GUIDE TO THE RIVER KINGLAS
(Rest and Be Thankfull pass to Loch Fyne)
NAME OF RIVER: Kinglas.
WHERE IS IT?: Argyll. Drains the Arrochar Alps into Loch Fyne. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Follow the A82 out of Glasgow to Tarbet. At Tarbet you continue onto the A83 which requires you to keep going! (to stay on the A82 you would turn right). Follow the Road through Arrochar and round the top of Loch Long, and then over the 'Rest and Be Thankfull' pass. At the top of the pass there is a big car park which usually has a burger van in (breakfast stop), as you continue down the other side the stream on the left is half of the river! As you reach the bottom of the hill the road sweeps round in a big left hander and there is an old bridge isolated in the middle of the bend. The confluence of 2 streams is between the new road and old bridge, so stop in the rough layby and look at the level. If the water covers all the rocks under the bridge, there is enough water to get on here, If there is a lot of water here the river will be quite hard and you should look at it further down or consider only running it to the next put in! If there is almost enough water to cover the rocks it may be runnable from a lower put-in, about a mile down the road there is a layby on the left, and a short walk accross a field(?) takes you to the river - put in wherever you like, it's all much the same!
Take out (in really big water it may be advisable to get out at the second put in described above) is at or just beyond Cairndow on Loch Fyne - we use the bus stop by the southern approach to Cairndow. It is possible to take the first left, cross the river (in a tunnel) and then right into a Private road and drive along the lower half of the river - will allow you to view the weir in advance - and then through the village to the bus stop.
Put-in NN2342409550 and Take-out at NN1813910986.
APPROX LENGTH: 5 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 2 or 3 hours I guess.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown. there is a path to the bridge at the top, and you finish on the shore of the Loch, but in between you are amongst private land. Rarely run so no problem exists, it's a beautiful place so treat it well! See also the SCA notes on Access.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Old bridge by the A83 at the foot of the 'Rest and be Thankful', if rocks are almost covered try the shorter trip, if covered get on here, if really pumping try the really short trip! This river requires a lot of rain, or snowmelt, and is considered a Myth by some of locals who have never caught it running! If there is actually quite a lot of rocks showing at the bridge go and look at the Rivers Falloch or Orchy!
GRADING: 4 Continuous - 1 break in 5 miles! (5,6)(1)
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There are a few tight rapids to look out for not to mention a grade 6 and a grade 5. If you can't see the line look from the bank, you won't miss the 6 this way!, the 5 is just above a footbridge and the 6 isn't too far upstream from that if you want to check them first. If I recall correctly the 6 is about where banks become tree lined.
Weir in the lower part of the river is runnable but very blocky - looks like a vertical pin waiting to happen, but usually runs OK just left of a dry rib towards the right hand side.
Tunnel - quite a long one with a bend in the middle, you can see the pourovers before you enter it though! There is little chance to get out immediately before this (if you run the last rapid you are committed) but it goes OK.
Loch Fyne - you have to paddle onto the Loch and then a short way along it which in most playboats is more deadly than the river itself!!!.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Generally Grade 4, maybe some 4+, if these are a major hazard in your eyes then this isn't your river! Good Gradient, starts in open moorland, with occasional mini gorges, then runs into the woods and more of a gorge. Much boat scouting, some bank scouting, a portage or 2. Some interesting constrictions, slots and a tunnel make it good fun.
Andy Sime paddled the river also (27/2/00)...'Suffice to say, there were 11 of us on it, 3 of whom didn't finish the whole trip, of varying standards and experience, and every single person loved it, and no-one swam. If you haven't paddled this river then you are missing possibly the best alpine-style river in Scotland. The levels are irrelevant as long as there is enough to get you down the first bit. There was a serious amount of water about yesterday, but the road follows the river all the way to the sea, so people can get off whenever they have had enough. Also, the grades increase the further you go, so no-one should be unexpectedly landed in anything they don't want to run. The biggest attraction about this river though is it's character. There's no need for a rapid-by-rapid description, as the descent is continuous from 1/4 mile in, and is beautifully interspersed with loads of good drops, none serious. You only need to start thinking about getting out for a look, when you are about level with the stone shed next to the road on your right where there is an ugly constriction. About 500 yards later there is the grade 6 (with sump at lower levels) which Jim described. In higher flows the chicken chute (bloody brave chicken!) down the right goes well. After that there are a couple of hazards to keep an eye out for before the tunnel, after which there is nothing to bother you apart from loads of great rapids all the way to the sea. On one flat bit just before the weir there is a river-wide tree (as of yesterday at least), but no other problems. 4-5 miles of pure bliss!'
Paul Steel adds (April 2002)...'there is no way that there is a grade six on this river. The drop I refer to is a grade 5 at the absolute max even in high water. You can protect the entire section and it is an easy line that allows a degree of error. It is very easy to miss the sump. It is just a matter of boofing the drop to its river left and sliding down the slab then blasting on down the gorge after it. It is a serious rapid but it is definitely not a grade six, to say so is misleading I think.
Just to add to that, the first day I was there it was fairly low. Jamie Wright and myself ran it happily. Then others that were with us that day also ran it successfully. Jamie and I have since ran it in high water and the drop is no different in fact it is smaller but the line is just the same. '
OTHER NOTES: A landslide blocking the road to the river over Christmas '99 was quickly cleared away.
Paul Evans contributed this...(Feb 2005) I think the river made an impression on him, his commetns are worth enjoying unedited...'id just like to say this river should be in extreme hard whitewater. we caught it when it was in massive flood last year and is certinly no myth,it is a serious grade 5/6 all the way down and very steep with no break at all this river should only be attempted if you are a serious creeker or a complete loon, especially the gorge section you can get away with the top section as long as you know where the footbridge is half way down this will probably kill you if you make a mistake as there is virtually no eddys to get out at this level, so inspect it before you paddle,we didnt!. massive holes, massive waves ,massive fun! but bring a spare pair of boxers,this river will get the adrenilin pumping overtime! guaranteed to come off with a smile on your face or in a body bag.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jim Wallis, also Paul Steel, Paul Evans and Andy Sime.