GUIDE TO THE RIVER TAY
(SCA Access Point to Grandtully)
NAME OF RIVER: Tay
WHERE IS IT?: Tayside! Flows out of Loch...Tay. The Tay offers paddling for many levels from flat touring to whitewater and the national slalom site at Grandtully. The river can be paddled all the way from Loch Tay to the North Sea at Dundee.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: You could combine this with the grade 1-2 section above, or start at the SCA access point at Edradynate (NN 88832 51788). The field is off the minor road on the north bank and has an SCA sign on the gate. This is a well used spot, so park accordingly!
Take out at Grandtully village, either above or below the slalom course (NN 91232 53268). Parking is at the SCA campsite (http://canoescotland.org/where-go/grandtully-campsite). Parking is free and use of the showers/toilets is only a small charge. There is room for one or two vehicles to pick up boats from just below the final drop (below the bridge) at the track down to the river, however please do not park here as it obstructs the access for the rafting companies.
APPROX LENGTH: 3 km.
TIME NEEDED: Various.
ACCESS HASSLES: It should be remembered that the Tay is a well-used fishing river so it is worth keeping an eye out.
The slalom course at Grandtully often hosts races, so it is worth checking in advance if anything is on. During big events the car park is often unavailable and you may need to wait for a while before you can run the rapids, so consider going elsewhere. Details of events are usually published on the SCA website.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Paddleable all year, though probably not worth it in extreme drought! Gauge available on the SCA website: Where's the Water
GRADING: Grade 2(3)
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Grandtully rapids.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: From the SCA put in, you can walk upstream a few hundred meters to get in another bouncy rapid if you’re extra keen. The section just below the put in has lots of friendly eddys for coaching. The river bends to the left and you bounce down a straightforward wavy rapid. At the end of this, the river bends right fairly sharply, announcing “Fisherman’s hole”. There are two very large rocks in the flow that can form big holes in the right water levels. The easiest line is down the right hand bank, though paddling down the center between the two holes is always fun! There is another, tighter line on the left, though it can be shallow in lower water. There is a massive eddy on the left to pick up any pieces.
The next rapid has a big rock in the middle and easy lines down either side. A really nice surf wave forms on the right at some levels. Finally, a rapid with lots of rocks on the left runs easily down the right. There are big eddies on the left below this rapid if you need to gather your group. You are now in the approach to Grandtully!
As you round the next corner, you probably want to move to the right to land at the path to inspect/portage the slalom course. There are lots of small eddies at the trees, below where a stream comes in. Paths lead through the woods to the rapids and up to the car park.
Grandtully itself has many lines depending on water level. There are three main drops. The top has the most options, with routes all the way across depending on how much water you’ve got. The next drop has a large rocky outcropping ominously named “Boatbreaker” splitting the flow. Unsurprisingly, boats do get pinned on this every so often. The final drop is below the bridge and has some large holes, so is probably worth inspecting if you’re planning on going down to it with a group. Many don’t bother paddling this one as it’s a bit of a carry back up!
CONTRIBUTED BY: Kirsten Rendle, St. Andrew's Uni, Dave Bradshaw, Rob Bouchard and Mark Rainsley.