GUIDE TO THE RIVER ETIVE
(Dalness Falls to Loch Etive)
NAME OF RIVER: Etive.
WHERE IS IT?: In Glen Etive. Heading south on the A82 from Glencoe and Fort William, it's a minor right turning.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in below Dalness falls across a field where the river passes nearby the road. It is possible to paddle all of the way down to Loch Etive, although this involves a lengthy paddle out. Alternatively you can park the car further up-river and hike across land.
APPROX LENGTH: 2/3 (4) miles.
TIME NEEDED: 2-3 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Paddling is restricted between May and November due to the fishing season. However, there is rarely enough water to paddle this section during the summer anyway.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: One short rapid graded at 4+ with two tricky holes in quick succession.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This section is in stark contrast to the middle section of the Etive, where things happen at a much more leisurely pace. Fun surf waves and small holes frequent the first couple of miles of this section before you arrive quite unexpectedly at a short grade 4 section. However, as it is the only part of this section where the river disappears from view it should be easy to spot. Access to the fall is easy for protection and a swim should be short and reasonably safe. Ran this a couple of years ago when the middle section was looking more serious than I wanted it to. We didn't read the guidebook properly and found the G4 (or maybe its 4+ or 5- at the level) when we observed the people in dancers ahead of us backlooping and swimming!
Several sticky holes precede this rapid across the river before the river disappears around a corner where the water is funnelled down a channel on river left. The main fall consists of two short drops in quick succession, which can be run through the guts in relative ease depending upon experience and length of boat.
Once past this section the river eases up and the rapids become more infrequent while the flat stretches grow longer and more frequent. It is worth noting that there is a lengthy paddle out on this section and adverse weather conditions should be taken into account eg. snow, hail etc.
This is an excellent beginner/ intermediate section although there is a hidden bonus for experienced paddlers...
OTHER NOTES: With enough water to paddle this, you might want to also consider the Upper Etive.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Kris Waring and Jim Wallis.