Scotland 08

Wednesday

So Scotland started in true paddling style with a few of us olds going for a curry in the Royal the night before we set off.  After the Royal a quick visit to Kelly’s to catch up with everyone else who had been having a curry ala Lloyd and watching previous year’s carnage.

Thursday

Scotland as always starts far too early to be sociable but needs must as they say. So I get up at 5.45 for breakfast before being picked up by Will at 6.30am or so I thought. 6am sees a txt off Will “pick you up at 6.10” and 5 mins later Will turns up. Barely enough time to get the surprise bacon rolls ready for the journey up.  Boats on car bags stuffed in and on the road we go.

Mid morning and we get a quick chuckle at the Kev mobile, with Daffers and Mary in it, as it goes flying past in the wrong lane of a contra flow and misses the turning into Glasgow. That coupled with a few stops at services and a stop to pick up Cath’s friend in the centre of Glasgow see’s us getting to the Orchy for 12.30 ish.

A quick scout of the river while waiting for the mini bus to turn up and everything is looking good. Then while running the shuttle the first mishap of the weekend happens and Chris gets rear ended turning off the main road. He was fine but his car is a little bit shorter then it was that morning.

So on to the purpose of the weekend and paddling.

 

The first drop on the Orchy claims it first victim Jen H (from Wigan). The newly re-name freshers corner due to the number of freshers it made swim, also claimed Daffers (its down as sheep trolley gorge in the guide what are sheep doing with trollys I ask?).

Then on to Easan Dubha to see Will face his nemesis from a few years back.

And face it he did, twice, cos he swam the first time, cheers Will made my day. First time Will got airborne sideways just above the lip of drop and then pencilled it. After a few roll attempts it looks like his boat came away from him and he swam. But not one to let things beat him there was a 2nd attempt where he just bobbed over the drop and did it fine.

At this point the freshers get off and only a few people carry on to do the lower section. I run down Sore Tooth first and get nailed on the exit and swim. While floating down stream I scream at Rob whos walking down the side for a line only to get a blank response and the dreaded phrase “I don’t have one”.

Andy Squirrel, Wigan James and Lloyd all run Eas a’ Chathaidh. Lloyd apparently styled it and the other two got down ok I was too busy running the portage to watch.

A quick blast to the bottom and then off to the hut for dinner. Me and Ali D had a nice “romantic” dinner of sausage and mash in the mayhem of the hut with people falling over each other to cook.

Friday

Friday day brings the Arkiag a nice flat paddle in to the one drop and then a nice paddle out. So us olds were up early kitted up and running the shuttle when the van and bus turn up. This is when the 2nd crash of the weekend happens (technically number 2 and 3) as the van and the bus drive into each other some how. NO major damage and everyone carry’s on with the task of paddling.

Ali D and Mary S both took a swim above the drop and managed to make it on to the island instead of swimming the drop. Heidun managed to get a roll going into the top of the rapid but swam the drop. Daffers ran the big drop fine, but with comedy timing and style managed to swim on the flat bit insight of the get out!!

Then the afternoon brings the Roy, from the hut (after a nice warm lunch) down to Spean Bridge. A few dodgy braces all round on the first little rapid but nothing major or head wetting. The weather was grim, hail, sleet and snow all took turns and sometime join forces with the driving wind to make you really cold.

Mary

Apart from the weather nothing happens until railway falls. Jen M (Wigan) swam on the river right drop about half way down. It looked rocky and painful but she was ok and stuck back in her boat promptly.

 

Mary managed to swim on the entry rapid and had to walk around and down to the bottom to get her gear back. But apart from a damp leg she said she was fine!

Saturday

Saturday see us with an 8.30(ish) start up to the upper Roy get in. At this point the 1inch of snow on the boats at the hut should have been a clue.

The snow covered hill glistening in the morning sun should have been another. Will driving very slowly up the get in road breaking trails through the snow in places should have been another big screaming clue to it being COLD!!! A few inchs of snow at the road of the get and most of us think it is too cold to go down to the river to inspect (This is after dressing for the river at the hut).

So Will is left to go down and inspect while everyone else messing about in the snow. With Anna snowballing Chris at point blank range for making her get up! After a fun 5mins in the snow Will returns to proclaim it is too low to run if it is this cold. So, on the drive back we pass the student parked up having a snowball fight and hit them with a drive by snow balling. Well it seemed rude not to. So back to the Arkaig we go so everyone that swam yesterday can face some demons. And on arriving at the Arkaig we were greeted with beautiful warm sunshine and no snow. IN short JenH swam and got out on the island above the drop and Heidrun gave me and Chris heart flutters by swimming through the right hand chute of the big drop. It wasn’t just the swimming that caused us the flutters it was the disappearing at the beginning of the drop and not reappearing until after the tow back at the bottom of the drop a good 50ft later that did it.

 

On wards to the Spean Gorge we go. The gorge passed by fairly uneventful, I had a numpty roll after a little drop. Dinny, Mike, Will and Cath all ran headbanger with Cath styling it and Will dinging his boat.

Wigan James ran constriction coming out upside down.

Apparently one of the Wigan Jens and Mary both had a swim on witch’s cauldron but were quickly stuck back in boats.

Then back at the Hut, one of many renditions of Happy Birthday was sung for Penny, but we still don’t know how old she is!!!

 

Saturday Night

The most Surreal night ever!! In the pub there was a live band of a guitar and an accordion. We shared the pub with a few locals and group of paddlers on the Student safety course. I enjoyed a couple of pints in the company of friends old and new alike.

Then things get interesting. Ash and Splinkly start moshing to the things like classic tunes like wildrover, postman pat, the balamoray theme tune and lots in-between. Then there was vigorous dancing, a conger line, some crowd surfing (yes crowd surfing), lots of tops being taken off, dancing on tables and 3 encores for the band.

By the end of the night everyone in the pub including the staff were up and dancing and having a great time.

Probably the best night ever seen in the Roybridge EVER!!!!!

 

Sunday

I got up early not having a lift to the river Findhorn, on the off chance of finding one. Saturday night Will had said he was going for a walk and since I have an aversion to walking I was left to fend for myself. Over breakfast Matt and Ali D became my best friends as Tim and Heidrun decided to go walking too. Off to the Findhorn we go. The snow on the hills and the snowplough on the way there should have indicated how cold it was.

My group was the last on the water and caught up the next group at “Simons” corner. After watching Dales almost impressive run (with no paddle strokes) and swim I had a go at my corner. To date River 2 Simon 2.Yes I swum needless to say pictures and videos were taken and no doubt they will appear shortly. A quick climb out and mountain goat impressions I was reunited with my boat. Thanks to Andy Squirrel (I think) for emptying it for me. I also learned that when being a gent helping a lass down the cliffs with her boat use a rope to lower it as catching it in the arm hurts!

A quick blast down the river to warm up and we over took another group at the last big rapid on carried on to the get out. It was too cold to hang about and a bit of weather, snow and hail at the get out proved that.

But it didn’t stop a little Robin crapping on my dry bag.

 

Martins group arrived eventually and news of his swim as captain was received! Captain’s swim beers a great tradition! Being a true gent he brought 2 cases of beers on his way back to the hut as captain’s swims beers for all those on the water!

 

Monday

We went to the Etive, via Mcdonald’s with a drive by soaking of Matt W on the way out. I would like to give a full account of the river but I didnt paddle it, I just did some shuttles and took lots of pictures of people running it.

Then Off home to bed!

 

The end of another cracking Scotland trip. Cheers Will.

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2 Responses

  1. Very much like the spot-the-difference pictures of Will – sorry about that boat Will, hope you manage to get it to come out with a bit of gentle hair-drying.

  2. Nice write up Si 🙂

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