GUIDE TO THE CUILEIG RIVER
(Lower waterfall section)
NAME OF RIVER: Cuileig River (Bottom Half of the Bottom Section).
WHERE IS IT?: North West Scotland, 12 miles South of Ullapool on the A832. OS Sheet 20. Tributary to the River Broom.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Turn off the A835 at Braemore Junction take the A832 towards Gairloch. Follow this road until it crosses the Cuileig River about 2 miles after the junction. Check the level under the bridge.
The easiest access to the river is from a forestry/ hydro track leading down to the river, this is about half a mile back towards Braemore Junction. Walk down the track heading to the right until you reach the hydro outlet. Then follow on up the river right for about 500m until you reach the topmost of the three main falls. Put-In just around the corner, above the fall on river right.
It is easiest to take out once the Cuileig has joined the River Broom. Drive back towards Ullapool on the A835 you can see the river from the road. If the level is high enough you should be able to paddle down until an old steel suspension bridge crosses the river, there is a Forestry Gardens car park opposite. If the level is low then try to find somewhere higher up river paddling wont work.
APPROX LENGTH: 500m.
TIME NEEDED: 3 hours including the walk.
ACCESS HASSLES: None make sure you know your rights under the Scottish Land Reform Act.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The falls in this section can all be run in pretty low conditions. If it looks barely navigable under the bridge at the road then it should be passable. If dam/weir is overflowing and there are no rocks showing then it's high.
GRADING: Totally dependant on levels - 4 to 5.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Take a scout on the walk up.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Cuileig is listed in the SCA Guide book, its divided into two sections. These instructions are for the bottom half of the Bottom section. The upper section is good fun and we have run it a couple of times, it can also be run in pretty low water. The rest of the lower section, above these three falls is even more severe than the Top. I really wouldn't go in high water really.
This section is much more accessible due to the fact it's out of the gorge. Really its the best bit on the Cuileig three falls of around 3m in short succession. Good fun in low water, challenging and good fun in high.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Sam Planterose, Alasdair Boyce and Matthew Dawson.
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Tom Hodge on the first of the brilliant lower falls (low water). Photo by Duncan Stewart.
Seori Ormiston on the last fall (low water). Photo by Duncan Stewart.