Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Water of Ruchill

I got a text this morning from Craig.

"Are you still going to the Tilt?"

Sleepily I replied, "Still going out, but maybe not the Tilt" as I checked the water levels online.

"Definitely not the Tilt."

We all met up in Comrie and drove up the glen to the put in for the Water of Ruchill, a surprisingly large river that only goes in spate conditions. It was relatively low today, but still good grade 2/3 fun with a big scary grade 4+ gorge section in the middle that was easier to portage than I thought it was going to be!

At the put in.

Grade 3 ledge drop.
Grade 3 ledge drop. Picture by Kirstie Macmillan

The gorge is a sequence of three large drops that would probably be grade four on their own. All together with very little breathing space in between they are a scary proposition. Apparently at high levels the whole thing is a monstrous grade 5+ which is very believable.
Jon commented afterward that "It's been a long time since I scared myself like that." I'm very ok with not having run the gnar!

Drop 1 in the gorge sequence of 3, pretty scary.

Drop 2 in the gorge.

Drop 3 in the gorge.
Jon in drop 1, photo by Kirstie Macmillan.
The guide book says to portage on the right, but the left bank looked much nicer, and it certainly was. A pull up a steep bank led to the top of the gorge cliffs and it was a straightforward walk across a field and slide down a muddy ravine back to the river.

Pulling up the first steep bank of the portage.

Portage selfie!

The picture makes it look much less steep than it was.

Back at the river, waiting for the others.

I got a bit bored, they took a long time to come down.

The final small drop out of the gorge. The third large drop
is in the background.

Happy Calum!
Continuing on down the river there was lots of grade 2 bouncy bits then a surprise grade 3 with a rather sticky hole that I side surfed for a couple of worried seconds before sneaking out the end and doing the rest of the rapid backwards! There were loads of red kites in this section wheeling around above us in the snow and we saw a couple of small deer running away from us.

Me and Jon floating down in the snow. Photo by Kirstie Macmillan.
Then we hit the flat near Comrie and discovered a sort of tree graveyard. The sun came out just as we got to Comrie!

Log jam!

Comrie, the confluence of the Ruchill and the Earn.

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