Well, it’s been quite some time in the coming, but finally tonight I managed to get down the Meig Gorge – and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait!
The is a cracking wee section of grade 3/4 water. It runs in dry weather due to the compensation flow from the Meig Dam, so you can run it most of the year. It tends to run best on Thursdays as the dam spouts out a wee bit more water then; but I wouldn’t want to be running it with must more than that, and certainly not after a lot of rain as I recon it’d be death on a stick…
The paddle starts off with a pleasant little potter down the first section of gorge. Small grade 2 rapid and lots of rock avoidance is the main character of this bit of the river. After a few hundred yards a river-wide weir appears with a small chute on river right; you need to make your way down the chute, but watch out for sharp metal poles at the bottom – they took about a 5mm shaving off my Diesel 65!!
Plus, try not to get pinned half way down the weir chute (like Matt) as the water backs-up VERY quickly…all hail Matt’s first swim in about 8 years…hehehehe
After the weir, the river goes up a gear or two – almost immediately. A couple of plunge-type drops lead you to the first main fall. It’s a cheeky chap which doesn’t appear too much hassle until you’ve popped down the first bit and then notice then ext drop, rock wall, drop, rock wall, chute, rooster tail, rock wall…then you’re out…unless you’re Paul who decided to do a few rolls mid-drop!
After the first main fall, the river twists and turns through the gorge with a multitude of drops and narrow cracks which require a bit of technically paddlings to navigate. After a wee while, the river opens into a pool which then dog-legs to river right. The sides of the gorge are almost verticle and that signals the arrival of Tea Cup Falls.
This is an awesome rapid where the river pinches right up, turns left and then drops into a massive pothole on the gorge wall, before then dropping down into a massive plunge pool. The line for this one is roughly river right to river left and then boof out of the pothole. The stopper in the plunge pool is VERY grippy, so best not to slide slowly into it! All of us made Tea Cup Falls without incident…what a feeling it was too! It’s one of those iconic rapids.
After Tea Cup Falls there are a number of other drops, rock slides and scrape – including a woderful rock arch just above head height. For our part, most of these were paddled without any real problems; although Stew managed to loose his paddles by lifting them up above his head as he went through a tight section of river…the paddles got stuck and he carried on down the drop…classic!
Anyhow, if you’re ever in the Srathconon area, get yourself up to the Meig Gorge – it’s a cracker!