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Thread: Loch Ba to Dunkeld

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Aberfoyle, Stirling

    Default Loch Ba to Dunkeld

    Day 1 - Thursday 25th August

    Numbers dwindled and on the day, just Dave and I met in Dunkeld, to shuttle back across to the A82. Much faffing was done and we finally put on around noon. Water levels were low in the lochs, and the Garbh Gaur proved to be as rough as the name suggests. We scraped our way down, me leaving red novacraft sp3 flakes on the rocks with Dave leaving green bits of dagger royalex from his well used reflection. Lots of jumping out to drag over bits of what would have been lovely wee rapids with about 4" more water. Across to the Dam, portaging right and a few hundred metres down, through the gates (unlocked) and on to the Gaur, with midges aplenty at the get in.

    Last time on the Gaur (in my k****k) river levels had been a good foot higher. This time, more shallow rapids with bits of wading, until the road appears on the left. A drag left around what was a lovely class 4 last time, but this time was a definite portage and down to Bridge of Gaur. Bumped into a very well behaved group of children out in a canoe on the flat bit at the end. Really great to see kids out messing about on the river, without being overtly organised and supervised.

    Pasta at the end of Loch Rannoch just as it got dark. Sensible people would have stopped to camp, but never having been that way, we pressed on to Kinloch Rannoch, getting there around midnight. Having been warm enough paddling along, we both cooled down really quickly whilst putting the tent up.

    Day 2 - 26th August

    Up around 9, with a stiff back and a few small blisters on the fingers. Having spent most of July sea kayaking, I'd have thought my hands would have stood up to 12 hours paddling, but it seems that open boating must rub different bits! Around a little barrage (on the left if I'm remembering this correctly) and finally onto some water that actually not only flows but is deep enough to put the paddle into properly, which brings us quickly on to Dunalasdair water. There were a few boats out fishing on Dunalasdair water, and soon we made it to the next dam, landing on the left. Dragging rather than carrying to portage this one, adding to the scratches on the bottom of the boat. It's worth having a scout round here to avoid putting on too early after the dam. Pleasant rapids take you to a shorbut energetic portage as the river drops round a right-left dogleg. We portaged another ramp style rapid on this section on the right. We both thought it had swamping written all over it. The last rapid before loch was lovely 2/3. To my mind, the nicest on the river excepting the lower Tummel.

    More plodding across loch Tummel, with a brief attempt at sailing as the wind picked up a little bit. Dave's proper sailing rig is definitely much more effective than my group shelter. A faffy portage on the right at the Clunie dam. Not looking forward to portaging the lower section of river (I don't own a trolley), but at that stage of the day not really feeling like running it either. Anway there was enough water being released on the Friday evening that we decided to give the lower section a go. The first mile or so is really nice tight technical pleasant 2/3 with a number of standing up in boat drifting towards top of rapid inspections. Then it picks up a bit - we portaged I think about 4 times, mostly lining or dragging including the zig-zags and the Linn. Definitely much less effort than having my plastic prospector on my back for 3km. Out of interest, has anyone ever run the Linn in a trad boat?

    Along Loch Faskally, reaching the Pitlochry dam at dusk. Portage left. Not sure if this really was the epic portage I recall or if I was just cream crackered at the end of the day. After about 500m below the dam, we decided that it was really actually genuinely dark now and after some discussion common sense preaviled and we camped for them night next to the rugby field in Pitlochry. Dave put up the tent and produced a bottle of Caol Ila as I cooked pasta.

    Day 3 - 27th August

    An earlyish start, took us down lots of bobbly G1/2 to the confluence with the Tay and took out on river left in the park just above the bridge in Dunkeld. Lots of fisherfolk, mostly friendly. An all day breakfast at Ballinluig whilst doing the shuttle finished the trip nicely.

    A grand trip, which has inspired me to spend more time looking my big map of Scotland and dreaming dreams. Loch Hourn and portaging up into the Garry system must be a goer and what about a complete Findhorn descent?

    Thanks very much to Dave for dragging me along.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    I live near Forfar, in the county of Angus, Scotland.


    Nice all day brekky at Ballinluig, Stornaway black pudding is awesome

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