For one reason or another only the two club kayakers, Sandy Johnston and Richard Lord, met up with Graham Swanson in his open boat to take part in this classic river descent. There was a scheduled dam release on the River Awe and when we got there we found that all three gates were open on the dam releasing so much water that the top wave, normally found just below the dam, was completely washed out.
There were plenty of other boaters about with parties from Glasgow Kayak Club, Stirling and Falkirk Canoe Club and Kyle Kayak Club all making the most of the excellent conditions on the river. A quick shuttle got one car and our dry clothes to the Taynuilt pier and then we set off on what proved to be an excellent trip in big volume warm(ish) water.
The graveyard section provided the first test however it was nowhere near as technical as it is when there is less water. There were some huge stoppers to be avoided but these were easy to see and provided minimum difficulty. The main issues here were about getting used to paddling in what was to all intents and purposes spate conditions. The river thundered along like an express train and we went with it making the most of the numerous playspots, surf waves, eddies and other features that we found along the way. The classic rapids such as railway bridge, magnetic boulder and the washing machine flew by all too quickly although we stopped and made the most of each one as we progressed down the river. At one point Sandy suggested stopping for lunch but we were all having way too much fun and lunch was left for the get-out.