GUIDE TO THE RIVER LOCHAY
NAME OF RIVER: Lochay.
WHERE IS IT?: It flows through Killin, Stirlingshire, and into Loch Tay.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put-in where the road ends at Kenkrock. Get out below a set of large falls, not far from Duncroist, half a mile upstream of the Falls of Lochay.
APPROX LENGTH: 4 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours +
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: There had been a lot of rain recently, and the Dochart was at 1.2m on the SEPA river level website. This seemed to be a good level, much less could have been scrapey.
GRADING: Grade 2-4.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Looking at the Falls of Lochay. Wire Fencing. Both the rapid mentioned above, the bridge at the get-in and the bridge half-way down the flat section have wire fences strung across the river low enough that it is impossible to get down them. Be careful.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Here are some updates to the guide, as we paddled the river last weekend.
Just below the get-in there is a grade 3 fall of about 3 metres drop. However, it appears to be quite shallow at the bottom and we decided not to run it.
From here there is about 1.5 miles of continuous grade 2 3 water. After this section the river becomes flat for a mile or so, and we shuttled this section in the bus, rather than paddling this section.
We got back in at the first main rapid after the flat, where the river narrows somewhat into a short grade 4 rapid. This looked to have a possible line down the left, but there were large rocks in the wave at the bottom of the drop and they looked rather painful if you got a bad line.
From here there is immediately a good grade 3 rapid, which had many possible routes, followed by more grade 2 3 water. Next you will see a horizon line which marks the start of a series of grade 4+ ledges. There is a small hole just over the horizon line, followed by two river-wide ledges which drop about 1.5m each and from very retentative holes - enough to backloop a Salto! However, they are easy enough to protect from the bank.
After this there is another entertaining 3m drop/ chute (grade 4) where the river splits around a large rocky island - run this on the river left channel. There is a large boulder to avoid about 10 yards form the bottom of the drop! Finally, there is another long grade 3 rapid, but BEWARE, there is a deer fence at river level across the whole width of the river. We decided to portage, but it many be possible to get under the fence at lower water levels. We got out just below this - approx a mile above the Falls of Lochay.
OTHER NOTES: The Falls. Definitely grade 5. It consists of a 1m weir, a 1.5 ledge drop within 5m of each other. This is followed by a four 5m falls in reasonably close succession, each of which would probably merit grade 5 on it's own due to the towbacks at the bottom, and the difficulty to protect as they are quite deep in a gorge. However, they do look runnable if you're feeling brave.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Iain Bethune, Edinburgh University Canoe Club (www.eusu.ed.ac.uk/clubs/canoe), also J Sigbrandt.