NAME OF RIVER: Ling

INTRODUCTION: The Ling is a remote Grade 4 (5) river in one of the most beautiful settings. This is a trip perfect for paddlers keen to try hiking in with kit before trying something like the Leven.

WHERE IS IT?: An hour from both Invergarry and Invermoriston, on the road to Skye, makes this river the perfect addition to the famous dam release rivers of Scotland!

PUT-INS/TAKE-OUTS:

From Invermoriston, follow the A87 towards Skye. Just past the stunning Eilean Donan Castle, follow signs for Conchra/Sallachy and turn right down an unnamed road. You will want to drive down this road for a while until grid ref. NG 93026 30661 (57.3194064, -5.4390005). Park the cars in the dirt/gravel just off the road ensuring you leave plenty space for the 4x4 track.

Once cars are parked off the road and you are ready, walk further down the unnamed road till the next left. This is a private road that leads to a farm, however access is welcomed with this road being used a lot by walkers. Follow the private road until you come to a barn like building. You should see a white sign with an arrow saying footpath. Go through the gate, making sure you close it behind you. This path will take you up the Valley. After passing through two more deer fence gates, keep walking keeping an eye on the river. When you see the whitewater end, around 4km up the path (approx NG 94555 32535) start walking (falling) towards the river down a surprisingly steep hill. If you are feeling incredibly brave you could seal launch it... No need to worry about the get out as the get out either at the bridge (if the loch is relatively empty) or right next to the cars (if the loch is full).

APPROX LENGTH: 4km walking, 4km paddling

TIME NEEDED: From leaving the cars, 2-4 hours. All depends how fast you walk and how much water there is!

ACCESS HASSLES: None at time of writing. We even met with the owner of the farm/private road and he seemed to be pleased that people are visiting the beautiful location he treasures. Furthermore, a number of local residents passed us and all of them were incredibly friendly!

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The river was low when nothing else was really running. Rocks below the bridge (slightly further down the unnamed road) were visible and it was 0.65 on the gauge. This would probably be the lowest I’d run it.

At 0.95 on the SEPA gauge, the river is high. The main grade 4 section becomes a big powerful class 5.

GRADING: At low levels an easy grade four with a chossy 5 nearer the end. At high flows, it gets quite full on and is only worth running if you plan on doing the main "Norway section" (grade 5).

MAJOR HAZARD/FALLS: The grade 5+ Falls of Ling, around 2/3 down, is quite an undertaking. Keep an eye on the river right bank and once you see a deer fence with steps over it, get out! You don’t want to run this without at least looking at it. But even then you will more than likely portage!

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: In low water (0.65 on the SEPA gauge) the river starts off with a couple of grade three rapids until you come to the first horizon line. A nice boof on river right is followed by a sweeeet river right rooster tail. Both grade 4. Just around the corner is another grade 4 rapid with another nice boof followed very quickly by another smaller boof. After some more grade 3 comes a easier grade four, which we ran river right, that ends with a nice sticky(ish) hole.

In high water the main 'grade 4' section is absolutely a grade 5, sometimes described as the Norway section. 4 rapids in a walled in canyon with no opportunity for safety due to steep sloping rock slabs down to the river. Even difficult to access by rope due to lack of trees at that part of the canyon rim and very perfect slab features. Running the grade 2 lead in commits you to the rest so don't end up running it blind by accident, especially with water. The first powerful ledge is usually split by a boulder with the most powerful line being on river left and a sneak line on river right. Surging boils lead directly into a 25 foot slide at about 45 degrees into a very large and very nasty towback with a line down the right to avoid the worst of it. Really don't underestimate this rapid in high water, it's pretty powerful and with no safety opportunities being in that towback would be grim. The next 2 drops in the gorge are a doddle compared to the first 2, just don't go for the tempting flair on drop number 3 as you'll land on a rock (speaking from experience now!).

Further grade three follows and the deer fence comes into view. Get out river right before venturing down the Falls of Ling, a chossy grade 5+. There is a nice viewpoint at the end pool in which you can either look in amazement or inspect. It starts with a nice looking river left boof slot rapid which is followed by the main event. You have two options.

Absolutely no clean way down on the left hand channel, a nasty pocket with a probable siphon halfway down and a really nasty fold right on the lip are just part of the problems. Definitely make the effort to scout from river left as it looks surprisingly fine from river right. River right channel is a great way to decapitate yourself in high water if you're into that sort of thing. It might go in low water if you're nuts.

Easier grade 3 and flat water leads you to the get out.

OTHER NOTES: There is no known descent of the Falls of Ling. I have attached another photo that shows the main grade four section in high water.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Connor Rough and Duncan Stewart

If you would like to submit updates, new guides or photos, email ukrgb.scotland AT gmail DOT com

Photo by Connor Rough.

 

Photo by Connor Rough.

 

Photo by Connor Rough.

 

Photo by Connor Rough.

 

Higher water on the main grade 4 section. Photo by Connor Rough.

 

 The grade 5. Photo by Connor Rough.

 

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