GUIDE TO THE RIVER TUMMEL

(Lower section, Clunie dam to Loch Faskally)

NAME OF RIVER: Tummel.

WHERE IS IT?: The Tummel is a heavily dammed river that flows into the Tay at Ballinluig. There are several sections between the dams that are paddleable.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS:

To reach the put in, take the minor road to Clunie and Foss off the A9 near Pitlochry along the south side of Loch Faskally. Follow this road to Clunie dam (NN 88434 60292). Park in the layby and unload boats.  In busy periods (any weekend in the summer) the rafters would appreciate if you moved vehicles back along the road a couple hundred meters to a car park on the uphill side so they can turn the buses and trailers. Walk down to the dam. Climb the gate and head through some trees to a stile. Walk down to the river beside the fishladder. There is a wide rafting get in here, but if this is busy you can walk alongside the fishladder towards the dam and slide in off the last concrete step.

The take out has changed (June 2017), due to the closure of the Clunie Power station picnic site. For those wanting a short shuttle, there is a small car park above the Linn of Tummel (NN 90956 59872) accessed from the river via small, steep, slippery path. A better take out is found just outside Pitlochry on the B8019 st the Loch Dunmore forestry commision car park (NN 92195 59180). There is some space for vehicles near the water's edge, and plenty of parking only a few 100 meters walk away.

 

APPROX LENGTH: 4km.

TIME NEEDED: 1-2 hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: PLEASE SEE TAKE OUT INFO ABOVE. Try and be mindful of others when parking, especially in busy periods. Paddler/Rafter relations can get a bit strained.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Dam release. Release schedule available here, but usually weekends June-September. High water during the winter can trigger emergency releases, though these may be much higher than standard. The outflow is in the middle of the dam at the bottom - there needs to be some water coming out of here for a good level.

The river can (debatably) be scraped all year round, though without a release the river is more technical and unfriendly to the bottom of your boat.

GRADING: 2/3 (4), more serious in spate or maintenance release levels

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Linn of Tummel

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: From the dam the river is easy grade 2, the difficulty slowly increasing. The first grade 3 is Sawmill falls, a long bouncy rapid with an awkward slot at the end. A few more easy rapids follow before the big flat bit at Coronation Bridge - a white suspension bridge. After this flat bit is the run in to the top of the grade 3+ section. Constriction is first up, a tight turn into a narrow slot. After this there is a large eddy on the right to grab any pieces if you’re quick. Straight up next is S bend, a technical rapid with an enormous pool at the bottom to catch any carnage. Inspection/portage is easy on the right. A few more grade 2/3 drops bring you to the Linn of Tummel (grade 4). A double stage fall, it’s easier than it looks. There is a ledge below the second drop on the left, visible when Loch Faskally is low, that should be avoided. Inspection/portage is easy on the right, though beware the very slippery rocks! Rescue at the bottom is from the Loch, so no stress there. The rocks on the left below the Linn give some great cliff jumping opportunities.

Jon Harwell runs the Linn of Tummel on a summer release. Photo by Kirsten Rendle.

At very high levels (when the outflow from the dam is about the height of the dam itself) the river is an incredible blast, though there are no eddies and plenty of enormous holes and tree hazards. Grade about 3/4 (5), the only grade 5 being the Linn.

More photos

OTHER NOTES: Plenty of other paddling further up this valley...look at the upper Tummel, Gaur and Garbh Ghaoir.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Kirsten Rendle, Janet Moxley, also Donald McAllister, Dave McCraw and Mike Buckley-Jones.

 

 

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Tummel - Loch Tummel to Loch Faskally -- Easan
2017 Jun 20 03:33:09 PM
CURRENT SITUATION: (June 2017)

The egress that has historically been used at Clunie Power Station will remain closed to vehicles for the remainder of the summer. Egress may still be taken on foot with a walk up the road to a vehicle (responsibly) parked on the public highway.

The small hard standing above the Linn is unaffected by the works undertaken by SSE and they have confirmed that responsible parking at this location does not concern them at this time. This egress route does involve a steep and at times slippery climb.

The recommended egress point is now on the east shore of Loch Faskally, 500m due east of the Clunie site. There is space for some vehicles by the waters edge (NN 91990, 59706), and plenty of further parking available a few hundred metres up the road at the Forestry Commission car park (Loch Dunmore, site of the 'Enchanted Forest' attraction for those who may know it).

In all it will add about 5 mins drive time to the shuttle, and 500m of flat water paddling to your trip.



There is also some concern regarding access at the top of the river, which currently crosses SSE's compound and land. The potential to construct a new footpath to the river avoiding the dam compound is being investigated by the Rafters Association, SSE & the SCA. In the meantime, it is advised to take access discreetly and responsibly, as any clamp down on access in this location by SSE would make access to the top of the river extremely difficult.
Re: River Tummel - Loch Tummel to Loch Faskally -- Kizzie_St-As
2017 May 28 06:28:43 PM
PLEASE NOTE: As of May 2017 there is an ongoing dispute with SSE over access to the car parking around this river. The release season is about to begin, however currently there do not appear to be any provisions for recreational paddlers to park at the take out. The picnic site at Loch Faskally will be closed and locked. It is possible limited parking will be available just above the Linn of Tummel up a very steep path, but this is questionable. If you are stuck, there is a car park at the wrong end of Loch Faskally in Pitlochry (NN 93574 57961) - this will add 3km of flat paddling to your trip unfortunately. I think it's sign posted for the fish ladder. If possible, read up on the Scottish outdoor access code before you go. You are entitled to access the river on foot, but there are no vehicular access rights. I'm sorry we can't be of more help, but hopefully we'll get some answers soon.
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