GUIDE TO THE RIVER GLOY
NAME OF RIVER: Gloy.
WHERE IS IT?: Glen Gloy. Head north from Fort William on the A82. The Glen is a minor right turn several miles after Spean Bridge.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in at the end of the Glen Road. Or consider walking further up the valley; but I don't know anything about this stretch...Take out either at Glenfintaig Lodge (first bridge) or New Bridge (second bridge). Offers a Grade 3 or Grade 4 trip respectively.
APPROX LENGTH: 4 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Apparently paddlers are unwelcome below New Bridge, not that the trip described here goes that far. This river is NOT suitable for large groups...like for instance, the minibus loads of students which clogged every narrow rapid when we were last there.
Additional comments from Stew Rogers...'Access on the Gloy can be an issue with the landowner during lambing season and is best described as sensitive. Currently the lower section still contains 3 trees across the river. Below New Bridge there is a section of grade 3 water ending in a very nasty rapid/ sump. This section is not advisable. This is pretty up to date as I live at the putin/ takeout at Glenfintaig bridge.'
Update on 29th November 1999, from Charlie Wood...'We were met at the top of Glen Gloy on Sunday morning by the local farmer who, while friendly enough, complained that no one ever contacted him to seek permission to paddle. We explained that we were unaware that we should do so.
He asked that people intending to paddle the river phone him first as a courtesy. He is concerned that in bad weather, particularly windy with sleet or snow, his sheep and cattle seek shelter among the trees along the river bank and then are frightened, enough to harm themselves by passing kayakers. He is also concerned about problems caused by large groups using the river, though he gave no examples.
He said he had no intention of stopping access, but if people continued to paddle without seeking permission first, he would have no choice but to turn people back from the Glen. He pointed out that this glen is his business and times are hard for hill farmers at the moment. He asked that I pass on this message and so here it is, to the best of my memory.
His name is Mr. Mcleod of Glen Gloy Estates. Phone 01397 712668.
It's always a good idea to keep traffic to a minimum and not flood the turning area at the top with parked cars. There is a large car park next to a restaurant (closed most of the winter so using shouldn't be a problem) about 20 metres south of the Glen Gloy turning and only 100 metres from the takeout at Glenfintaig. It might be a good idea to use this where possible if using the first takeout.'
Pete Cornes has been there more recently...'Just a brief note explaining our experiences on the river Gloy, on 28th January 2000. As we got off the Gloy, a car pulled up with a farmer in it. We explained that we were just leaving and that we had run the river, and also that we had rung to ask him about access before we got on, leaving an answerphone message. He expressed concern that it was blowing a gale with heavy hail, and that our running the river was a potential source of danger for his livestock. Livestock tend, in poor weather, to take shelter in the river valley and may, understandably, be startled by a group of kayakers coming round the corner. This can lead to livestock panicking and injuring themselves. He asks that paddlers keep off the river if it is raining heavily or the weather is poor, but also said that he does like to see people enjoying the river. I know that it is difficult to find an occasion to run a spate river in reasonable weather, but please do exercise some common sense and try not to upset the landowners. Above all, PHONE MR McLEOD AND ASK ABOUT ACCESS!'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This needs plenty of rain. Probably the more the better but I've only done it at bank full medium levels.
GRADING: 3 and 4.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Quite narrow. Trees (see access section).
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A pleasant and enjoyably continuous river. The main concern for the less experienced is that it's fairly narrow and fast flowing. From the start, grade 3 water leads downhill in a surprisingly direct line! One or two rapids have small horizon lines but there is little to worry about. The map shows a weir but I honestly can't recall seeing one...anyone want to enlighten me? The only notable drop above the first bridge is a narrow fall into a pool with tree branches blocking one side...grade 3+. This provided our group with a couple of backloops. After you reach Glenfintaig Lodge (first bridge) the river's banks close in and there is a scenic gorge with some sections that you can only boat-scout. This was grade 4- in medium levels, very enjoyable but with nothing really hard lurking around. When you see the second bridge, get out ABOVE it. I haven't paddled below the bridge, but read Stew Rogers' comments above in the access section.
OTHER NOTES: Not to be confused with a well-known brand of glue. Anybody been upstream of this trip?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark R, Stew Rogers, Charlie Wood and Pete Cornes.