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Thread: Isla, River

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Blairgowrie, east Perthshire
    Posts
    485

    Default Isla, River

    The lower part of the River Isla flows southwest through Strathmore, passing the historic villages of Meigle and Coupar Angus and joining the Tay near Kinclaven. The Dean Water and the Ericht are major tributaries. Although the Isla is generally an easy river, both it and the Ericht have catchment areas in the mountains; levels can rise very quickly after heavy rain or a rapid thaw of snow (as much as 3 ft in a few hours). This note describes the Isla downstream from the confluence with the Dean Water, for water levels of 0.5m or less (http://www.sepa.org.uk/water/river_l...evel_data.aspx).

    There is easy access at four bridges dividing the river into three sections totalling 23 km. The Isla and Ericht are important salmon-spawning rivers. Though neither is fished as intensively as the Tay, fishermen are around from 15 Jan-15 Oct. The Isla flows through agricultural land with levees for flood protection, however there are surprisingly good distant views. The SCA Touring Guide says the lower part is much used for instruction but in four boat trips and many walks I’ve never seen another canoe.

    At Bridge of Craithies (279455) there is a good layby on the N side of the road just N of the bridge. A sandy beach just downstream of the bridge allows plenty of room for launching into a slow flow. You will soon be whisked away into 4 km of narrow winding river with a fast current (up to 5 km/hr) and a lot of trees semi-collapsed into the water. In places there is only a few feet of gap to squeeze the boat through. Good fun on a nice day and plenty of birdlife, but at high water levels there would be danger of strainers. The river widens and straightens out for the last 2 km to the bridge at Boat of Bardmony, 242447. Parking is awkward here with a few slightly wider places in the road south of the bridge; boats must be lifted over a wire fence. There is a good sandy beach just upstream of the bridge, in almost slack water.

    The next 3 km to the confluence with the Ericht includes a meander so tight the river actually flows northeast for a short distance, giving an unexpected view. There is usually more water coming down the Ericht than the Isla, so keep river right at the confluence to get in the main flow. You may find a few small waves at this point. It is possible to land in the lee of a tiny island, river left; the road access here is private farm/fishing, but one could portage up the lane to the main road. The 5 km down to Bridge of Couttie is straightforward; a few small obstructions such as the remains of fishing weirs are all easily seen and avoided.

    Couttie Bridge near Coupar Angus (211408) is a very fine stone construction. One can launch almost underneath it, however the layby on the south, upstream side of the road is not recommended. There is a large layby on the S side of the road at 214405 (by the new sewage works), a stile over the wire fence opposite, and an easy carry over grass to the river bank. It is a further 9 km down to the Tay, the river being now quite wide and open with longer straight reaches. There are three small wooded islands, and one grade 1 rapid at Broomy Knowe. The landing at Bridge of Isla (163382) is on the right bank almost under the bridge. At present (May 2009) the right-hand arch is blocked by a tree, so go through the second-right arch and turn immediately. Road access is an SCA access point; turn off the A93 on to the Kinclaven/Stanley road and left through a gate into a grass field (sign “Canoeists please shut gate”).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Blairgowrie, east Perthshire
    Posts
    485

    Default Update on Bridge of Isla/Kinclaven take-out

    The SCA reports that the field at Kinclaven is no longer available for car parking, on account of "a change of use by the farmer". The field has been a morass all winter. Sadly the nearest car parking is in the layby at the Meikleour beech hedge, which is a 400m carry/trolley from the river across the rutted field and along a scruffy grass verge. Take care crossing the Kinclaven road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Blairgowrie, east Perthshire
    Posts
    485

    Default Another update on the Isla

    Unfortunately another obstacle has appeared, this time at Boat of Bardmony. The sandy beach just upstream of the bridge borders a field grazed by cattle and to keep them out of the river the farmer has erected a single strand of barbed wire on posts. You can easily push a boat under the wire at low water levels, but it will be more of a hazard when the river rises in the winter.

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