Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Braan: top, upper and middle in one day

"Lets go paddling!"
"Ok, where?"

In the end we decided that Jamie was the bearer of all knowledge and went with his suggestion of the "Upper Braan". Now, the guidebook is not very specific about where this is. There is also a top section and a middle section. And phone reception in Strathbraan is awful. Needless to say we spent a good while driving randomly around the place until we by some happy coincidence ran into Jamie and Craig running the shuttle. Cue chaos as we stopped in the middle of a main road and started up a conversation. Soon enough we arrived at Amulree and found the others. Super-quick changing and some faffing ensued, then we were off down the river.
The top section of the Braan is a beautiful river, surrounded by a wide open glen, descending at steady grade 2/3 for about 2km. There are small eddies, but we just paddled on down all the way into the upper section then the middle section with barely any stops! The upper has very few rapids and is mostly just grade 2 wave trains. Jamie, being the only one to have paddled the section before, kept telling us not to worry, he would recognise when the middle section started and we would be able to take it nice and slow, it was just round this next corner... actually, no, just round this corner...
Eventually of course we did reach the middle section and the exciting gorge. We eddy hopped down most of it, intimidating horizon lines turning out to be not that scary at all! After the rapids were over we caught up with the other half of the group who'd been in front and climbed up the bank at the take out. On the shuttle to retrieve the other cars we met Glasgow uni hiking across a random field with their boats. They looked a little lost, so we offered them a lift for their driver to pick up their bus at the top!
A fantastic day and a fantastic river.
The top section, after the long continuous g2/3 part

A leg stretch at the bottom of the top

I'm sure it's just round this corner... searching for the gorge!

The first horizon line in the gorge is a big slide into a small flushy hole

Eddy hopping down in the gorge

A funky little swirly wave

Some rafters that we met on the way down

Floating down the grade 1 to the take out

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