GUIDE TO THE RIVER LOCHY
NAME OF RIVER: Lochy.
WHERE IS IT?: Near Fort William. It drains the Great Glen and flows towards the sea (Loch Linnhe) at Fort William.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put-in is possible at Gairlochy. Take out behind the BP petrol station by the bridge to Corpach. There is a nice sandy landing here, and the Bridge, Petrol station and Distillery should make for sufficient landmarks for paddlers and shuttle drivers! Alternatively, finish your trip in Fort William when the water turns salty. Near the Aluminium Plant wave (see below) is a possibility.
APPROX LENGTH: 9 miles from Gairlochy, 5 miles from the River Loy confluence.
TIME NEEDED: Unknown.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown, but see also the SCA notes on Access.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Unknown.
GRADING: Grade 1 and 2.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Unknown.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Lochy has no real rapids, only quicker braided/ shingle sections.
This is a good relatively easy section with interest for playboaters in high water. Amongst the flat water are some wonderfully powerful rapids with big boils and surges and some play potential (if you don't bottle the whirlies).
As you enter Fort William, look out for the Aluminium Plant play wave, where a fast jet of water enters on river left giving a surf wave at some tidal levels. It's possible to just paddle here, although heaven knows why you'd want to unless it's midsummer and all else is dry in Scotland.
OTHER NOTES: Ron Cameron (June 2005)...'A canadian paddling couple staying in one of our holiday cottages in Banavie recently sailed their canadian up to Gairlochy on the canal, portaged over to the river and returned by paddling downstream. This therefore makes a touring circuit for those that like that sort of thing.
The rapid in the second picture of the lochy (features a canadian) is called Eas nan Long which translates as the waterfall of the ships! (Eas pronouced Ess means waterfall) It was the site of a mass drowning of commandos during WW2; rumoured that 12 were drowned when their barge broke up in spate conditions. My father's cousin drowned there poaching salmon. Bouyancy aids cant come too highly recommended.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Jim Wallis, also Ron Cameron and Mark Rainsley.