Scottish Riverfarers United

Andrew H-O shares his experiences of organising the 2016 RCC Scotland pilgrimage…

Another Scotland trip goes by, and now my whiskey cabinet is nicely re-stocked. With thanks to all those who took part, some in part and others from beginning to end, an epic rain hunt was had by all including those who on more than one occasion drove more than two hours across to the other side of Scotland in search of a river, once successful, and once not so. But that would make it sound like rain was scarce which would not be a fair account when compared to the year before, because it did rain within the first few days, and the trip did on at least one occasion allow for the paddling of a river on a medium level. The real reason was that we are a bunch of intrepid paddlers, who paddled under The Bridge of Awe (part of every hunt for the holy grail), who discovered a new river even if it was too high to paddle, proved the Findhorn can be paddled without a stick, and ran many of the drops on the Etive facing forwards.

Kate heading over the lip of Right Angle falls on the Etive

There was no water on the first weekend, not in the Nith, nor anywhere else in the north. But the Awe was releasing as we drove up and aside from providing with an assortment of suitable puns also provided a good play wave and an awesome introduction to the Rivers of Scotland. And then to our fortune the rains which had not been seen the previous week blew in for the Monday and Tuesday. Providing us with a good long stretch of chaos on the Orchy, or in Midge’s case a good long case of whiskey while he waited the 7 or so hours in the pub for our return, to the Roy with a section suitable for all and by all accounts a lovely trip down the runable waters of the Pattak.

Contrary to popular belief – Krzysztof does smile – sometimes

However, such is the nature of a week in Scotland at the mercy of the rain gods. We all trek along way for the uncertainty of rain. But even with a pretty dry end to the week we all managed to find some activities to keep us keen. A special mention must go to Jim who by the sounds of things managed to do himself more harm off the river than on the river with runs down some of the area’s finest Downhill tracks. Very sad we never made it to paintballing, but there’s also a sense of achievement that we had enough water in the rivers that we never really needed to.

Well done to all whose first trip it was, you all stepped up to the challenge very well, without incident and while making it enjoyable for all those that paddled with you. And quite a marked success that with the exception of a lost shoe and a dented sense of pride we all left feeling very good about ourselves (I’m extrapolating from my own experiences here, and the fact that even Krzysztof smiled). A special note of appreciation also for all those that helped make the days run smoothly despite a healthy dose of chaos, and apologies to Kate for not getting you that holy grail of a three river day, we know how much it means to you. Next time we hope.