GUIDE TO THE RIVER ALLADALE
NAME OF RIVER: Alladale.
WHERE IS IT?:The River Carron flows into the Dornoch Firth at Bonar Bridge North of Inverness. The section described here is a tributary of the Carron called the Alladale. It is a tight testing section of water in a fantastic wooded gorge. This map shows the entire section.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Drive up the glen to where the road splits off to Glen Calvie Lodge and park the car in the layby just past the junction heading towards Alladale Lodge
(http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=246400Y=889130A=YZ=3). The road beyond here is private and you should hike up it to avoid any aggravation. Walk up the road until both it and the river flattens off. This is the top of the gorge section. If you get as far as where the river splits in two you have gone too far.
APPROX LENGTH: 2 km.
TIME NEEDED: 1-2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: There has been a bit of previous with the landowner at Alladale Lodge, but recently there have been new 'friendly' signs put up for walkers which suggests that things may not be so bad now. Certainly we had no problems.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If you can float easily down the section at the get out this section should go. However, the gorge is very steep and confined in sections and would not be suited to a high water run without previous knowledge of the river.
GRADING: 4 with one definite portage.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There is one large paddleable fall halfway down the gorge which is worth watching out for. Otherwise everything is easily inspected and protected until you reach a massive cataract where the river drops about 40 metres through a crack just about boat width. This is absolutely spectacular and worth a visit on its own. Indeed, a viewing platform has been constructed on the right bank which will help paddlers spot when to get out. In very high water it may be extremely difficult to get out before this, but at normal levels it is easy to spot and portage on the right. If in doubt have a look on the way up. There is a signpost pointing out the path to the falls.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a tight twisty gorge with a couple of harder drops which will get the adrenaline pumping without ever feeling over committing or dangerous. The river is very similar in style to the Meig, but the gorge is far less confined and inspection and portaging are generally easy. In high flows, this would become very continuous and eddies would become either tree clogged or non-existant.
OTHER NOTES: This section combines perfectly with a run down the Upper or Middle Carron to make a full day's paddle. Also, if you take a look at the map you will see that there are at least three other tributaries of the Carron in the immediate vicinity which I believe have all been run.
This is ideal exploratory paddling territory so get out there and explore.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Kris Waring.