GUIDE TO THE AN T-SUILEAG (FASSFERN)
(NN 023803 to Loch Eil)
NAME OF RIVER: An t-Suileag. Paddlers commonly call it the 'Fassfern', given that this hamlet in the river is easier to pronounce.
WHERE IS IT?: Flows down a wild glen to the A380, west of Fort William. Drains the other side of the hill from the Loy.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Park at the bridge in Fassfern village (NN 021789) and carry your boat up the track on the river left bank. Shortly after you pass a bridge over the river (stay on RL), you'l see a steep grade 5 fall...put in either below or a hundred metres above (NN 023803). The walk is 20-30 mins max.
Finish in Fassfern or paddle down to Loch Eil.
APPROX LENGTH: 2.5 km.
TIME NEEDED: 1-2 hours including walk-in.
ACCESS HASSLES: None known.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: It needs to have hooned down very recently. This bedrock river rises and falls very quickly.
Check the river at the road bridge in Fassfern. All the stones/ rocks in the riverbed should be covered.
GRADING: 4 (5).
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: None.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The grade 5 is a short and sharp waterfall with some technical moves directly below. We launched about 100m metres upstream and enjoyed some fast steep grade 4+ slides on the lead-in.
Below the waterfall are a series of great grade 3 and 4 rapids consisting of long bedrock slides.
The long stepped rapid after the bridge in Fassfern has a sticky ledge on river left and would be quite full-on at higher levels. This is the last of the whitewater; either walk back up to the bridge on river left, or continue down to Loch Eil for completeness. In autumn 2012 there was a fallen tree to negotiate near the end.
If you paddle to Loch Eil, cross the railway track back to the A380 carefully!
OTHER NOTES: There is clearly much more good stuff upstream of this put-in...anyone done it?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.