GUIDE TO THE RIVER ROY
(Lower section: Access Track to Roybridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Roy.
WHERE IS IT?: Unsurprisingly, up Glen Roy...a tributary of the Spean valley near Fort William.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: If you don't want to start on the Roy Gorge, access for this grade 3 trip is the track leading from the road a few miles up the valley down to an old bridge. Park at a view point marked by a non-descript boulder and the track runs down from here (NN 29820 85331).
The usual take out is just downstream of the rail bridge, after an obvious grade 3 rapid. Walk up a short path on river left to the road (NN 27031 81058). There is a small lay by here with limited parking - additional parking can be found in the village center beside the road bridge. To find the layby from the main road, take the minor road beside the pub and park on the left just after you pass under the rail bridge.
Another option is to carry on down into the middle section of the River Spean.
David Lloyd (Dec 2005)...'Why bother with the heart-attack egress at the bottom of the Roy Gorge section when the lower Roy takes about 30mins to paddle down to the nice egress at Roy Bridge?'
APPROX LENGTH: 5km
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours
ACCESS HASSLES: The river is in a National Nature Reserve. So killing and eating the wildlife is probably out.
'I'm the local Area Officer for Scottish Natural Heritage, and we own the National Nature Reserve in Glen Roy. I would like to confirm that there is no problem at all with access to the River through the NNR. The southern boundary of the NNR lies at the viewpoint in the Glen, and the northern boundary lies just slightly short of the end of the public road in the Glen. The River Roy forms the eastern boundary. Ground north of the NNR is owned by Braeroy Estate, and ground south of the NNR is owned by Forest Enterprise. The crofters do ask that car drivers drive carefully in the Glen during the lambing season, as there have been one or two problems in the past.' - Best wishes, Debbie Greene Area Officer, East Lochaber.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: At Roybridge, if you can see a rocky reef uncovered in the river to your left looking upstream, it will be low. If it's completely covered, the river is high and continuous grade 3.
The quartz band on river left just below the bridge on the upstream side should ideally be in the water for a good level.
GRADING: Grade 2/3.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees should be watched out for.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This makes a great trip for the intermediate paddler, with straightforward rapids of Grade 2 and 3. Shortly after the first rapid, you see the Allt Glas Dhoire come in from the left.
The valley opens out and the rapids flow over boulders with few real hazards to avoid. After about a couple of miles, the Allt Ionndrainn enters from the right, a possible short paddle when you've finished?
Not long after, rodeo paddlers will no doubt spot a tempting 'splat' wall on the right which works well in high water. Roybridge comes into view, and it's almost over. One last rapid awaits, a good grade 3, just before the railway bridge. This rapid has been blocked by trees in the past so it is worth sending a scout down a couple of eddies to check, or scouting it quickly from the road while running the shuttle.
OTHER NOTES: In high levels, a superb intermediate trip.
Continuous grade 3/3+ big big water in flood - we ran all 5km in 20 minutes, including dealing with a swimmer at the start whose boat we finally rescued at the Spean confluence!
CONTRIBUTED BY: Kirsten Rendle, Mark Rainsley, also Debbie Greene and David Lloyd.
Forgot to remove the sign from the tree though - doh!
We didn't see a boom under the road bridge and decided to get out there (steep bank) instead of continuing under the rail bridge to the last rapid - does anyone know if there really is a boom somewhere downstream or is the sign out of date or perhaps malevolent?
If river levels play ball a Roy into middle Spean trip could be on the cards in the next few weeks so it would be good to know!