Monday, April 15, 2002

A Stroll in the (gnarly Scottish) Park

Easter 2002, I plugged into Chas’s Scotland week

Travelling up to Fort William on the Saturday I joined the party in a pub in town – a motley crew of 6 of various shapes, sizes and ages – but all with a desire to throw themselves down gnarly drops and falls. There was Chas Couchman, Tim Rex, Steph Druits, Andy Levick, Graham Dunn and (non-paddler) Tom.
For the 4 days I spent with this lot there proved to be more beer than water. Consequently, our paddling was limited to those runs that still work when rivers are low. The Etive, Roy Gorge, Fechlin and Spean Gorge, however, all provided for some great grade 3 to 4+ entertainment – lots of tight technical paddling, gnarly holes, drops and falls with names like ‘Head Banger’, ‘Multiple Choice’, ‘The Brothers Grim’, ‘The Constriction’, ‘Fairy Steps’, ‘Witches Cauldron’, ‘Letter box’, ‘Crack of Doom’, ‘Crack of Dawn’, and ‘Big Mans Falls’ (to name a few).
These runs are all short, very scenic, and characterised by blind corners and drops often requiring bank inspection and protection – and there are a few nasty undercut 5’s that are best portaged. We had plenty of back-loops, a few swims and scraped knuckles but Chas still insisted on describing most runs as ‘A Stroll in the Park’