GUIDE TO THE RIVER ALLAN
NAME OF RIVER: Allan.
WHERE IS IT?: Above Dunblane (Ashfield) to Bridge of Allan, Central Scotland, OS sheet 57.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in Ashfield NN 786040, Take out after the bridge in Bridge of Allan. NS 788976.
APPROX LENGTH: 5 miles??
TIME NEEDED: A few hours??
ACCESS HASSLES: Parking at the put in has become an issue in recent years. After crossing the rail bridge, there is room for cars on the inside of the bend opposite however this has brought complaints from locals. If you turn left after the bridge there is a car park about 50m on the right. Please park considerately and avoid parking in number spaces which belong to house owners nearby.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The River can be run from medium levels and up. It is at it's best in high water, when the river in Bridge of Allan is chocolate brown. If in the park on river right then you will be in for an exciting run however eddies are few and far between with trees lining the river making a swim dangerous.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Ashfield weir is best inspected at the start. Cathedral weir in Dunblane has a serious towback, inspection is imperative and best done prior to getting on the river. The weir in Bridge of Allan which can be seen from the bridge can also be dangerous however as the get out is above this, it isn't frequently run.
Trees. The banks of the river are tree lined and when the river is high, branches will in the water. On top of this, there are frequently trees down in or across the river. Paddle with caution.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Allan is like a night out at a tacky nightclub. Sometimes you score, other times, well it just goes on too long. DON'T GET ON WHEN ITS LOW. In high water, this is a continuous run, huge surf waves, lots of great grade 3, and a smattering of grade 4. This grading is however a misnomer, it is no place for the "new to grade 3" paddler. Any swims at high water will be punished with long rescues and, in our experience, boat loss!!! Beware.
After the get in, rolling waves lead down to Ashfield weir (portage right if you choose), below this is a short solid grade 4, best run on the right. After Ashfield, plenty of grade three takes you into a graveyard section in Dunblane. There is a broken weir here, inspect and possibly run 3 m from left.
Below Dunblane, another grade 4 (after a large bridge) can be taken hard left down the tongue. It is straightforward. The final rapid is the weir under the bridge in Bridge of Allan, taking the tongue hard left works well, though others have favoured a right chute. The stopper below the weir holds swimmers, so the apprehensive may wish to walk
OTHER NOTES: I'll say it again....paddle it when its stonking down only!
CONTRIBUTED BY: Adam Sawyer (who has clearly spent too much time out on the town).