(Stanley to Thistlebrig)


WHERE IS IT?: Tayside! Flows out of Loch...Tay.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Stanley to Thistlebrig, see below.



ACCESS HASSLES: It should be remembered that the Tay is a well-used fishing river so it is worth keeping an eye out.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Stays paddleable for much of the year.

GRADING: Grade 2-3.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Campsie Linn, weir...see descriptions.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A not too long but very popular section. Busy on Sundays so if you only have one vehicle a lift can usually be guaranteed. The access point is difficult to find. From the south if you enter Stanley Village Take the second road on the right and drive to the end (200 yards). Turn left the right after another 200 yards. Follow the narrow road for about a mile and a half to a dead end at the river-side. Above the access point are a few bit of interest. Closest is a small rapid which can have a few good surf wave. Just above that is an eddy line which is a magnet for taily seekers. Above that on the right are a few small falls. On the left is the Campsie Linn fall where great care should be taken especially at high water. This is a pretty confused piece of water with strong whirlpools to catch the unwary. Your boat does not necessarily do what you ask it. Below the access point is Stanley weir which should be described as a hazard. The weir is quite big and partially destroyed. Inspection is recommended if you are not familiar with it. There are obvious channels on the right and left. Playing is not recommended here due to the presence of some iron spikes.

Around a corner is Hellhole(?). Here there is an almost river wide stopper in high water, offering plenty of opportunities for surfing. Just before the get out at Thistlebrigg is another hole, with plenty of play potential, and just a little further downstream is a stopper river right, which is good for smaller boats.

J Sigbrandt adds (March '00)... 'A somewhat confused description of the river can be found here:

A more, err, pipe and slippers description:

I've heard it said that Campsie Linn is the biggest vertical waterfall in the UK. The water only drops by a small a few feet, but since there is a lot of volume ... this makes it the biggest. Doesn't sound very believable to me!

Those whirlpools are fantastic though. They'll grab the boat and suck it totally underwater, rotating as it goes. It feels as if you're inside a washing machine and the power of the water feels as if you stuck the upper body into a strong current and held it there. I dread the consequences of not rolling in those sucky whirlpools...'

Pictures of this section

OTHER NOTES: Pretty well guaranteed water.

The sections from Loch Tay downstream are also popular. Has anyone paddled the river to the sea?

CONTRIBUTED BY: St. Andrew's Uni and J Sigbrandt.

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Tay - Stanley to Thistlebrig -- KevK
2016 Sep 29 01:48:02 PM
Spike in LEFT chute was a severed boat anchor. Removed.

Lots of spikes between the MIDDLE and the RIGHT channels (plus a few elsewhere) were a result of storm damage and general weir degradation. Removed where accessible down to below normal summer low water levels.

However, other bits (notably a large concrete and steel pad to the left of the MIDDLE channel) are unstable or in motion and winter highs may well create new dangers. Please be careful.
Re: River Tay - Stanley to Thistlebrig -- Kizzie_St-As
2016 Apr 22 06:11:21 AM
The spikes that have been discovered so far are in the river left shoot and in the eddy river right of the central shoot. In previous years members of Perth canoe club have taken tools out and removed spikes when they appeared - this time of year usually has fairly low levels so damage from winter floods can be seen. If you want to help out a group, there is a thread discussing this on facebook in the Scottish Whitewater group (, or you could contact Perth Canoe club directly, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to point you in the right direction!
Re: River Tay - Stanley to Thistlebrig -- Rae1
2016 Apr 21 06:36:52 PM
I've always fancied a battery powered grinder - £100ish from Toolstation, this would be a great use for one.
I see the river has dropped a lot more since the weekend - it isnt this low usually is it in April?
Anyway, is this on the left of the main central chute, or river left?
Re: River Tay - Stanley to Thistlebrig -- Kizzie_St-As
2016 Apr 21 06:02:55 AM
Further update on Stanley weir, more spikes discovered:

‎Mícheál Ó Céilleachair‎ - These very sharp spikes are in the eddy just below the weir at Stanley. The river is low at the moment but at slightly higher levels they will be just under the surface. Be careful. These are particularly nasty.



It's possible the low levels are just now revealing the damage done in the major floods earlier in the year.
Re: River Tay - Stanley to Thistlebrig -- Kizzie_St-As
2016 Apr 20 05:43:54 PM
Hazard warning, info sent from a paddler to Perth Canoe Club re Stanley/Campsie Linn

Main Stanley concrete weir - 3 shoots - river left has a large metal spike about a foot long right in the middle sticking up vertically. Unfortunately had nothing with us to shift it. It is difficult to see - about 8-10inches below water surface. Anyone running it would stand a high risk of it slicing through boat.
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