Tummel Release

Inland paddling
Colin C
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Tummel Release

Post by Colin C »

I was down the Tummel today and the amount of water being released appears to have been reduced, similar levels to last year, maybe a little less. I was talking to one of the owners of a rafting company that I know, and we were discussing the levels. He has been in some discussion with the Hydro who have been very supportive of accessing the river and the releases, about other options. The rafters have a current agreement with the Hydro Board, to use the river and space.
The Tummel currently releases from Friday afternoon through to Monday morning. What he has been talking to the Hydro about is reducing the time it flows but increasing the amount of water flowing. So it could start on Saturday 8.00 am till 5.00pm and then same again for Sunday, but twice the amount of water each time. He is concerned as to the views of paddlers, who would loose time but gain more water, and I offered to sound people out.
This is very much a tentative discussion so it may go nowhere, and I presume that the Hydro want an uncontentious plan, which is unanimously acceptable. I also don't know how much will come to pass, but I offered to pass on peoples thoughts to him. My own view is that it would be a fantastic resource for paddlers in Scotland with dependable good water all summer, it may inconvenience a few folk on Friday evening but would increase the benefits for the majority.
Let me know what you think.

Colin

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james fleming
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by james fleming »

Colin, I was on the Tummel today. It was very low probably the lowest I have run it.

My personal opinion on the releases would be in favour of the increased flow and decreased length of time they are on for.

Dave McCraw
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Dave McCraw »

By coincidence we're off there today (I came on for the random possibility that there would be a Tummel thread - ha!)

I can't imagine any objection to reducing the period of the releases in order to increase the flow. The river doesn't get any harder with more water, in fact it gets easier through the rocky sections like Sawmill. So everyone's a winner!

If it would be useful, I daresay that the SCA's recreational rivers stream could raise this as something to support (or consider supporting, at least) officially?

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callum s
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by callum s »

Colin C wrote:, it may inconvenience a few folk on Friday evening but would increase the benefits for the majority.
Let me know what you think.
Colin

I am a local tummel paddler with the river on my doorstep, was also out on the river yesterday (so many people!!)
I would definitly be supportive of this plan: i used to often paddle this river on a friday night after school but the release starts very low and is little above compensation flow for most of friday evening, we rarely saw any other paddlers at this time so little paddling would be lost, I would certainly like to see more water in the river on saturdays and sundays.
So it could start on Saturday 8.00 am till 5.00pm and then same again for Sunday, but twice the amount of water each time
I do feel that 5.00pm is far too early to stop the release however!! Those on the river yesterday will appreciate how crowded it can get with rafts, kayaks, river buggies, spectators etc and for those of us who live closer and would previously got on the river at 5/6pm to miss the crowds (especially the commercial rafting) and enjoy an evening paddle will lose this possibility. I think 8pm would be a far more suitable time to end the release especially as during the summer it is usually light until 10/11pm anyway.

h04dy
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by h04dy »

I have to say I have never paddled the Tummel but rafted it yesterday " Saturday " it was very very low , I would have thought the dam would have been releasing more water having watched fellow paddlers playing it the play spots it looked pretty slow !!!

I was rafting as part of a stag doo and was quite shocked at the size of the rafting outfit loads of rafts and plenty people bussing up and rafting down , I have to commend all the paddlers on the river as they were all polite and never a crossed word or raft pushing people playing in a spot out of the way .

Again for my liking if the dam was giving out more water it would have been a lot more fun but not so much for the canoeists who like to play in the spots and have huge rafts coming through every 20 mins or so , if the releasing was left till longer those having more time later on would benefit but would the rafting companys not stay longer as well ???

Anyway I am going to have to bring my boat and have a run on the Tummel now .

H04dy

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callum s
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by callum s »

h04dy wrote: if the releasing was left till longer those having more time later on would benefit but would the rafting companys not stay longer as well ???

H04dy
I doubt it. The river is on a constant release from fri eve to monday morn at the moment however commercial rafting is almost always finished up by 5 or 6pm. I see no reason for them to suddenly extend the days rafting time period if water levels rose, conversely the rafting would probably be finished earlier as the rafts would take less time to get down the river aided by higher flows??

Dave McCraw
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Dave McCraw »

It's not as bad as I feared, you can at least get down the whole run without needing to portage!

They'd definitely get more people up there if the release was bigger (a Liquid Life level would be perfect, but anything would be good). As it is I think we've done our Tummel run for the summer.

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SwamP
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by SwamP »

Dave McCraw wrote: I think we've done our Tummel run for the summer.
Me too.... and I haven't even done it yet...

If a raft at least got down it it says a lot...but yes more water would be good for all, if it's sustainable.
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james fleming
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by james fleming »

Although rafts got down, it's not what I would call white water rafting or rafting. More like rubber pinball.

Dave McCraw
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Dave McCraw »

Aye, when you say the rafts get down, what seems to happen is the guides lift the raft up onto one "edge", and then try to force that bit between the rocks, while the punters look nonplussed. It's a bit like letting the tail of your boat drag in the water on a portage, and claiming it's paddling ;-)

Still, better than the Tay for sure...

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SwamP
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by SwamP »

"OVER LEFT!!!!!!"

This is why I don't guide on this river any more....good on the lads that do!

Dave you wanting a shout later in the week for some surf action? That's me back in the big city now.... :o(
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banzer
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by banzer »

Ok so the company is willing to release water for nine hours at the increased flow... obviously twelve hours from 8 till 8 or 9 till 9 would be better but assuming it isn't possible...

... one option that I have seen work elsewhere would be a four-hour release from 9-1 .... then an hour lunchbreak / shuttle for a second run... then another five-hour release from 2-7. That way you get the evening run once the rafts have departed, plus the spooky experience of the river levels changing: you can catch it on the down or on the up, good practice for getting caught in a rising river! This option might not be so appealing to the raft companies... but they might like a lunch break?
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DAB
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by DAB »

I was there on Sunday and it was definitely the lowest I have ever seen it, it feels like I took about 6 months off the lifetime of my boat by scrapi9ng it over so many rocks. I don't think anyone would disagree with more water being put down the river.

Probably be on the Tay next week.

Dave McCraw
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Dave McCraw »

Banzer, can they actually turn it on and off that quickly (break for lunch?)

Just running it for 12 hours (or 9 hours) in the middle of each day would double the flow - that would be plenty I reckon.

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SwamP
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by SwamP »

Banzer, unless I'm mistaken that just couldn't work for 5+ rafting companies all trying to get two to three, 10 raft trips down every Saturday...it's manic there as it is.
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by banzer »

Ryan P wrote:Banzer, unless I'm mistaken that just couldn't work for 5+ rafting companies all trying to get two to three, 10 raft trips down every Saturday...it's manic there as it is.
Aye... but it spreads the manicness out over a longer time period! Problem is if the raft companies have to knock off at 5.... which is most likely the case. So you're left with deciding whether 8-5 or 9-6 suits the more people. I may be wrong but I can't see a raft full of suitably-prepped clients, kitted up and ready to go, at 8! Nor many kayakers for that matter... so how about even 10 till 7??

Dave, I suppose it depends on the dam. The Tummel dam is right by the paddled section so, if the gates can be opened and shut quickly, it shouldn't take too long to fill up. This happens on the Aratiatia rapids in NZ... over five minutes it fills from boney scrape through difficult class 5 to big volume grade 6 scarefest! It's awesome to watch (and to dream of paddling).
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George Mcmillan
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by George Mcmillan »

Rich, thats one of my favourite youtube videos. Theres footage around by lads running it in a promo for the Black Album. I think. It never got off the ground but those rapids are "Awe........wait for it.......some" see it by clicking here
As far as the release being on for less time at higher flows gets my vote. Being on from a friday night is pointless. 10 am till 8pm Saturday and the same on a Sunday sounds about right, gives you a long lie to ward off the hangovers.
g
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h04dy
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by h04dy »

Guys ,

Good to hear what everyone is thinking about , I may have opened a hornets nest regarding the rafting hahahaha .

I have to say I did enjoy the Tummel but I was dissapointed in the river level being on a release i had visions on the water pumping down , it was fun but I felt it was a lot of over left over right and yes we got the raft sinking in one of the tighter sections que all the non canoests crapping themselves lol
If i was to run the Tummel in my boat I would like at least twice the water to fill up the levels and not be scrapping down .

The rafting guys would probably not raft after 5 or so and if the water was higher then yes they would be down quicker and giving that they opperate non stop all weekend I would have to say the raft guides might have a grumble having to work more hours lol !!!!

Anyway hope to get up there soon cheers

H04dy

Colin C
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Colin C »

Thanks for your ideas, I thought that folks views would be very much as they are
Dave McCraw wrote:If it would be useful, I daresay that the SCA's recreational rivers stream could raise this as something to support (or consider supporting, at least) officially?
Dave it would be good if you could ask them for their views, but please stress that these are early days and it may all come to nothing.
The rafting is getting bigger and bigger, I think there were only three companies rafting yesterday, and Ryan was right in that the bigger ones are taking 10 rafts down three times a day. The last trip was still on the water at 4.40pm, so I suspect they wont finish till 5.30pm or there abouts, rafters use the same timekeeping as the Western Isles folks, where Manyana(sp) is far to precise, and has much to much urgency. The guy I was speaking to is in the process of arranging toilets for the site, and I suspect if the summer is as dry as it looks, then the rafting is going to get bigger, as the other venues get less attractive. If you can avoid getting caught up at the s bend then the rafts don't get in the way, there is room for all of us.
I am happy to suggest that the starting time gets moved back as well as the finishing time, it could be a compromise they would be happy with, as it will also give them some flexibility, given yesterdays finishing time. I will pass on the views to Stevie, and put the argument forward that later finishing would suit folk better.

Colin

stephan
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by stephan »

Just another "me too" from me and the people I was paddling with on Sunday.

It could do with a little bit more, just to cover a few more rocks.

Personally Fridays aren't that good for me, it's normally Sundays that I'm out.

Dave McCraw
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Dave McCraw »

Colin C wrote:
Dave McCraw wrote:If it would be useful, I daresay that the SCA's recreational rivers stream could raise this as something to support (or consider supporting, at least) officially?
Dave it would be good if you could ask them for their views, but please stress that these are early days and it may all come to nothing.
Well, James and I have already posted here and Neil Farmer may pop in at some point, that's about half of the committee ;-)

It was more a suggestion from the point of view of reassuring the hydro company that we are "on-side" as a group, if necessary, than a desire to get stuck in!

Colin C
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Colin C »

Dave McCraw wrote:It was more a suggestion from the point of view of reassuring the hydro company that we are "on-side" as a group, if necessary, than a desire to get stuck in!
David I think you have summed up the purpose of this posting, I would like to go back to the rafters and say that most paddlers with a view, are in favour of the proposed action. It would be good to know that the SCA committee is aware of what is going on regarding the Tummel and that they support the potential change. I will give it a little more time to see if any other views are expressed, and hopefully hear back from the committee shortly. I will keep posting updates, if and when I get any.

Thanks
Colin

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SwamP
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by SwamP »

Colin C wrote:
Dave McCraw wrote: I would like to go back to the rafters
The SRA?

And you're in conversation with the level 3, 4 and 5 guides who know more about this river than most kayakers?...thus be able to help to a better solution...

Hope it works out...more water would be great!!!!!
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Dave McCraw
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Dave McCraw »

The above quote is a bit confusing (primarily as I have no idea who the SRA are - rifle association? ;-)

You don't need to be a specialist to know that the rafters must be screaming for more water though, as even the most naive clients must be wondering if they're not being short changed at the present levels (ok, here comes a rapid. We're just going to jam between the first set of rocks, hold on while I jump out and lever you over, now the second set of rocks... phew, back on the flat etc.)

On the other hand perhaps it's like the Meig, where the rockiness acts as a kind of novelty that makes the trip worth doing (once) despite all appearances to the contrary!

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SwamP
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by SwamP »

And what's the sCa?...I don't CANOE! :op

In all seriousness, the Tummel in normal “Over Left” levels where the slot move Dave described is still lots of fun…raft guides make it fun and the river helps too!

Short changed is not something I’ve ever come across.

Just incase other interested parties can’t figure out what the abbreviated letters are for Rafting in Scotland are or who to contact; http://www.scottish-rafting-association ... mbers.html
3, 4, and 5 know their stuff…as do many other guides who aren’t on this list…
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Dave McCraw
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Dave McCraw »

In case it wasn't obvious, I was referring to the fact that it says I said, but in fact I didn't ;-)

Speaking of which... how do you tell if someone's a level 5 raft guide? !

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SwamP
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by SwamP »

I don’t know I’ve never even sat on a raft…but I think belly circumference has something to do with it…eh Smokie? ;o)
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Stevie T
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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Stevie T »

Appreciate all comments, but we are in a situation where we have the possibility to take this forward and get more water on a weekend but with restricted hours. I am a paddler by nature but a rafter by business and just need to know that if this is to be taken forward, it is done in the best interest of all that paddle the tummel. Please bear in mind that this is in early stages and still needs to be discussed further with SEPA and TSF. All I want is what is in the best interests of fishermen, kayakers, rafters and most importantly, the reasons for these Freshets, ie the sustainability of the river environment. (preventing pools stagnating and the development of further strains of water borne viruses, not just the free running of upstream spawning fish!) ((which is also of paramount importance but we need to look at the whole picture here)) Whereas I am very much involved in what is potentially happening on the tummel, along side SEPA and TSF, I believe that the only way forward is what is right for all involved.
My thought is that more water at specific times over each weekend can only benefit all of us but I may be wrong.
I would like to think of us all as river users, as opposed to "kayakers", "rafters", "fishermen" and the likes, and that we all work together towards a common goal.

I am aware on some rivers, logistics have been put in place to favour some groups over others. I would not like to see this put in place on our local resource and if you feel that it is not beneficial for all involved, or yourself as a user in specific, please let me know at steve@freespirits.freeserve.co.uk and I will address your issue as best I can. (or, even better, continue posting on this site, which is monitored and transparent to all.)

I simply see this as an opportunity for all of us which we can, under advisement of the SSE, SEPA and TSF, take this forward and improve an amazing resource and make it even better for all involved.

All thoughts from you guys will be appreciated and hopefully we can take this forward to a conclusion that will be good for all.

Cheers guys

Steve

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Re: Tummel Release

Post by pickenjohn »

Firstly I agree that it would be good to have shorter fuller releases, though worth bearing in mind that we have generally had a dry spring so I guess levels are low in the systems just now so releases will be low. Summer rains should help. Personally I would support shorter higher flows covering say 21 hours over Sat 9am to 8 pm & Sun 9am to 7pm, though even these flows could be at a range of levels.
We should also consider a broader range of possible solutions. There appears currently be up to 60 hours of additional water released. It would I think be desirable to have releases at different levels. Each release is supposed to have a ramp up and reduce flow period for environmental reasons so there is some time/water loss. So let us say they could translate to 35 hours of usable water. These 35 hours could be available for a range of releases through the week not just weekend. So while some of this time would be used on Sat and Sunday it could leave time for releases during the week including evening time. It might even be agreed that evening time would be non rafters. 35 hours could even give 5 varying hours per day every day of the week which could translate into a significant additional local industry built around the river with the range of other outdoor activities in the area.
Finally it is important that we as paddlers identify what we want from hydro releases, why and what may be the other especially environmental issues. There was, and I assume still is, a very strong lobby within SNH that hydro releases should be made solely on the basis of environmental issues. This view I understand would give more frequent but generally lower releases on the various rivers than at present. This environmental view could over ride any wishes we have - and might have some powerful support from those who not having any environmental concern but would see it as a way of keeping paddlers of the river. There is a clear case within the Water Framework Directive for social and economic issues to be met when managing rivers. However it could be that we will need to work hard in the longer term to have our requirements recognised. So the clearer we are the better our case.
If we do decide to press for a change on the Tummel would the first formal step be to arrange a meeting with the various interested parties using and around the river?

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Re: Tummel Release

Post by Colin C »

Steve, welcome to the UKRGB, I am glad you got the link. It is better to have you as part of the discussion as opposed to me passing info back to you. I don't think there are any issues between the groups in Scotland,unlike other parts of the UK, and you are right that this change could benefit all the folk that use the river.it has always been a reasonable harmonious relationship between the user groups.
pickenjohn wrote:If we do decide to press for a change on the Tummel would the first formal step be to arrange a meeting with the various interested parties using and around the river?
I understand your position, but my concern is that this is currently fairly low key with folk that have relationship discussing options. Your approach relies on systems and counter balances etc. It will become a wider issue and the day to day users may well be lost in processes and argument. Just my thoughts.

Colin

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