The atrocious weather and horrendously high winds may well have kept the Eastwood & East Kilbride Canoe Club’s sea kayakers off the water so far this winter, but it has meant there is plenty of water swelling Scotland’s rivers for the club’s whitewater paddlers.
A small group of experienced river paddlers set off recently for picturesque Perth & Kinross to take on a new river for them, the fast moving River Braan.
Andy Dean, Andrew Bell and Paul Gregory put in at Amulree, a hamlet 10km north of Crieff, aiming to run the section known as the Upper Braan and running on into the Mid Braan.
On an overcast day and following heavy rains, the first stretch was grade 2 rapids which quickly became a long stretch of grade 3s, which are considered ‘intermediate’ level. During this portion Paul & Andrew’s boats were forced together by the waters and Paul, unfortunately, took a swim.
In such circumstances the swimmer’s kayak and paddle take off very rapidly, carried off downstream at a rate of knots. As Paul was himself in no danger, the two Andrews raced off in pursuit and finally caught up with and captured the boat and paddle and headed back upstream to get Paul back onboard.
The remainder of the paddle passed without further incident until they approached the ‘get-out’ point at Drumour Bridge which carries the A822 over the Braan.
As Andrew explained “This final stretch was pretty full on so it was worth getting out of the boats and scouting the rapids, agreeing, in advance, the best line to take through the rocks, drops and rapids.”
All three nailed the rapid, swirling, Grade 4 ‘advanced’ descent and got themselves some cracking video footage from their GoPro helmet cams.
EEKCC is very active all year round in river and sea paddling and canoeing all of which are exciting and fun ways to see this beautiful country of ours. The club winters at Hamilton’s Water Palace where its SCA coaches welcome newcomers on Friday evenings at 8.30.