NAME OF RIVER: Allt Rugaidh Mhor
WHERE IS IT?: The Allt Rugaidh Mhor is a small, remote stream in the middle of absolutely nowhere which drops steeply into the Oykel about ¼ the way down the usually paddled section. Consisting of basically nothing but slabby bedrock slides, the whitewater is of surprisingly high quality despite the river’s small size, making it an excellent addition to a run down the Oykel.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The only realistic way to do this run is to paddle the Oykel and hike up from where the Allt Rugaidh Mhor joins (NC 34131 06093). There is a nice big eddy and a small bridge over the trib to point it out for you. Shoulder your boats and hike up river right until you get tired or see something you don’t like!
APPROX LENGTH: As far as you want
TIME NEEDED: As long as you can be bothered to hike up!
ACCESS HASSLES: This is meant to be a popular fishing destination but if you meet anyone besides yourself out here in the conditions you are likely to be in then they will probably just be happy to have someone to talk to rather than yell at you. Or maybe they’re an axe murderer and you are about to star in “the hills have eyes 3”– it is the wilderness after all.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: A small river with a steep catchment, this river needs lots of water and drops quickly, but if the Oykel is running at a good level (i.e. at least very high on the gauge) then this burn should be too. From the eddy where the stream joins the Oykel it should be fairly obvious if it’s running.
GRADING: 4 – the last drop is maybe 4+
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The very last drop before it joins the oykel is a bit choss and some may wish to portage – don’t let this put you off the rest of the run!
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Not much to say really other than “look at this shiny picture of lovely grade 4 rapids!”. It’s really what you see is what you get, and it’s all inspectable on the way up. We were short on time so only paddled the last few hundred metres, but satellite images show at least 2 km of good stuff before it flattens out again – see how far you can hike and let us know what you find!
OTHER NOTES: Maybe check out the Allt Rugaidh Bheag which joins a bit further downstream – it’s a bit smaller than the Allt Rugaidh Mhor but should still go with enough water – take pictures if you do!
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jon Harwell
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Jonny Hawkins on the main grade 4 section, photo by Jen Hartnett.
Alison Galloway on the main grade 4 section, photo by Jen Hartnett.
Jon Harwell on the final grade 4 chossy rapid, photo by Jen Hartnett.