02 August 2008

Big Water Friday

Over the last few days Perthshire has seen a fair bit of rain. In no way what so ever could I say it has been dry here ir even sunny in the slightest. Over Thursday night through to mid-day Friday you could safely say it didn't stop raining. This only meant one thing to me: get out the Rocker for a change, strap on a pair and get paddling.

I was running a zipwire session Friday morning. It just happens that the zipwire I was on runs over a very small burn. Whilst sitting at the bottom waiting for kids to come off the wire I had a few cheeky peeks at the burn and reckoned it would go. That was my lunch hour planned. Lunch came, I kitted up and went and paddled down the burn.

In the burn underneath the zipwire.

To be honest there was no where near enough water in the burn for it to be paddleable. The trip consisted of me ditching my paddle and just pulling myself over the rocks and occasionally floating parts. It was a good laugh, it entertained me, some of the other staff and the guests that were lurking around. At this point I decided I would be paddling later in the day. It would be rude to waste all this water. I therefore had an afternoon as a Teacher Group Leader on Giant Swing and then Raft Build before packing my van up for a short kayaking trip down the Braan from below the Hermitage down to the car park.

On the Braan below the Hermitage.

One word to sum the river up: stonking. It was the highest I had ever seen the Braan. It was huge, flowing brown and was an awesome spectacle to behold. Standing in the viewing platform looking down on the Hermitage Fall puts everything into perspective when it comes to the power of water when it was at this level. It was awesome. Anyway I got on the river, below the fall and messed around for a good while on the small set of grade 3 rapids. I got out and repeated these rapids before heading off down the river to the car park.

This was where the evening got really good. On getting back to the van there was another car parked next to it with a Pyranha Burn on its roof and a chap getting changed next to it. Friendly chat followed, like expected when any kayakers meet at a car park. A few minutes later I had been invited to paddle the Mad Mile with this fellow and his two mates who arrived soon after. They kitted up, I changed into my dry suit, the cars were loaded and we were soon at Rumbling Bridge.

The chap I met at the car park below Rumbling Bridge.

The Mad Mile was awesome. Full on excitement from start to finish. It was awesome. The whole situation we were in. It was a summer's evening in Scotland, the weather was admittedly bad, but we were paddling a solid Scottish class four at a good level with a group of sound guys who loved paddling. We all walked Splitter and Coffin Falls just because it was getting late and dark and the consequences wouldn't have been nice at that time of night if something had hit the fan rather quick. What a great evening. I managed to tick off a new stretch of river which is revelled at by Scottish boaters on purely a fluke meeting.

I'm off paddling again tomorrow.

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

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