Best ''missions'' in the UK

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Duncan Stewart96
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Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Duncan Stewart96 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:24 pm

Hey guys, been trying to tick off as many exploratory runs as I can in Scotland recently which got me wondering what good 'adventure' paddles there are in the rest of the UK. Examples from Scotland include long remote runs like the Uisge Dubh/Ling which are hard to access but super rewarding with really classy whitewater, as well as really involved committing runs like the Cuileig and Affric needing a bit of nerve/ropework. I haven't run it yet but the Eidart/Feshie would also be a good example. Plenty of other wee projects up in the north highlands both known and little known which i'm keen to get around to.

I saw a video recently from a friend of mine of the Afon Pysgotwr Fawr (I think that's the spelling...) in Wales which seemed to fit the bill, not run very often and with a big walk in which made me think it might be a useful thread idea. I feel the UK often gets overlooked a bit as a place for adventurous and exploratory paddling, but there's some really good stuff tucked away in hidden corners of OS maps.

I know the north and west of Scotland pretty well and have wasted plenty of time scouring maps.... but there must be stuff elsewhere in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK for remote and challenging rivers. Although I wouldn't recommend the Ailnack Gorge, it's pretty pish...

Anyone got any good examples?

(Please don't suggest the Dart...)

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banzer
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Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by banzer » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:31 am

Duncan Stewart96 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:24 pm

Anyone got any good examples?

(Please don't suggest the Dart...)
Sorry to break it to you but there are actually some good missions on Dartmoor! Basically involving carrying your boat through the pouring rain vaguely uphill through the bogs until you find one of the headwaters of the various rivers eg Okemont, Tavy, Taw, East Dart. Maybe not quality WW, but good missions. Plus on Exmoor you can do the headwaters of the East Lyn down to the sea, at which levels the East Lynn gorge is a solid 5 or worse!

Not that many in Wales as there are usually little roads everywhere that negate the need for a long walk-in. However there's the ones near Llyn Brianne you mentioned and a few others dotted about. Walk-ins yes, big missions, not so many.

N Ireland unfortunately I have no idea about!

Your 'classics' in Scotland are the Ossian / Ghuilbain combo now with bonus hydro scheme that ruins things at lower levels but apparently might be a help at higher levels (anecdotal evidence), and the Kirkaig trip over the lochs from Elphin. Apart from the others you mention you have,

- Avon from Loch Avon
- Douchary
- Whole Roy including the tight canyons and falls way above the regular sections and (possibly) White Falls, if it goes. Finish with the Sporge, of course
- Upper Findhorn catchment? Lots of hydro and windfarm roads to follow, who's got the key?
- Tarff, but heavily affected by hydro now
- Anything in Knoydart, Kinloch Hourn area eg Arnisdale, Inverie
- Basically anything in the North West that involves carrying over a mountain!

I need to take a sabbatical year...
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Jim
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Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Jim » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:22 pm

If you want remote and challenging, but not necessarily in a WW way, there is a well documented but not so often travelled coast to coast open canoe route from Kinlochleven to Perth. Some good steep portages to the watershed, and then if you are out of luck with rain/hydro you may have additional portages on the way back down but first part of the trip is pretty remote, apart from a railway, but it's not as handy as a road. Includes some less paddled (but accessible by road) sections - Garbh Gaoir, Gaur, Upper Tummel and then into the classic Tummel and Tay sections. We allowed 7 days to do it in canoe, but ended up with some prolonged cold weather, camps above the snowline and resulting lack of water in the rivers and by the end of the 5th day had only got half way so bailed out, but it can be done in about 5 days if your timing is better.

A more common alternative start is to jump on where the A82 crosses the river Ba on Rannoch moor and just do a downhill trip. I haven't heard of people starting further up the Ba, but there is an old drove road (runs from Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe) which is easily hikable (they used drive cattle along it on foot) and its bridge over the Ba is at an interesting looking gorge, I say interesting looking - I've only seen it frozen solid and have no idea if it goes, or is even just flat. If you follow the Ba further uphill on the map you will notice it starts just across the ridge from the Allt a Chaorainn, so if you want to hike over a mountain first, maybe ignore the drove road and start up the Allt a Chaorainn, or if you are a real sadist, start at Connel, up the Falls of Lora, Loch Etive and then up the Etive and Allt a Chaorainn - coast to coast!

Or how about a circular route? Again I have only seen the remote parts frozen and they may involve more hiking than paddling, but you could start at Inverawe, Part way up loch Etive, portage up a river (forget the name), over the watershed into Glen Shira (friends have biked it in reverse) and paddle down to Loch Tulla, Orchy, loch Awe and river Awe back to the car in a few days.

I've heard there are some interesting adventures to be had in QE forest park exploring headwaters/tributaries of the Forth, think it is fairly easy to get lost in the forest on your way in and end up on a different stream to the one you were aiming for. I've been biking in there and I have no idea how we found our way out again!

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Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by banzer » Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:18 pm

Yes there are a few across the watershed missions.

- Upper Garry / Arkaig area
- Headwaters of the Meig, carry in from Glen Carron
- Upper Tees from Maize Beck (who will do this with me? highest altitude run in England, potentially)
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Re: Best ''missions'' in the UK

Post by Neptune » Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:59 pm

Banzer,

Maze Beck to High force I take it. This looks like it would be a fun litte adventure, the kind I would be interested in doing with you. How much rain/water is needed for this to be viable to paddle or will it go if water is being released from Cow Green Reservoir?

Peter

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