GUIDE TO THE RIVER CARRON
(Loch Sgamhain to Loch Dughail)
NAME OF RIVER: Carron.
WHERE IS IT?:In Strathcarron...flows west into Loch Carron. NW Scotland 30 miles W of Inverness. Map.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in at Loch Sgamhain or ALLT COIRE CRUBALDH road bridge GR 0952 on OS Landranger 25.
Take out at Loch Dughail.
APPROX LENGTH: 10 km.
TIME NEEDED: 2-5 hours depending on water level and length of portages.
ACCESS HASSLES: No problems, never heard of anyone paddling it.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: You can see into river from road at GR 070.515 approx and gauge the level.
GRADING: 3 - but some classic continuous 3, not just the odd bit. Some grade 4, maybe some 5.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: An unexpected class 4 under the second footbridge.
Two inescapable gorges that keep you on edge - dont't enter unless you have checked that you can get out if you need to.
One class 4 (in the first gorge) leading to - don't know (you can't see from the river or 15m gorge top - didn't paddle it)!
Without the two tree blocks (one in each gorge), presuming the first gorge goes after the class 4 section, this would be a classic class 3/ 4 trip always keeping you on your toes and guessing what is around the next corner...anyone got a chain saw?
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Starts off grade 1-2 (under first footbridge) until you go under a high fence wire then 3, almost immediately the second footbridge with fall (class 4, maybe 5 in high water). Right is horrible bubbleosity and the recirculating middle seems afine chute through the worst.
Then, 2 km continuous 3 with bends to keep you on your toes until a right bend. Portage a messy boily rock block with added tree protecting the mess.
More swift 3 until start of gorge....CAUTION FIRST GORGE. Get out here. Class 4 for 60m leads round a blind corner with who knows what - (dinosaur needed - long neck no brain.) It is not possible to see the next 100m as it's in a 15m deep gorge with thick rhododendrons. The gorge passes under a railway bridge and is then blocked by a big tree (1/1/04). It was not possible to pass this. Then 3 to the end of the gorge - in all a 500m portage.
After only 200m...CAUTION SECOND GORGE. Class 3 leads to a very frothy slot (4?5?6?X?) followed by another tree blocking the river. You could possibly abseil back into the river but - it is bank to bank full, runs fast and has no land to land on, so abseiling in your boat might be the only option! Portage on the right until you can get back in. We could not see all the section of this gorge, but it looked like a fast class 3. Note - 200 fine if you're caught on the railway track, the easiest portage.
From where you can get back in, class 3 to forestry bridge at GR 049.494 after 300m. River doubles in volume, then class 3 then 2 over braided sections until the end.
OTHER NOTES: From the start of the class 3 to the forestry bridge, the river drops 90 m in about 3 km, gradient 30m/ km, but theriver has no flat sections so the rapids are continuous.
Not to be confused with the other Carron.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mike Hayward. Paddled with Pete Ellwood and Gareth Walker, 1/4/04.