Had a fantastic day out on the Easter Ross Carron today, with Ray and Kenny.
It was hammering with rain when we reached Croick and the cloud was down low, but the river was running on low and it looked like a nice, relaxing run was in store for us…
However, all that changed as the river rose 1ft while we were running the shuttle and another 1ft in the space of time it took us to run the short top gorge section – although, to be fair, that included 15mins freeing Kenny’s boat from a stick re-circulating eddy and then getting it from one bank to the other using a line!
By the time we reached Granny’s Hole (Poll na Caillich sa’ Ghàidhlig), what had looked like a solid yet perfectly doable Grade 4 rapid, turned into a raging Grade 5 with one line, which if missed, would result in you entering the boiling pothole river left – and you weren’t going to come out of their in one piece or breathing!
So, we portaged Granny’s Hole and then got back on below. By this time the river was pumping and travelling at quite a speed. We arrived at the Horseshoe Fall before we knew it. However, unlike previous features, Horeshoe looked much nicer than when we’d scouted it earlier in the day, and Ray and I ran it slightly rover left, cutting across 2/3s of the way down to finish it dead centre.
Once Kenny rejoined us from his portage, the three of us bombed on down the river, passing a few Grade 3 features and friendly fishermen at speed…yes, they were ALL friendly and chatting…there’s a welcome first!
On arrival at the gorge, it was clear that things had changed drastically from the morning’s reccy. The gorge had risen about 1m and was full of large waves and holes. There were few eddies and the hole at the bottom was both huge and retentive.
I’d only just snuck through the final hole a year or two ago while paddling it at a marginally lower level. So, given we’d had an epic in the first gorge and the weather was turning for the worse again, we decided to call it a day and opt out of a kicking right at the end!
Anyhow, the Easter Ross Carron is a fantastic run. Plenty to keep you occupied and some lovely features; don’t underestimate it though. Ideally, I wouldn’t want to run it quite so high (it went from low to high while we were paddling) so that all features could be run by all and run safely; will just have to come back and do it again!
UPDATE: Thanks go to Ray for reminding me to tell you that a huge salmon lept out of the water mid-way down and landed on Ray’s deck…not sure who was browning themselves more; the salmon or Ray?!