Monday, November 23, 2009

Low tummel

I will follow in the grand tradition of very late posts about my kayaking trips by only just getting round to telling you about my trip from just over a week ago. A small group of six of us went to the River Tummel, which was a new river for me. It had been raining reasonably hard the week prior to the trip (nowhere near as hard as the past week though) and as we drove up most rivers seemed to have a good amount of water in them. But, the lower Tummel is a dam release river and when we got there it was very low due to there having been no recent release. This meant there were going to be large sections of the river that were quite scrapey. Once we were on the river it wasn't too bad, although for the first half of the river there wasn't much to do except dodging rocks. The second half of the river had the majority of the falls and rapids and things picked up well when we got to these. On one of the first drops (probably the easiest) I managed to get myself stuck against the rock at the top, and due to not leaning into the rock I capsized and went down the drop on my head, and eventually had to swim. However that was the only swim of the trip (we had been hoping to have none). Further down the river we stopped to play at the bottom of a rapid by dipping our kaykak's noses into the water and popping out - I only tried this once as I got flipped - I had a couple of attempts at rolling (the second of which almost worked), but had to be T-rescued this time. There were some good fun drops. We all negotiated S (or Z) falls without any problems. The final fall was the Linn of Tummel, which is a grade 4 or 5 depending on the water level - due to the low levels it was probably a 4 when we did it, but it did mean that to the left of the second drop there was a nasty rock shelf that was exposed. After quite a bit of scouting out the line to take and setting up safety, we all decided to go for it. Everyone made it down without any mishaps, and we all avoided the rocks (after this I heard a story of someone breaking their arm when the hit those same rocks). Despite the low water levels, and my one swim, it was a really fun trip - small trips seem to work quite well. I should be out again next Sunday.