Scoltland 2015

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I’ve finally got round to writing a blog for our trip to Scotland back in November, what a trip it was!

On our previous Scotland trip we only had one car, and saw nearly no other boaters, so it limited what we could paddle, as we’d have to do the shuttle on foot, which sucked. Luckily this year we had two vehicles, and there was a lot more boaters about, so we got a lot more done.

Day 1

We wanted to start off easy, check out how well everyone’s paddling, and one of the group Joy, had a shoulder injury so we didn’t want to push it all straight away, so we headed to the Roy gorge, nothing too challenging and everyone had paddled it before. We’d had rather a lot of rain the past few days, so there was water everywhere!

Day 2

We decided to check out the Etive, as after one dry night, we were hoping it would drop, and it had, we were blessed by a perfect level, turned out a few other boaters had the same idea, and as we were checking out the first feature, we bumped into some familiar faces we didn’t know we’re also in Scotland.

We got kitted up, set up some safety, and ran the first section. Unfortunately Joy had to put in a big support stroke on her bad shoulder, and had to get off the water, so she went to the car and came back as our personal photographer/eyes on the back.

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The rest of the river was incredible, higher than I’d paddled it before, which made it that but more pushy, and the holes a bit more grabby.

We eventually got to the main feature on the river, Right angle falls. We got out onto the bank, and this is where the nerves started kicking in, as your stood looking over the lip of the falls.

One by one we all ran the drop, with only two unfortunate swims, including one self rescue.

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Day 3

The water had dropped some more so we went off to check out some of the tributaries of the Etive, the Allt a Chaorainn & the Allt Mheuran. First up we went for the Allt a Chaorainn, with Joy having another rest day, we again had a photographer, an injury doesn’t always mean you can’t be involved! This is such a fun trib, full of some super fun slides and drops.

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Next headed further down the road to find the next trib, the Allt Mheuran. Everyone was looking forward to this, with its big walk in, for about a minute or so on the water, depending how long you sit in the eddies.

We eventually got to the slide, and Alex and I decided we’d go up further and check out the drop above, after working out the line, a quick game of rock paper scissors decided who went first, so I went and got into my boat.

My line didn’t go greatly to plan, having nearly spun around and ran the drop backwards, and a big explicit being said as I noticed I was spinning. Alex then ran it, nailed the line.So back up I went to do it again, this time a lot better!

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We we went down to the next bit which was the slide into a drop, a super fun, super fast feature. We all ran it, all had massive smiles after, so we went and did it again, before the big walk out, this bit wasn’t so fun.

 

Day 4

The day of release for the Morriston, we couldn’t miss out on this. Alex and I had both been wanting to do this river for a while now, so glad we were finally able to do it. It all seems a bit daunting at first, as you get on the river straight into a drop without a warm up, but it’s actually a lot easier than it looks.

We only did the top half, as the water was dropping due to the release getting turned off. Once we we’re back at the car, Joy came up with the idea of driving to the drop on the Nevis, so Alex and I could go run it.

I like Joy, Joy has good ideas! (She also make a great apple crumble)

Off to the drop we went! We got there, for kitted up, and stood looking, working out what lead up line to take, etc etc.

Alex went first, it all went well, know I knew it was my turn, again, everything went well, and we were both stoked !

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Because it kicks you up before you go off the edge, you get a real sense of free fall, which feels incredible. We got off the water and looked at all the pictures, and as we were about to get changed, Matty Nicholas turned up and said he was about to run the whole river, and we could join him if we wanted.

It was starting to get dark, but he said it wouldn’t take long at all, so off we went! It’s fair to say me and Alex we’re both a tad nervous. But my God! What a river!!

As we were paddling down, it was raining quite a bit so the river was rising all the way, from a nice, good level, into a definite high level. It was so much fun, with some good pushy features, it was full on most of the way, kept us on our toes for sure.

This was another river we had really wanted to do, but one we wanted to paddle with someone who knows it, so bumping into Matty was quite handy. Best river of the trip without a doubt.

Day 5

We’d heard a lot about the Coe, and driven past it many many times, but again, never paddled it, and wanted to do it with someone who knew it. We met back up with Matty, and it was a bit low, but raining, so we went for a coffee whilst waiting for the river to rise.

It rose a bit, nothing major, but we still got on and had a great paddle through the narrow, deep gorge. This was done super fast, so we went off to do some slides out in the woods which aren’t ran that often These were also pretty fun, but over fast, so as we still had a good amount of the day left, we decided we’d go back to the Nevis as two others from our group felt up for paddling it this time round.

When in the eddy at the top, I couldn’t work out if I was more or less nervous now I knew what was coming up, but I paddled it a lot better this time round, which I was very happy about.

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We all had a great time on the water the whole week up there, and we all came back home excited about what we’d got done.

We all love paddling up in Scotland, and I know I can’t wait to get back up there paddling again!

Thanks for reading, here are a few more pictures.

See you on the water

Pete

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