24 April 2008

Over on t’ West Coast

23rd March, 08

I managed to organise a paddling trip over on the West Coast of Scotland with some boys from Stirling last Friday. Well I say I managed to organise the trip but really they did it all. They just rang me, asked if I had the day off, which I did then told me where to meet them. I naturally did as I was told as I could guarantee some good paddling would be had.

It was an early start for me to get from Dalguise to the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum where I would be meeting the lads, but it was an amazing drive along the shores of Loch Tay and then on into the snow covered peaks of the West Coast mountain ranges. I turned up at the same time as some other kayakers and I wondered whether they were the guys I was meeting, but a quick text message gave me the answer: no. The Stirling guys soon showed up and then we were on the road again to Glen Etive to take a look at a little Burn someway down the valley.

The Allt Allan looking like it needed a few more inches of water to be fun.

It wasn’t a goer. It needed a few more inches of water to bring it into condition so it was back to the drops of the Etive. I was slightly apprehensive to say the least being back on the Etive at much higher levels than I had previously paddled it at. To make things a little bit worse the guys that I was with didn’t have to think twice of the lines on the drops. However, all went well. I had a quick peak at Crack of Doom for the line and Right Angle Falls for pictures. Everything else was run on the beta given to me by the guys.

James Fleming styling the first drops of Triple Step on the Etive.

Landing the boof on the last of the drops of Triple Step.

On the run out from Letterbox after we all had good lines.

Skipping over the hole on Crack of Doom.

45ing the last drop on Crack of Doom.

Impact on Eas an Fhir Mhoir, also know as Right Angle Falls.

James Fleming on the last drop, which is unnamed in Scottish White Water.

All went well however. I ran all the drops had a little trouble on Crack of Doom and it was only with some wilful low bracing and a stout boof stroke at the last minute that I managed to get over the hole and down the next section the right way up. The day was going well, but it started getting even better when at the end of the river it was suggested to run the Allt a’ Chaoruinn. The Chaoruinn is a well know Scottish Burn that has seen numerous descents just because of where it’s located; right at the take-out for the classic section of the Etive.

We took out, had a quick rest and prepared the video camera to document our descent before dragging/shouldering our boats the kilometre up hill to the put in where the Burn drops over 80m/km through four drops – Speed, Ecstasy, Pinball and Chasm.

Walking up the Allt a’ Chaoruinn in the snow storm.

Coming to the end of Speed.

Inspecting Ecstasy.

Taking the hits on Pinball.


It was absolutely amazing. Everything was just perfect; the drops, the scenery and the company of people I hardly knew but accepted me as a friend straight away. I suppose that’s the great thing about kayaking: you can meet an absolute stranger and feel like you’ve known each other so long because of the things you have been through on the river, had to cope with and the places you’ve both been mentally and physically to get your kicks in life. Everything just clicked and I’m still buzzing from it now two days after it all took place. The footage that was took from the trip has been edited together and slapped up on the internet – Planet Paddlers – but because of the lack of connection here at Dalguise I’ve only heard about it from friends and not seen any of the footage. I should be off paddling tomorrow, but I am not entirely sure. I do know that I have the day off though.

Picture of the day; it just sums everything up at the moment.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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