Monday, 17 August 2009

White water weekend.

No photo's this time, I did take my camera but was a bit preoccupied to take any pictures. On saturday we put in on the River Tay at Birnam near Dunkeld and paddled down to Meikleour at the confluence of the river Isla. Eck teamed up with Steve Croft in his Prospector, Nicky and Tony Credland (Tenboats) were in a brand spanking new Mad River reflection, while I was solo in the Pack.

It had pored down all night but by the time we started it had stopped and it turned into a fine sunny day. With all the rain the river was high and fast, so we really whizzed along. This section is mostly flat water with just a few little rapids, nothing over grade 1. We stopped for a picnic by a Roman Fort not far from Caputh a really nice spot in the sun.

Nicky, Tony and Eck had to return home but Steve and I camped at Grandtully. Ray came up on sunday. The three of us put in at Kenmore on the banks of Loch Tay. This time I teamed up with Ray in his "Charles River" and Steve paddled solo. The first rapid is under "chinese bridge" by Taymouth castle, a grade 2. The river bends sharply right just after the bridge and we had to be careful to avoid being sweeped into the left bank. Between here and Aberfeldy there were a few easier smaller rapids. We past a whole family of Red-breasted Mergansers but by the time I'd got my camera out we'd spee'd past them; we also saw some Goosanders.

At Aberfeldy there was a nice grade 1 rapid and then for the last mile or so into Gradtully was a string of grade 2's all bouncy and splashy and fun, but never too frighting. We got off the river just above the grade 3 slalom course, in the high water that looked really meaty.

Sunday, 9 August 2009


I haven't been out paddling for a few weeks but I have been out hill walking. As I've been walking I've been collecting anything I find that may act as tinder for starting a fire with a firesteel; Ray Mears style. I've been coming back with pockets full of dry bracken, birch bark, grass, twiggs anything that looks like it will burn easily. So far I've only found three things that catch fire with any degree of reliability. I videod the result, the first one is down from a large thistle head. The second is cotton grass seed heads which was very easy to light but you can't always find cotton grass when you've run out of matches. The third works a treat.

So, the conclusion of this little experiment is to always have plenty of fuel and keep your matches in a dry place when you head into the great outdoors. Because all this bush craft milarky just isn't gonna save you.