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Thread: Doune to Stirling by the Skin of my Teith

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    Cool Doune to Stirling by the Skin of my Teith

    Doune to Stirling by the Skin of my Teith






    Useful route planning map from the National Library of Scotland (big thanks to Mal for alerting me to these).


    I fancied a river trip and also wanted to take my Old Town Pack out for a jaunt - it's been way too long since she's seen the water. And I wanted to try a new river but nothing too hard. As I was doing it on my own, I had to work out some sort of shuttle shuffle plan that would get me and all my various modes of transport in the right place at the right time.

    So I hatched a plan and it went like this:

    1. Drive to Doune.
    2. Find somewhere on the banks of the River Teith to hide my canoe.
    3. Unload and hide said canoe.
    4. Drive down to Stirling.
    5. Find somewhere on the banks of the River Forth, where I could safely land the boat, and where I could park the car nearby.
    6. Park the car.
    7. Unload the bike.
    8. Cycle back to Doune.
    9. Retrieve the hidden canoe (hopefully still there)
    9. Hide the bike somewhere and lock it.
    10. Paddle down the river to Stirling.
    11. Drive back to Doune and pick up the bike.
    12. Go home.
    13. Collapse.

    Simple really. (Or maybe not!) Anyway, this is how it panned out...

    I got to Doune ok and parked near the Bridge of Teith, on the outskirts of the village. There I found some steps and then a very steep and overgrown path leading down the the river, ending up just under the bridge. So I got the boat off the car and slipped and slid it down to the river. Luckily it was dry underfoot and the Pack is a very light canoe and easy to manhandle, I'd have been struggling a bit with a heavier boat.


    I hid the canoe in the undergrowth and chained it to a tree root for good measure. Being green helped (the boat that is, not me).





    Then I climbed back up the slope and drove back to Stirling. I had used Paddlepoints to identify prospective get outs in Stirling, and found what looked a good one by the Rowing Club. Finding it by car though was a different matter. Stirling is not that big a town, but I drove round it in circles several times before I found a way onto the peninsula where the Rowing Club is.

    Eventually I found it, so I got the car parked, unloaded my bike and paddle gear and set off again.




    First I had to cross the Forth on the Old Stirling Bridge. This old bridge dates back to the 1400s or 1500s (nobody seems quite sure). Until 1936, Stirling was the lowest bridging point on the Forth, so it was quite a strategic place and scene of several battles. If you wanted to head north, you had to come through Stirling.






    It had been a toll bridge and cars weren't invented when it was built, so it was pedestrians only. I dutifully dismounted.





    On the road again. A certified 8 mph!





    I headed on, past the jail and then up through Bridge of Allen, rather than use the more direct A84 which had too much traffic on it for my liking.

    Pausing briefly to send a telegram to report my progress.





    The road goes ever on...





    Who was this guy standing in a field?





    I stopped for a look.





    It turned out to be David Stirling, the founder of the SAS (1941).




    There was also a memorial to the Long Range Desert Group.



    Moving on, after a while I reached Doune. (Not to be confused with Dune, aka Arrakis, third planet of the star Canopus.)





    Exile on Main Street.





    Kilted folk by the old Mercat Cross.





    Back at the Bridge of Teith.




    "The 'Brig o' Teith' was constructed in 1535 by Robert Spittal, a Royal tailor to Mary Queen of Scots. According to Charles Roger in 'A Week at Bridge of Allan 1851', a ferryman refused Spittal passage across the Teith as he did not have his purse and could not pay. The bridge was built in retaliation."



    Spot the canoe!






    I was pleased to see the boat was where I had left it and looked unmolested.


    So now it was the bike's turn to be hidden and locked to a tree.






    And I got the boat ready to launch.





    Off we go.





    Doune Castle ahead. (As featured in the film 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'.)





    You can't really get lost on a river, but the map was handy to try and work out how far down I was (which was never as far as I hoped!).





    Someone hammocking on the river bank.





    The river was quite low as there hasn't been any rain for ages. I checked before I set off and it said 1 metre at Doune. That was just about enough to float the Pack down, but there were one or two scrapey bits along the way.

    In the upper sections it was mostly a case of steering for the deeper parts, avoiding the gravel shoals, and riding whatever small rapids I could find (there were a few and they gave an enjoyable burst of speed and brief excitement).






    A mausoleum was shown on the map. Maybe this was it?





    A broken weir with some nasty looking iron spikes coming out of it.





    The shallows! There were a few of these, but I only had to get out and push once.





    Springtime on the banks.





    Flat water stretch. Somewhere down here was Blair Drummond Safari Park. I kept an eye open for any elephants or giraffes wandering down to the river, but it didn't happen.









    Herring.





    Springtime in the woods - bluebell season here.





    Some nice green waterweed.





    Shingle banks.





    At some point along the way, Perthshire became Stirlingshire, and the nature of the river changed. It became much wider and deeper and more exposed to the wind. Which was a strong easterly. I.e. a headwind. Of course, what else would it be!

    (Is it just me or has it been unduly windy this year?)

    If I stopped to take a picture or draw a breath, I would be blown backwards - upstream. So it was quite a slog to make progress on these exposed open sections of water. (Glad I didn't use the packraft this time, or it would have taken forever. It was a long enough trip as it was.)






    Stirling Castle in the distance. Lots of swans on the river, by the way, but they were too busy squabbling amongst themselves to bother me.





    The River Forth coming in to join the Teith. Although the Teith is the bigger river at this point, the combined river is called the Forth from here on. Go figure, as the Americans say.





    Shortly after that, the river passes under the M9 motorway.





    After the motorway, are the ruins of an old mill and the last of the rapids (in the narrow gap just after the fisherman in this picture). They were quite, er.., rapid and bouncy and good fun to shoot down.





    Below the rapids the river was pretty flat as it looped and meandered back and forth across the flood plain. It was also tidal from this point on, with thick malodorous mud on the banks.

    Shortly before the confluence with the River Allen, I heard a snort and a splash and a shiny black seal surfaced just ahead of my boat. I was surprised to see one here, this far inland. It must be about 10 miles from the open estuary.

    It disappeared then re-emerged behind me, as they do, following me along for a while.












    After a lot more meandering, I finally approached Stirling Old Bridge again.











    Under the bridge were some strange currents and whirlpools, caused by the massive stone piers and the interplay of tidal and river currents no doubt.

    I managed to avoid being sucked down the whirlpools and headed on under the "new" bridge (1829).






    Then under the twin railway bridges.





    Finally arriving back at the Rowing Club.





    Where I debarked onto the muddy steps.





    Boat, rowing club and Wallace Monument in the distance.





    Made it! Tired but happy.





    All that remained was to climb over the fence of the Rowing Club with the canoe, load it onto the car roof, then head back to Doune to retrieve my bike.

    It was a long day. And I got lost on the way home (driving on autopilot and took the wrong motorway!).
    But it was worth it. I think.

    Thanks for looking.


    Gordon
    Last edited by Crow; 12th-May-2017 at 05:14 PM.

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    More on the Blaeu maps from 1654 here:

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...as-of-Scotland

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Another belting blog, thanks Crow.
    Andy,
    (Cumbria)

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    Very nice looking paddle. Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed reading it all.

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    By the way I do like a good word- my favourite this week is egregious, however debarked is now a very close second!
    Andy,
    (Cumbria)

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    Glad this trip met the Seal of Approval...


    Always thought this looked like a good river, have driven over the Bridge of Doom numerous times...
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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    202 - nice!
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

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    Nice looking trip
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

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    Another fine adventure Mr. Crow, most enjoyable (certainly from this side of the screen!)
    There's a Bluebird in my heart

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    A cracking day out. I've used a similar setup myself, but think it would be better if the bike could come with me in the canoe. Not much chance in a Pack I suppose.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post

    So I hatched a plan and it went like this:

    1. Drive to Doune.
    2. Find somewhere on the banks of the River Teith to hide my canoe.
    3. Unload and hide said canoe.
    4. Drive down to Stirling.
    5. Find somewhere on the banks of the River Forth, where I could safely land the boat, and where I could park the car nearby.
    6. Park the car.
    7. Unload the bike.
    8. Cycle back to Doune.
    9. Retrieve the hidden canoe (hopefully still there)
    9. Hide the bike somewhere and lock it.
    10. Paddle down the river to Stirling.
    11. Drive back to Doune and pick up the bike.
    12. Go home.
    13. Collapse.
    Aaargh. Two 9's. I apologise for the lack of quality control here!

    But on this subject, somebody said to me today there should be a fox, a duck and a bag of corn involved.

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Another excellent adventure.

    Nick

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    Another corner of a blog Mr Crow - looks like you got great weather for it but I think you're right about the wind. Too much wind and not enough water in my neck of the woods!
    Was amused at the canoe stashing and locking to a root... did exactly the same yesterday!

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
    When I read about the evils of drinking I gave up reading.

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    Another fine day out ... If longish one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    A cracking day out. I've used a similar setup myself, but think it would be better if the bike could come with me in the canoe. Not much chance in a Pack I suppose.
    itd be better still if it had and engine
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkL View Post
    Another fine day out ... If longish one.



    itd be better still if it had and engine
    Boat or bike?

    In either case they had one - me!

    A bit clapped out and underpowered no doubt (probably about 0.1 of a horsepower), but still an engine.

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Boat or bike?

    In either case they had one - me!

    A bit clapped out and underpowered no doubt (probably about 0.1 of a horsepower), but still an engine.
    The disadvantage I found was that the engine had the same power source. I made the mistake of doing the paddling first, then the pedaling. Next time I'll do it the other way round. Finishing with an uphill cycle ride is no fun.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    The disadvantage I found was that the engine had the same power source. I made the mistake of doing the paddling first, then the pedaling. Next time I'll do it the other way round. Finishing with an uphill cycle ride is no fun.
    I usually do it that way round - i.e. cycle first.

    In this case I pretty much had to, otherwise I'd have been leaving my canoe on the streets of Stirling somewhere, probably not a wise move!

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Nice blog again Crow , I have been thinking about doing the cycle canoe thing but I was looking at the folding bike option ( Brompton)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkL View Post
    Another fine day out ... If longish one.



    itd be better still if it had and engine


    Talking of engines, I have actually done canoe trip shuttles by motorbike a couple of times, with my son James. It's usually quite terrifying!







    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    A cracking day out. I've used a similar setup myself, but think it would be better if the bike could come with me in the canoe. Not much chance in a Pack I suppose.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jag009 View Post
    Nice blog again Crow , I have been thinking about doing the cycle canoe thing but I was looking at the folding bike option ( Brompton)

    Actually I did take a bike in the Pack once, just to try out that idea.

    And it was a folding bike too, Jag.








    Full story here: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...nt-on-Loch-Eck


    Actually people do this with packrafts all the time - it's called bikerafting. Means you can carry the boat on the bike and the bike on the boat.

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cumbria View Post
    Another belting blog, thanks Crow.
    Quote Originally Posted by meirion View Post
    Very nice looking paddle. Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed reading it all.
    Thanks, guys.

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cumbria View Post
    By the way I do like a good word- my favourite this week is egregious, however debarked is now a very close second!
    Second favourite word of the week ain't bad.

    I'll debark now, before I get too egregrious.

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Glad this trip met the Seal of Approval...


    Always thought this looked like a good river, have driven over the Bridge of Doom numerous times...
    Another one found in Stirling.

    https://stv.tv/news/stirling-central...at-front-door/

    Or maybe the same one which couldn't stay away?

    Now I wish to God I'd joined those men when they were set ashore, but I chose a wild and a reckless life serving under Captain Moore.

    Crow Trip Log

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    Great blog of a cracking trip, thanks. Unusual looking exhaust on that Honda Superdream.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

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    Fantastic, thanks for sharing

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