Glean Cia-aig

Rivers 'near' Fort William
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Mark R
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Glean Cia-aig

Post by Mark R » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:40 pm

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Andrew Coultherd
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Re: Glean Cia-aig

Post by Andrew Coultherd » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:15 am

Paddled in October 2012 by myself and Geraint Anderson. We wanted to add a new write up as in our opinion the ones here dont really give a clear view of the river. We've got a description of the run which we put together written to try and be as objective as possible. Im going to paste it in here, hope this is the right place to post it.

Andrew Coultherd
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Re: Glean Cia-aig

Post by Andrew Coultherd » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:22 am

INTRODUCTION: A hidden challenge within a steep sided gorge; the run contains some drops and rapids good enough to rival most in Scotland. It is definitely not an easy run and you should be running rivers at grade 4/5 comfortably to take on this. It won’t be a fun day out if you intend to try and walk rapids you don’t like the look of, as this is regularly not an option. But if you’re at a level to complete the task a great day can be had.
NAME: Allt Chia-aig , unable to pronounce this we used the nickname ‘The Cheese and Chive’
PUT IN / TAKE OUT: Final falls can be seen from the road, immediately before the Arkaig. Get on is a hike up the valley. Walk up the river left bank. We did this along a fence line all the way. The woodland area was under construction but may give you a better path. The different described sections can’t really be seen on the way up as the river is at the bottom of a tree lined gorge.
LENGTH / TIME NEEDED: 5 hours recommended at least
WATER LEVEL: The drops definitely clean up with some water. A good level, as when we did it, meant the last drop on the river (the second of the roadside double combo) could be run on the right going on to the slabs. If there is only enough water to go down the slot at that bit then it will be low. In very high it will no doubt be a very serious affair.
MAJOR HASARDS / FALLS: It is a very committing gorge as already stressed by the other authors and this should not be taken lightly. The nature of the run means you often cant escape/portage without a lot of trouble and definitely you cant set up safety on drops. It is possible to scout things with a bit of scrambling and make sure you scout ahead enough each time. !!! Small team required.

DESCRIPTION: We put on below an ugly looking fall where a steep ditch with shear vertical sides that we couldn’t cross joined the river at a right angle. There is possibly more above this. We didn’t come across anything I would describe as an unrunnable 20m fall that goes through a 50cm gap halfway down. Though this could be our 1st rapid.

Beginning your paddle in the gorge with some rocky bits of rapids you soon come to your 1st challenge (scoutable on river right). The river drops around the sides of a central boulder 8ftish into a long slidey, very narrow chute.
Soon after there is a rocky rapid with a narrow finish immediately before a slide into a pool where a big hit is hiding. Leading out of the pool here is a vertical fall of 25ft!

The river eases of for a little bit then some other grade IV rapids follow including one where a rock central to your landing makes things awkward.

A large fallen tree stretching across the entire river marks the start of the main event. A 200 metre long walled out section, all of which can be scouted on river right. It is not easy, but possible to climb in/out at the bottom. The section begins with a 25-30ft clean looking fall. This drops into a cauldron and drains out through a constriction and small drop. Then there are 2 10-foot falls and a very narrow rapid to finish. A long flat pool, containing a bedrock slide/platform and then large central boulder marks the end. Just after this rock easier rapids lead out to an escape of this gorge.

There are a number of drops that follow at grade IV with a cool triple. An easy slide leads straight into an S bend drop, which heads straight into a bigger 10-15 foot slide and ends in funny recirculating eddy. Also there is a dodgy drop with a flair round to the left.
The penultimate rapid steps down a narrow passage with a rocky start and an ugly looking bottom. However, if you decide to walk it you are at the end. All there is left to do is look at the bottom double fall.

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Re: Glean Cia-aig

Post by Geraint » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:28 pm

And here's a video to go with it:

The Cia-aig section starts at 3:17. Fantastic river with some really good quality white water. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

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