GUIDE TO THE RIVER LENY
(A84 layby to Lade Inn)
NAME OF RIVER: Leny. Technically, the river is called the Garbh Uisge, but as with all sentences preceded by the word technically, this can safely be ignored.
WHERE IS IT?: North of Callander, Central Scotland, OS sheet 57.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The car park (lay by) NN 58617 09591 on the main A84 road next to the river. An alternative put-in is the walkers car park just south of here across a bridge, however this can get very busy, especially in summer. Take out after the bridge next to the Lade Inn, a handy place for a pint, NN 60817 08240.
APPROX LENGTH: 3km
TIME NEEDED: Anything from 20 minutes (our record!!!!) to a few hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: I know of no problems.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: There is a gauge available here: http://canoescotland.org/where-go/wheres-water
The Falls of Leny are a good gauge - if the left side looks very rocky but the right looks doable, the river is low. If there is plenty of water on the ramp on the way down the left, the river is good. If there is water lapping over the ledge at the top of the left hand side, the river is high, it is a storming run like this!
GRADING: 3/4 (5).
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The Falls of Leny. These can vary from a straightforward grade 4 slide at low levels to a serious grade 5 at higher levels. Not to be underestimated.
Craig Henderson (November 2005)...'Yes! I ran (river left) the Falls of Leny after a full day of rain. It is worth noting that after the first drop into the big pool/ boily eddy you need to try and stay upright. I was far river left and got capsized at which point a hole was ripped in my deck and my front pocket (Nookie BA) was ripped off! I lost a sling/ krab and spare car keys but did manage to roll up and still have my face intact. Beware of very sharp rocks.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Leny is not just a one rapid wonder, though it is memories of the Falls of Leny that will linger. The river starts wide and flat skimming stone heaven), and moves on through the grades until a long bouncy grade three above the Falls of Leny. In high water, this is an excellent stretch. Inspection of the Falls of Leny can be made by exiting just below the disused bridge stanchions that you will pass in the above rapid - the second and less obvious set you pass on the river. There are eddies on both sides, but if you want to run the left hand side of the Falls of Leny, inspect from the left bank. The Falls of Leny can be run left or right, though in high water the right becomes something of a challenge… Beware of Exit drop (grade 4) in the gorge below the obvious part of the falls. Portage of the whole gorge is easy on the right.
Below the Falls of Leny are two grade 3/4 rapids, Wee Stinker and S bend. Both have some chunky holes at medium to high levels and stopping before to inspect or portage can be challenging. The river is grade 2/3 from here to the take out bridge, though beware of trees.
The Leny flows into the River Teith and you might consider a trip on this river.
Jon Harwell runs the right hand side of the falls, photo by Kirsten Rendle.
Alison Galloway on Exit drop at the bottom of the Falls gorge. Photo by Kirsten Rendle.
OTHER NOTES: The Leny is only short, and does not have the classic day trips out like the River Roy and River Orchy, but in high water (which is not uncommon, as it is Loch fed) it is a great trip. It is hard to get bored of the Leny, and a run down the Falls of Leny in high water will long last in the mind.
Jim Wallis notes...'There are actually 2 sets of disused bridge stanchions above the falls of Leny, they are quite close together and you need to take out very close to the second (less obvious) set. It's easy enough to inspect the falls from the carpark signed for the falls, and of course check your inspection/portage egress! Other runs in the area would include the Falls of Dochart, and the River Lyon, either or both of which could be combined into a good day by a swift team! Alternatively, if you are spending a day travelling to Pitlochry, or even Fort Bill, you could break the Journey with the Leny'.
See also, Mike Buckley-Jones' trip report.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Kirsten Rendle, Adam Sawyer, Jim Wallis, Craig Henderson and Roland Bone.
From George Fell - Falls of Leny, left of the island - there's a bit of walkway fallen into the river left. Easy to avoid, but it is just where folks end up if it's all going a bit wrong for them. Looks to have a bit of pinning potential if you are hard river left at that point. Sorry no pictures - I'm a luddite.
Pictures from Jason Sharp -
Today (20/2/15) there was a tree in the wee drop at the end of the gorge below the falls. At today's levels it went fine over the river left rock, but a lower levels the normal river right channel would be completely blocked. Easy to see from the river bank as long as you stop to inspect.
As for levels, others will be more knowledgeable, but from memory, it runs from 0.6- 1.0 and most locals would run the right (waterfall) side of the falls, above 1.0, the left rocky ramp becomes nicer. I am not a fan of the right, was once reciculated in highish water against the central rock several times and managed to pick up 3 stitches in my eyebrow - not even as much fun as it sounds!
In summary, almost always runnable above 0.6, take care approaching the falls in higher water levels. It is fed by a reasonably large loch, so levels are generally delayed after rain and maintain levels longer than other rivers.
Anyone know what's a good not-too-scary level on the SEPA gauge and what SEPA level is similar to the 4+ "Falls and gorge now grade 5" level ?