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Teith Trip

Today's trip was a joint trip with Heriot-Watt Kayak Club. The original plan was the Avon but that was high and rising like a lot of rivers were, had a lot of trees, and had not been done before by Mags so the plan was changed to the Teith. I went on this trip with Mags, Matthew and Lawrence. Some people had dropped out for various reasons.

Upon arriving at the car park we saw it was totally flooded even onto the road. Mags suggested that we get out at Deanston for a longer run but said there was a weir to probably portage, and we all agreed to that, then ran the shuttle to and from Deanston and then got on at the entrance to the car park.

Mags and I were at the Teith trip last Saturday when it was on medium at around 0.95m, this time it was on very high at around 2.70m. I was told it would be totally different today and it sure was. There were some huge bouncy waves which were great fun to go over and some playspots for those so inclined.

We all knew there was a weir coming up at some point which we would want to inspect and most likely portage. We were to look out for a building on the right and get out on the left. After a short while we came around a corner and suddenly there was a small building so we all paddled hard to get out on the left although there were no real eddies.

I was at the front which in particular made it a real challenge for me. I was paddling to the left but was fighting hard against a fast flow to avoid the weir that was likely to be dangerous.

When I got near the side I ended up sideways against a tree and had to hold onto the tree if I was to avoid going into the weir. The fast current flipped me over there then I swam straight away, holding onto the tree for dear life and crying for help.

Matt came to my rescue by giving me a rope to hold onto. I struggled trying to swim upstream a little to reach the lower part of the bank. The others came to help also which enabled me to stand up and hold onto the tree. They attached a rope to my buoyancy aid which let them pull me up while I tried to climb up.

My hands were quite sore and tingling from being cold and holding onto the tree. I really missed my gloves and should have worn them. I soon warmed up though thanks to Mags' pogies and hot Ribena.

Understandably all the others decided to portage the weir then continue on afterwards. For me it was a walk through the woods and across some burns to reach the get-out. The others got out and walked towards the bridge across the river and we both met there, then we all headed back to the get-out and were soon on our way.

So yet again and with regret I swim and lose a boat and a paddle but on the bright side I am safe and unharmed after a very tricky situation.

The moral of the story is that kayaking is great fun but it can also be dangerous, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself in for, and that you have people with you to rescue you when things go wrong like I had on this trip.

I enjoyed the trip despite my time above the weir, and I am sure that the others enjoyed it too. Thanks to Mags for organising the trip.

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