GUIDE TO THE RIVER CALDER
NAME OF RIVER: River Calder.
WHERE IS IT? Flows into the Spey at Newtonmore. Strangely, the valley it flows down is called Glen Banchor.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Driving into Newtonmore from the south, first left after Spean Rd junction (Newtonmore Hostel on corner). Follow Old Glen Rd and then Glen Rd to the road head at Shepherds Bridge. Put in at the confluence of this tributary and the River Calder. Take out at A86 bridge.
APPROX LENGTH: 2 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 1 hour including inspection.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If its paddleable at the A86 bridge the river will be up, we paddled it after a night of drizzle and showers. The River Calder drains a large mountain area and can rise and fall very quickly.
GRADING: First half 2 but the gorge is 5 at bank full. The gorge is easier at lower levels but then the rest of the river will be too low.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The gorge!
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: First bouncy Grade 2 with a surprising amount of water gives continuous waves and small stoppers but few large eddies.The river noticeable steepens and narrows and you come to the 300m gorge. It's probable best to scout the section before paddling (about 1km above the A86 bridge on a good footpath river left - known locally as the 'Calder Braes'). A 2m drop (Jimskies Jump) is followed by a narrow constriction with a retentive stopper in high water (Craig's Crack), then a gnarly drop (The Love Machine) with sumps below (chest size 38"). One final drop and then the river comes on at grade 2 to get out.
OTHER NOTES: A really pleasant blast but watch the gorge. Accommodation at Newtonmore Hostel, owners will help with transport and are keen to take photos of anyone paddling the gorge. So contact them if you want some pictures (01540 673360).
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jim Krowiecki, Craig Galashan, Martin Love, Jon Potter, Ian Pudge (Manchester Disunited Polo Team), Dominic Sermanni.
These nice folk provided the info and photos...