The day started a lot calmer than the previous day, we awoke quite early having had a reasonable nights sleep. Not wanting to rush and just go with the flow, we surfaced and sorted out breakfast, filtered water for the day, broke camp, tidied up and headed off about 7am. The Loch was quite still and the scenery very beautiful especially when looking behind us and seeing the mountains capped with snow.
After 3 miles we reached Priory Island which would have been our overnight stop if it had not been for the weather. It is where we decided to stop for our first break, it would have made a great camp location. After a wander round the island, a snack and our first cup of tea of the day we headed off. Shortly after the island we reach Kenmore and the road bridge where the River Tay starts. Within a few yards the speed picked up and it began to feel very different to the Loch. The weather was warmer than the previous day, it was turning out to be a nice day.
After a few miles we came to the first rapids, they started just after Chinese Bridge, the river noticeably picks up speed and the gradient is quite evident. With most of the flow on river left the river followed a long right hand bend. I led off and we collected at the bottom in a nice big eddy river right. It was a great first set of rapids, lots of waves, lots of reading the river and adjusting the line, it is what we came for. As we all collected it was evident that Paul was still in Kayak mode, he had taken on some water, more than he expected, so a quick chat with Graham about quartering wave and we were good to go, all fired up ready for the next set of rapids, where ever they may be.
There were lots of little set of waves and rapids and after while we reached Aberfeldy and it unusual turreted road bridge, so we decided to stop of a break and a few of us took a quick walk into town. Aberfeldy at 11 miles in for the day represented about half of the days distance but we still had Grandtully to do and we had already decide to take the day as it came, so we headed of again.
As before Aberfeldy there were frequent small rapids and waves as well as ideal spots for sort breaks.
After another 7 or so miles we reached Grandtully. Offically a grade 3 run we went river river to get out and take a look. Graham & I decided to ferry glide across to river left and take a look. I choose my line and headed off, first wave as planned, broke out, then back in, all was good. Broke in a bit high and wanted to go to the right of the large rock, that did not go to plan, had to go left, and the mean a wave, a reasonable size one, just enough to swamp the boat, and indeed it did. In Nicks words ‘your gunwales were under water’. After exiting the wave I managed to keep the boat level and paddle it, to the right hand bank where the others were ready to poke fun!!
Boat emptied we headed back up on foot to watch Graham take his run down. Where as I had started slightly left and finished slightly right Graham started slightly right and planned to finish slightly left, well he did en up slightly left but as I found with the flow heading to the rock, so did Graham. He started fine but did not get far enough left as he wanted and caught the rock, and went over loosing the argument with the larger rock. Nick leapt into action running down the bank, jumped into my boat and headed out to get Graham, who was swimming hard to the right bank. Nick got to the boat, emptied it and tied it off on the right bank, and headed back. I ran down the bank to deployed a rope, bang on target!
After the usual conversations that ensure, whats, hows, whys, when etc., the others made their way down the rapids, far more to the right hand side and with no incidents. It was also apparent that Graham had taken quite a knock to his leg and had a bit of a limp
After securing the boats we walk unto the cafe for a nice coffee and a bowls of chips, most welcome.
BY now we were 18 miles and 7hr 30 min into the day. The plan was to camp on the small peninsular where the Tummel joins the Tay, but we were not fully sure what to expect, so flexibility was the order of the day.
We set off again and had to line the boats down the next weir straight after Grandtully, there probably was a line down on the left but we decided against it and to take the safer option. it was a really nice paddle down to the Tummel. It was here that we started to notice evidence of beavers, and quite a bit. On the left hand bank there were a lot of trees down, quite clear beavers at work.
Checking the map we were getting close to the confluence of the Tummel so we started looking for a good camping spot, preferably an island, as per Pauls request. River left there were a few fishermen, we did not see many throughout the day. It was clear the location I had in mind from the maps and google was not ideal so we decided to push on and find a suitable camp spot.
Less than a mile later we found an ideal spot on river right, after a brief inspection we agreed it would be suitable and unlike the previous night we decided to pitch our own shelter, and there was a range of options.
So after pitching shelter, hanging kit up and a bit of a sort out we decided to cook tea, we were all getting hungry. The evening finished with an open fire and conversations about the day events.
We had been on the go for 9hr 30 min and covered 23.5 miles. It had been great weaner for the time of year and we were looking forward to the next day, it was time for some whiskey and some shut eye, roll on tomorrow.