Well, after spending an evening pouring over Where’s the Water to try to track down some water, a group of us decided to give the Upper Meig a shot; levels looked high so it was a goer!
River Grade: 2+ (with two 3+ rapids)
Author’s Boat: WaveSport Diesel 75
Group Size: 4
So, Me (David B), Dave Young, Emma Garden and Helen (sorry, I’ve forgotten your surname), headed up Strathconon making for the river. As we passed Loch Meig, it became apparent that it was going to be a cold day as the loch was all-but frozen over.
Driving on up the road, we passed the grade 3 rapid just below the bridge at Bridgend (aptly named!)…it was pumping! With exitement in the air, we carried on up to the layby opposite the old church about 1km past the bridge and parked-up.
After the shuttle, we hit the water and paddled on down the river. A nice wee warm-up section and then onto a bouncy flume under the bridge. The water was fast moving and break-outs had to be planned in advance; some nice jets to prace high crosses in, as well as some limited suft potential…
As the right-hand bend approached, Emma and Helen decided to hop-out and walk round the grade 3. Dave and I decided to give it a whirl and, after our earlier drive-by inspection, decided river-right was the best option; there being a meaty stopper mid-fall river-left.
The ride was quick, bumpy but successful for both of us. Paddled hard to punch through a stopper mid-fall and broke out just below a sizable whirlpool which formed as the jet passed the side of the lower shelf (which would have been a great boofing opportunity had I spotted it earlier!).
After that, the river levelled out and, apart from fast-moving water, a few surf waves and a copule of capsizes, there was nothing of substantial note…well, not until we reached the lower stopper by the suspension bridge!
Dave and I had scouted the stopper during the shuttle, but only from a bit of a distance. I’d decided I didn’t like the look of river-right, so opted to go left. Dangerous Dave, as ever, decided that nothing was too scary for him and lead the charge river-right. No sooner had he arrived at the stopper, then he was seen popping out vertically, attempting to roll 5 times and eventually swimming.
“Go left, go left!” I shouted to Helen who was next, but the mighty stopper God munched her before she had time to act…then came me and, well, I managed to hit the line dead-on and escaped the tow-back…as I spun round to see what Emma was doing, I noticed her gently drifting toward the fall…munch…
…the stopper had her…spun her round…toyed with her…almost let her out…then sucked her right back into the centre of the river and engulfed her, her boat and paddles entirely like a patch of quicksand…it only lasted for a few seconds and she popped out a little down stream, but man was that a pasting!
Anyhow, despite the working, we all survived…I played chase-boat for the next 300m of river and eventually we all made it back to the cars…what a day!