03 August 2008

A Scottish Summer Morning

More Random Meetings...

However, this one had been in the pipeline a bit longer than the rendezvous with the paddlers on Friday. In fact I had laid the seeds to this meeting on the Wednesday when I posted a message on the UK Rivers Guidebook; that mighty fine resource for meeting paddlers and chatting about all things paddle related. With in hours of my first post I had interest and soon after it was all organised that we would be meeting at the Faskally Power Station, which is where the run of the lower Tummel finishes. It just happens that, that was the river we were also going to be descending.

I pulled up at the car park, got changed, sat in the back of the van and waited for the guys to arrive from Edinburgh. Whilst sat there I watched the raft guides organising their clients when one guide headed in my direction. It was an acquaintance I had met a few times on previous occasions through a friend back in Preston. Chat soon followed, whilst I waited for the guys to arrive, and I think I now have someone to go and paddle the Moriston with when I next get a Tuesday afternoon free. Anyway, back to the day's activities. The group I was waiting for soon arrived, greetings were exchanged and soon we were heading for the bottom end of Loch Tummel where the run begins.

One of the guys I arranged to meet on the river, below the dam at the end of Loch Tummel.

To say that the dam was releasing water into the river it was still a scrape at times and there wasn't much depth to a lot of the river until the last third of it. Anyway the opening rapids were good and there was a lot of manoeuvring to be done to get around the submerged and protruding rocks.

One of the first class three rapids.

We descended the river at a fair pace and at times we were spread out amongst the two separate raft flotillas. It's been a while since I've been up close and personal with a raft. In fact I think the last time was when I was in France working from the rafts myself on the Durance.

S-Bend rapid was a nice experience in a kayak and a rather unpleasant viewing experience when you watched the rafts high-siding their way down the narrow corridor of water made by the bed rock. It was all good fun and the guides shared a friendly word or two with us as we stood and watched their clients jump in the deep pool at the bottom of the rapid. We headed on downstream and soon we were at the finale to the river. The Linn of Tummel. I went down with an image in my head of the line I wanted, decided by previous visits where I've just walked along the bank, and I think I could say I hit it to some degree.

A raft on the Linn of Tummel about to throw a few clients overboard.

One of the group on the Linn, off line and about to land on a fairly solid rock.

It was another good paddle with some random kayakers and it sure as hell shows the community spirit in the kayaking world when you go out paddling with people who just respond to a single message you leave on a kayaking chat room. I headed back to site via Pitlochary for dinner then went up into the Craigvinean Forest for a bit of a cycle in the afternoon. I can safely say it was a smashing day.

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

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