('Cresta slabs')

NAME OF RIVER: Allt Fionn Glinnhe - known as 'Cresta slabs'.

WHERE IS IT?: In Glen Etive. Heading south on the A82 from Glencoe and Fort William, it's a minor right turning. It enters the River Etive about 400-500m upstream of a sheep trolley (NN 22508 52358).

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Depends on bottle/ common sense.

APPROX LENGTH: 0m - 500m? depending on bottle/ common sense.

TIME NEEDED: We walked about 15 or 20 minutes up to the start of the less steep bit, and spent a good while getting down again!

ACCESS HASSLES: Glen Etive is very open at this point. You will need to ferry across the River Etive before dragging your boat up to the slabs.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The middle River Etive was about medium when we did this, the slabs had fairly little water running over them, but this was a good thing!

GRADING: Stupid.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: All of it, especially the lack of deep pools to crash into.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: You will notice the wide rock slabs on the hill on your left as you drive down the River Etive. You will see everything as you walk up (the bottom couple of hundred metres is not runnable at the level we had, presumable if it was the rest wouldn't be!) so no point describing!

Apparently there is more upstream of where we started but it is steep! We actually started about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the big slab you see from the road, where the gradient changes (there is a small tree river(?) left). Sliding down is harder than it looks, but be careful not to get up too much speed because there are a few drops (and it is never more than 6" deep). High wear on paddles - but probably better than trapping your fingers.

OTHER NOTES: Story (if I remember it right): Chris Dickinson looked at the slabs several years ago, and mentioned it to some guys in the pub (Andy Jackson et al?). They misunderstood and thought he'd RUN the slabs, so got a video camera and did them again - but actually for the first time (probably). There exists a video ('Total Destruction' or something) with the slabs on, but I haven't seen it. As far as we know we are the second bunch of people to run them (several years after the first descent). So thanks to Chris for convincing us to follow him up the mountain with our boats yesterday (and for fooling the previous idiots to run it)!

The following photos are from a recent run (Feb 2018), just to prove that people still 'paddle' this!

Paddler: Jessica Leggatt, Photo: Mollie Cooper


Paddler: Jessica Leggatt, Photo: Mollie Cooper


Paddler: Jessica Philip, Photo: Mollie Cooper

Paddler: Mollie Cooper, Photo: Jessica Philip

TOP TIP: Keep driving down to the Middle River Etive!

Jason Smith (June 2003)...'I think they were run for the first and only time by Chris (Jesus) Gould, Big Al Collis and Andy (The Gland) England after, as you mentioned, a confusing conversation with Big Andy and Paul Currant, it was immortalised in the cult home movie - Paddle to Destruction. The Dominator Slabs are a different run that are featured in the SCA guide book. The Slabs in question were named the Cresta run (same as the run in Wales). If you did run these slabs then hats of to you as you are only the second ones down and one of the last three badly damaged his back! Big Andy Jackson could probably shed more light on it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Jim Wallis (did not paddle), also Jason Smith.

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