SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Rivers 'near' Fort William
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chrisdickinson
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SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by chrisdickinson » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:26 pm

Last time down at low water levels it was clear to me that the siphon that exists at the bottom of the tiny eddy at the lip of the drop on Headbanger rapid has suddenly become larger hole that could clearly fit a boat and or person through it. It is therefore now sucking through a great deal more water and this has changed the elevation of the eddy, the run in and the landing. I would still say that a skilled and composed paddler can run satisfactorily (bear in mind this is a gnarly drop!), but would advise extreme caution and that all paddlers keep an eye on this one as it could change yet again and there is clearly the light possibility that maybecome more than slight of someone meeting a nasty end here. Please let me know if you notice anything unusual here either through this forum or directly to me at:

Chris Dickinson 01397 713856
speanbridge@googlemail.com

Thanks

Chris
River Adviser
River Spean

PS I will also cut away the small bush that is currently beginning to obscure the gauge I renewed recently.
A/WWSR 4/5star (river & sea) with the best!

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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by Kayakpilot » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:14 pm

I'm confused now.
In a later thread it states that this rapid is on the Roy.
Which is it ?

Ta
Iain

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Chas C
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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by Chas C » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:58 am

Both the Spean and the Roy have/had rapids called Headbanger - there are now two siphons, one on each river.

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chrisdickinson
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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by chrisdickinson » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:01 pm

It is true that both rivers have a Headbanger (or had) and both now have a siphon.
The collapse of the one on the Roy makes the name Headbanger irrelevant now as the
famed undercut does not exist any longer. I have proposed it should be referred to as
Achavady Falls in future, after name of ruined building on OS map close by.
Headbanger on Spean Gorge remain Headbanger!!
:-)
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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by wezzzy » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:29 am


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daibhidh
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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by daibhidh » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:39 am

I'd second Chris' proposal to rename Headbanger on the Roy...

There's always been a bit of confusion with these duplicate names, not least given the rivers are so close together...

As a bang on the head is the least of your worries on this Roy feature now, a change in title may help tp clear up any confusion?

...and Achavady (or Achadh a' Mhadaidh as it really should be :P ) means 'field of the wolf'...so Achavady Falls is a pretty neat name for hardcore paddling...or, better still, you could call it Eas a' Mhadaidh or Falls of the Wolf! :) Either way, if you swim through the syphon, your head will be chewed off, if not by a wolf, by the rock! lol

:)
Dàibhidh
'S e caidheagair a th'annam; deagh spòrs!

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chrisdickinson
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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by chrisdickinson » Fri May 06, 2011 9:55 pm

https://picasaweb.google.com/speanbridg ... 7480959970

Latest view of the siphon on 30 April 2011.

At really low water it has taken a good deal of the water from the main drop which is now getting nasty as a result.
The main right chute is partly obstructed at really low water now as less water goes over it than hitherto. It has a tendency to slam you against the projecting right wall as my ribs found to their cost!! Take care here at these low levels.

Chris, River Adviser
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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by Cha0sSt0rm » Fri May 11, 2012 5:53 pm

Back at Easter I was in a group that paddled the Spean Gorge and this siphon took all the water, there was about an inch deep water flowing over the river right line. Admittedly this was very low water conditions but the drop is also badly undercut, behind the curtain and in the more obvious place where the siphon water goes.

The boil formed below also looked pretty bad. Our group assessment was to portage it but people had discussed the possibility of boofing hard over the river right to clear as much of the boil and hopefully not get into any undercuts.

If in higher water, i.e. just deep enough that the siphon is covered, taking a bad line on river left and not staying on the surface could see a boat nose easily getting sucked into the siphon - given the size of the hole and the relative amounts of water flowing through siphon and not through it.

^^ Thats quite a pessimistic outlook, I haven't been paddling WW for that long (coming up to 1/2 a year) and I haven't paddled the Spean in a more normal flow so couldnt say how the water flows when theres more of it.

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Re: SPEAN GORGE SIPHON - WARNING

Post by chrisdickinson » Fri May 11, 2012 9:25 pm

This drop is at its worst at very low water now. Easy to take a hit in the chest on the right wall as well when trying to run it.
As levels increase it gets steadily more runnable, with little or no likelihood of going into the siphon, until all that is way underwater and eveantually at high flows the entire feature disappears. Take care here. :-)
A/WWSR 4/5star (river & sea) with the best!

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