NAME OF RIVER: Lyon (Bridge of Balgie) A quick add-on to the falls of dochart?
WHERE IS IT?:
Glen Lyon (pronounced the same as Lion) at Bridge of Balgie.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Park at the car park just downstream of Bridge of Balgie (NN 57735 46807). The take out is the big pool just below the drop you can see below the bridge. For the put in, cross the bridge and follow the road for a few hundred metres until you cross a cattle grid. There should be a clear path to the river through an unlocked gate in the big fence.
APPROX LENGTH: 200 m
TIME NEEDED: About 10 minutes a lap. Basically as long as you can be bothered to stay!
ACCESS HASSLES: Glen Lyon is a fairly “Sporting” glen, and hill walkers in the past have had issues getting to the munros in the upper valley. I’ve not heard of any major issues for kayakers but it’s still something to be aware of.
Be sure not to block any driveways or damage any fences
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: As a rough guide the standard wheresthewater gauge for the lyon still holds, but 0.5 on the gauge should probably be considered a minimum flow. If the falls of dochart are at a good level then this should be too. Looking under the bridge it’s what you see is what you get!
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS:
Nothing which you can’t immediately see from the road. It’ll get pretty big in high water.
This is a quick park and huck rapid which is on the borderline of being “worth the effort”. It’s probably not worth a day’s excursion on its own but it could make a nice addition to the Falls of Dochart if you have some leftover energy since its fairly close and runs at a similar level. The Lyon is generally pretty flat in this part of the valley, but at bridge of Balgie it finds some bedrock and forms about 200 m of really fun grade 3/4 rapids, with the biggest drop being the last one under the bridge. There are multiple channels to keep your interest for a good couple of laps and its in a really nice setting with a picnic spot by the takeout pool. If the Lyon is releasing and you are desperate for white water, you could do worse than having a relaxing day here.
It looks like there are a few more grade 4 drops about 1 km downstream, but finding a good takeout after this would be the bigger challenge since the river is flat for a pretty long way before it meets the road again after the rapids. Maybe worth an explore?
If for some reason you are here and everything is tanking it(not sure how this would happen…) you could always do some ditch boating on the Invervar burn, the comically small Innerwick burn, or even the ridiculous Allt Baille a’ Mhullin. All of which have been paddled!
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jon Harwell
Paddler: Rory Changleng, Photo: Jon Harwell
Paddler: Jon Harwell, Photo: Rory Changleng