challenging boating I’d had since I moved back from Oregon. It was pretty much continuous Class IV/IV+ for the entire Gorge. I’m definitely going to run it again at lower flow and again at the high level, now I have an idea of the river and whats around the corners, mu-ah-ha-ha.



Day 4 Part I- The Upper Roy

It was raining hard when we got up and we headed to the mighty Roy. We decided that we would aim to run all the fun sections of the Roy- the Upper, the Gorge and the Lower. We put on early and saw the van from Glenmore Lodge parked at the get in. We split the group up into two and headed downstream.


Photo: Larissa at the put in. At the time we got off the gorge, the water was 2 foot above this beach. Hmmm.

The Upper Roy had some pretty parts to it and there was one major, short rapid on there, called Rooster Tail. Chris has a nice boof off it, while the rest of us chose somewhat differing and entertaining lines- See the video.

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Photo: Chris boofin’  Roostertail.