Sunday, June 08, 2008

Weekend break

After heading out to kayak on Loch Lomond a couple of weeks back last weekend I got out on a river for the second time. About a dozen of us from the canoe club went for a weekend of camping and kayaking on the Etive (near Glencoe.) We drove upon Friday night, with me again taking the wheel of the minibus (a different one than the previous week) - there were still quite a few stalls, but in general my driving got more confident over the weekend and I managed to get by without any crashes or scrapes and I am now reasonably proficient at performing three-point turns on country roads. We camped on some ground behind the Kings House hotel, which is semi-officially a campsite - at least it seems to be quite well used. The campsite sits near the head of the Etive and from looking at the level of that, and due to it having been pretty dry during the week, we knew that the water levels for our kayaking were going to be pretty low. Heading out to the river the next day confirmed this, with our main view of the river being stone dry rocks. However, we headed to a section called triple falls (a series of three small waterfalls unsurprisingly) where there was enough water to go down. Despite the falls looking quite daunting from above, especially for a relative beginner like me, they were reasonably tame to go off. Later on we headed to another waterfall called Right Angle, which was quite a bit higher than any of the drops at triple (about 20 feet.) As I'd been down the earlier falls I decided to give this one a go as well. Even quite a few of the experienced guys going over the falls were capsising at the bottom (although they were all able to roll themselves back up.) The three times I went off I also capsised, almost managing to roll on the first time, but then having to swim. The following day we again went to triple falls and right angle and also attempted to kayak between the to. This mainly involved scraping the bottom of our boats over rocks, but there were a couple of other good falls along the way. Overall the trip was really good and great experience for a beginner like me. I'm pretty eager to get out again, but will have to wait for Autumn when the university starts back up. Hopefully next time I'm out they'll be a bit more water and fewer midges.