- Last Updated on Monday, 24 January 2011 22:36
- Written by Mark Rainsley, Dave Francis, Ron Cameron, Neil Farmer, the Chuggster and Dave Bradshaw.
GUIDE TO THE RIVER MORISTON
NAME OF RIVER: Moriston.
WHERE IS IT?: Up the Great Glen between Fort William and Inverness, flowing into Loch Ness at Invermoriston.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The put-in is as near to the Glen Moriston dam as you dare...take-out either above or below the Falls of Moriston.
APPROX LENGTH: 4 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 1-2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: No problems reported, BUT the Dam authorities obviously don't like you to wander over their property.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The dam needs to be releasing. With one dam gate releasing full open, the river has more than enough water. I haven't seen it with both dam gates open...I'm not sure I'd want to.
The top section can be done when it is switched OFF, but having tried it, cannot really recommend it as worth the bother (bump, scrape).
Neil Farmer (Nov 2004)...'Dam released, this year on a Tuesday, this seems quite reliable, has been for several years'.
GRADING: 4 - 4+ at the first falls of the upper section, 4+ for the big falls under the bridge, by the old folly.
Protection can be set for the first drop easily (walk for the first people, someone breaks out on the immediately below the fall and sets protection for the others).
Grade 5 in full flow (when the dam was being repaired) but at compensation releases (common in summer for instance), the Moriston is mostly Grade 4 but the fall below the dam and the Falls are still hard and intimidating.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: SCA info...'recent storms (winter 2001/2) have left a large tree blocking the fall just downstream of the A82 road bridge at Invermoriston. The normal line down the left hand side of the ramp appears to be completely obstructed. Paddlers should check the situation before getting on to run the lower section of the river.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: In terms of gradient and volume combined, this is among the biggest rivers in the UK(!).
Ron Cameron describes the first fall below the dam...(Spring 2005) 'Ten years ago people used to say that the left hand drop on the falls below the dam was probably dangerous. The new orthodoxy is that this is now the way to go. There is a wee stopper above the drop which is best confronted hard left. You then have three options...
Out on the left hand ramp...at first this was thought the only safe route.
Out on the right hand ramp.
If you fail to get either of these lines you will go straight down the middle (picture in new guide book) and live to tell the tale.
The right hand side of the island below the dam has fallen from favour amid stories of marathon swims and re-circulation. It is now the 'macho' way to go!'
Below is a superb big stoppery section, several hundred metres long. See the pictures for more details. Setting up safety cover is easy on the river left bank.
The river then flattens for a few miles with a few grade 2-3 rapids. This section might be a good intermediate trip PROVIDED they know where to stop in order to miss...
The Falls of Moriston. Very scary. These are in Invermoriston, above and below the bridge. There are three distinct sections, with few opportunities to stop/ bottle out between them as they are in a gorge. Setting up safety cover is difficult or impossible. The first section is a fall above a bridge pushing you under an undercut, with an alternative chicken route on river right. The crux fall is the second (biggest) fall...it really is immense! If you come unscathed through this (through the chicken chute?), the final fall is a large and steep series of waves where the river narrows, finishing with a grabby river-wide stopper.
OTHER NOTES: Britain's biggest WW river? Have a look at the pictures and decide for yourself (another contender may be the River Conan). It's also worth noting that upstream of the dam is a long section of the Moriston which seems worth a paddle when it has water in it...let us know if you do it.
The Chuggster adds...(Dec' 01) 'Our group ran the river at very low release. After putting in at the dam wall paddle to the first fall, go river right, the fall comes up very quickly and at low levels there are many rocks/ boulders to knock you off line. Beware the first drop. If you get it wrong the flow bangs you face first into a vertical wall then pushes the boat up to the opposite wall which is very badly undercut. If you swim here you will be pushed down and under, unless you have bank support to get you out of the s***. The rest of the river gets even rockier.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, Dave Francis, Ron Cameron, Neil Farmer, the Chuggster and Dave Bradshaw.
Anywhere I've read about this river, it says that it runs on Tuesdays during the summer - but no mention of what the winter situation is?
http://www.canoescotland.org/InfoAdvice ... eases.aspx
Without a freshet release there will not be enough water to make the paddle worthwhile.
Freshet Season: 1st May - 31st October
Frequency: Once per week
Timings: 1200 Tuesday until 1700 Wednesday