Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

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Sam Williams
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Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by Sam Williams »

Planning on heading up to Scotland on Friday from South Wales. Can anyone let me know what the roads are like on the way to fort William. Also keen to know conditions and river levels around fort bill. Already planning on walking boots with the odd day skiing but is there the potential of any water?

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MikeRoberts
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by MikeRoberts »

Low low low. Pointlessly low.

I was up there last week, and we managed to paddle 4 rivers. The Etive- which was a painful scrape; Middle Spean, which was a two hour long seal launch with a couple of walks in the middle; Spean Gorge, which was okay, but put a hole in one person's brand new boat, and the Leven, which was awesome but terrifyingly rock bash.

There has been snow, so if it's started to melt, the levels may be a tad higher. No idea on driving conditions now though I'm afraid.

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Bruce Jolliffe
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by Bruce Jolliffe »

Theres been no significant fresh snow for a couple of days, most roads I've seen appear to be clear. So the drive should be fine.

However, temperatures are sub zero for most of each day / night. Mild thaws in the daytime, but no precipitation. Boating variety is between limited and non-existent. Bring skis or snowboards, then you'll be guaranteed some fun.

Sam Williams
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by Sam Williams »

Anyone know about the Meige, Findhorn and Garry and roads to them? Would like to get some rivers in.

alexander.2535
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by alexander.2535 »

First (scheduled) release of the Garry is this Friday and the roads up to it are ok, at the time of writing. Not sure about other rivers and the roads to them. I live in Oban and the roads around here and up to F.Bill are fine.

Rivers are utterly empty however, I haven't seen rain here in about a month! Normally it's like 'oh well, we'll just do the Etive/Spean Gorge/Leven (delete as appropriate)', however they are all too low. The Falls of Lora should be running well later this week though, and there is some good surf forecast at Machrihanish/Westport on Sat/Sun. I have been advised the roads to Campbeltown are quite bad though.

Chris

Cha0sSt0rm
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by Cha0sSt0rm »

Was up that way a few days ago, and all the roads are clear.

The rivers are also *low*. Very low. Managed to scrape down the Findhorn (Upper, Top, Middle and Leven's Gorge), scraped down the Spean Gorge (portaged Headbanger and Constriction, there was a couple of other rapids with trees stuck in them so watch out!).

Went to the Etive, river was clear but incredibly windy and snowy so didn't paddle, went back ~36 hours later and weather was fine, *but* you'll be portaging to the whole river and falling off the falls. In 36 hours the river had gone from small bits of ice around rocks here and there to completely frozen except the falls!

swimboater
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by swimboater »

I'm (probably) going up there this weekend and looking for rivers that are suitable for grade 2-3 paddlers.
We have done the Awe before when water is low and is at the right grade - is it still releasing on compensation flow?
I've also done the Tummel once many years ago but not recently as is a long way away from FW. Is this currently paddleable on compensation flow or are there any scheduled releases?
The Garry is probably going to be too hard for our group, but does this feed any other sections that are easier?
The Arkaig is another old favourite when all is low - does it go at all at the moment?
Spean Gorge sounds like it might be a goer - maybe easy enough now for intermediate paddlers.
I'm guessing that the drops on the etive are still good for seal launching off, but maybe not the bits in-between?
Not ideal conditions as normal for Easter, but still want to try and make the most of what is available if at all possible.

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Jim
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by Jim »

Sam - starting 2 identical threads is naughty! ha ha!

Meig will probably be OK but it's a fair drive, my Dad will have been close to it Monday night but I haven't spoken to him since so don't know about conditions over there. It is probably worth a look because in my understanding it has consistent low runnable flow all the time unless there is more flow making it unrunnable, but who knows if it could freeze within 100 yards of leaving the dam?

Swimboater
Scotland for grade 2-3 paddlers always challenges me!
Leven (Balloch - Dumbarton) is flowing but more 1-2.
Tay (any of it) should be flowing, you probably want to look at the interesting sections - Aberfeldy or SCA access point to Grandtully, and Stanley - Thistlebrig.
Lochy (Mucomir/Gairlochy - Fort William) should go especially if Mucomir hydro is generating, only done high and found a meaty/boily 3 at Torcastle, probably easier when low.
Lower Orchy below the falls - check guide books there may be some hidden surprises on an otherwise easy section (never done it). Is likely to have a bit more water than the middle Orchy but hard to guess if enough or not!
Other than that some tidal rapids should be a possibility, Alcan tailrace, er, others maybe too hard (Falls of Lora) but you could scope out the narrows at Corpach (loch Eil) and in Loch Leven (try 3 or 4 hours after HW in each case), mostly flat but may get exciting since it will be a big tide.

afkt
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by afkt »

all of the roads see fine, the meig is going on compensation, the arkaig is just about runnable,grand Tully us fine, everything else is dog low!

swagstaff
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by swagstaff »

Grandtully will be absolutely full of slalomists for the next 10 days.
Falls of lora is going towards spring tides.
Nothing in the Awe at all.
Its so dry there is a large hill fire above Taynuilt.
Try Sea Kayaking around the Oban area with light easterly winds and dry weather and quite a bit of sunshine. ( it was 30 degrees centigrade in our sunroom today)
WHITEWATER ALL YEAR LONG

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Jim
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Re: Scotland and the drive up, conditions please

Post by Jim »

swagstaff wrote:Grandtully will be absolutely full of slalomists for the next 10 days.
Valuable info! Can't say I have ever thought to check Slalom or WWR calendars before a trip!

If I hadn't been to England this week I would hardly believe the difference in snowfall, within a few miles of London my dad's car under tray fell down under the weight of snow that had accumulated on it, he prized that section off only to have the next section back do the same thing near Leicester later the same day.....

It is however just as cold in Scotland, nearly got frostbite this evening changing a flat to get home. I have taken to wearing nitrile gloves over fleece gloves when working on my van but didn't have them in the car.

Remember Easter is always a good time for big spring tides.

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