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Thread: Ups and downs (but mostly ups) on the Treig and Ossian

  1. #1
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    Default Ups and downs (but mostly ups) on the Treig and Ossian

    I'm just back from a couple of days tandem paddling with Jenny, up in the Highlands.

    The only bad bit was at the start when a rather grumpy chap in an Alcan landrover, drove up and tried to prevent us from getting on. I'd thought those days were over in Scotland, but it seems that news of the Land Reform Act hasn't quite reached Fersit yet. I've contacted the SCA access team, and I'll keep you all posted with any developments.

    Anyway, initial issues aside, we trolleyed up to the dam, and got onto Loch Treig.


    Paddling against a F3-5 headwind, and giving the hydro intake a wide berth, it took us a couple of hours to make it to the south end of the Loch. Then came the hard bit of the day - the portage up and over into Loch Ossian. The first mile and a bit of ascent is fairly hard (despite being on a good track).



    "are we nearly there yet?" (answer: no!)


    We got some suitably amused/pitying looks from a team of guys in vehicles who were working maintaining the track. Then another mile or so of gentle up and down leads to a long gentle descent down to Loch Ossian. Nice to have the trolley pushing me, instead of me dragging it.



    A very short paddle on Loch Ossian took us to the youth hostel there. We arrived to a roaring fire and a hot kettle. Thanks very much to Jan (the warden) and all the other guests for making us very welcome.

    An early start, saw us at the other end of the Loch around 1000 and onto the river Ossian. I think we were pretty lucky with levels (a bit of grass underwater, but definitely nowhere near bank full). There's a tiny little weir as you leave the loch, and a few deer fences to squeeze under or portage round. The river pootles gently down to Loch Ghuilbinn.



    Some fantastic views, with snow on the hills and a few deer grazing away. On the Abhainn Ghuilbinn the fun begins. It stays wide and open for a few kilometres, never really getting above G2+, but with (at the level we had) some quite tight lines between rocks which keep you on your toes.



    It then obviously narrows into the first mini-gorge. We portaged the entrance drop at river level, and then ran down through the rest of the mini-gorge.



    A brief opening out leads to the next gorge (which I think is the first one mentioned in the WW Scotland guidebook). We swamped on the entrance slab, but managed to keep the canoe upright enough to make it into an eddy on the river left. I got to solo the next few class 3 drops in the gorge, before we came round to a left/right dogleg, with a drop that probably doesn't go in a canoe, and definitely didn't go for the two of us in a laden boat a long way from help! This bit would be a great kayak run, and you could probably run quite a few of the drop in an open boat, and possibly line the rest from river level. However, deciding that cowardice is the better part of valour we opted to portage up and around the second half of the gorge. The river then opens up for another mile or so of tight class 2 before dropping into another gorge which we portaged around on the river right side, above the top of the gorge.



    From here you can see Loch Laggan, but there's one more significant rapid - a long set of slabs, which we portaged on the right before pottering down to Loch Laggan and collecting the car.



    All in all, a lovely wild mountain trip, with a bit of everything.
    Last edited by GeorgeF; 12th-April-2014 at 02:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    Excellent.

    Two great days of paddling in wild country = Adventure at its best. A good find for the second day, had you been up that way before...?

  3. #3
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    Great looking trip though a bit more hard work than I would fancy.

    I did Loch Ossian a while ago the easy way by staying at one of the self-catering places by the lodge. Highly recommended.

  4. #4
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    Hi Matt. I'd not been there before, but I know folk who've kayaked it and one person who's canoed it before.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for posting your cracking blog. Those are two lochs I don't remember hearing about before. Looks like a great place.
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    Those are two lochs I don't remember hearing about before. Looks like a great place.
    More Loch Ossian pictures here.

  7. #7
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    Good stuff.

    Out of interest, if you got on at Loch Treig, why didn't you paddle west to the Spean/Treig confluence to make it more of a circular route?

  8. #8
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    Great blogg, enjoyed that. Nice to see somewhere new too.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  9. #9
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    Good point AHPP. We definitely fancied it, and the upper spean had enough water to do it that day. Partly it was the end of a long day, and it was easier to jog than to portage the boat round the dam. Partly because I didn't particularly want to get growled at by anyone else and approaching the dam was a likely place for that to happen. Partly because the upper Spean would be relatively pushy in a laden tandem and it would be embarassing to swamp on the final gorge on the upper Spean and do the first ever open boat descent of Inverlair! If you really wanted to complete the circle, it looked as though you could probably pole up the bottom of the Treig.
    Last edited by GeorgeF; 12th-April-2014 at 09:52 PM. Reason: poor spelling!

  10. #10
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    Excellent trip!
    The Ghuilbhinn is a river I still haven't done (or the Ossian or Treig but the Ghuilbhinn is the one that interests me).

    The upper Spean on the other hand is one of my favourites (kayak), you really don't want to miss your takeout above Fersit gorge, it's difficult in an empty kayak a heavy canoe would be in real trouble! I've only run the gorge once, didn't exactly go to plan but at least I managed to stay in my boat until I found somewhere to get out

    How hard can it be?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeF View Post
    Good point AHPP. We definitely fancied it, and the upper spean had enough water to do it that day. Partly it was the end of a long day, and it was easier to jog than to portage the boat round the dam. Partly because I didn't particularly want to get growled at by anyone else and approaching the dam was a likely place for that to happen. Partly because the upper Spean would be relatively pushy in a laden tandem and it would be embarassing to swamp on the final gorge on the upper Spean and do the first ever open boat descent of Inverlair! If you really wanted to complete the circle, it looked as though you could probably pole up the bottom of the Treig.
    The train line running between river and track is potentially inconvenient but the Treig being polable is handy info. Thanks very much.
    Where did you leave the car btw?

  12. #12
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    I camped under a snow bound tree many years ago just above Loch Ossian. Two of us had ski'd off the platform at Corrour. The Hostel was closed, so bivying was in order.

    We watched mesmerised as a deer walked acfoss the ice biund loch in brilliant bright moonlight... magical.

    An amazing spot and one great to paddle.

    We went to sleep that night listening to the radio on a new fanfled Walkman. Totally surreal, we listened to the start of the attack of the first Gulf war.

    A location and experience I have never forgot.

    Alan l.

  13. #13
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    Superb!!!

    That's a fantastic way to spend a few days!!
    To Canoe is to be moved!!!

  14. #14
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    Looks like a lovely place, far from anywhere but a little barren or bleak at times. I like trees.

    Was it as cold as it looked?

  15. #15
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    Hi BHofmann. A wee bit chilly paddling in the wind, but plenty warm enough portaging uphill!

  16. #16
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    Great Blogg with great pics!
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  17. #17
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    nice blogg and brings to life your tales at the weekend,

    had fun and enjoyed working with you on Sunday
    JD
    He knows not where he's going, For the ocean will decide, It's not the destination, It's the glory of the ride

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemec View Post
    nice blogg and brings to life your tales at the weekend,

    had fun and enjoyed working with you on Sunday
    Great to work with you too. Hope I didn't take over too much!

    Cheers, G

  19. #19
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    No way, and as i said saw some new different ways of approaching things that will come in to my next courses
    JD
    He knows not where he's going, For the ocean will decide, It's not the destination, It's the glory of the ride

  20. #20
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    Fantastic blogg. In true mutineering fashion last time i was at Ossian hostel we biked it from Laggan side. the wee wardens dog Tom Rigg kept appearing at the window when we were having breakfast.
    Maggie.

    ''One is always wiser after the event''

  21. #21
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    Great: we now know what to do for our next trip with the new dog Bryn!

    [Hi Mutineering M.....long time no see or hear....hope all is well]
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  22. #22
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    Fantastic adventure.


    Anybody ever portaged over from the Loch Eilde side to Treig, including paddling the Abhainn Rath?
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Fantastic adventure.


    Anybody ever portaged over from the Loch Eilde side to Treig, including paddling the Abhainn Rath?
    Nope - but the Abhainn Rath is on my list of potential kayak runs - 40m dropped over 1 km of river! Chatting to a chap at Loch Ossian youth hostel he described it as "quite frightening" (that said, not a paddler so that could mean anything from class II to unrunnable). The Uisge Labhair which joins the Ossian also looked to have some class IV/V kayaking potential. Don't think I'll be putting my prospector on it though!

  24. #24
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    Cheers. Not seriously thinking of paddling it, but had noticed it might form part of an "alternative" cross-Scotland route...
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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