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X-Scotland conclusions

Jun 15, 2024

Yes it is possible. Is it desirable? Unsure. But it wins in getting me to see stuff I now cherish and so much richer than sitting in an armchair watching i-player. I reminder to ‘do’ more and ‘watch’ less – whilst I can!

The ‘expedition’ had different style and challenge characteristics.

Sea to Arrachar. (Tidal, flat and a gunboat.)
Arrachar to Venachar Dam (Gradient acheived. Top of the World. The end of the Lochs.)
Venachar Dam to Doune (Change of kayak. Impossible in sea kayak. Pesky and dodgy at times. Exhausting.)
Doune to Stirling. (Fun. Except for the rubbish in and beside the river.)
Stirling to Alloa. (Back to sea kayak. Pleasant. Such a contrast. Lots of Recce required. Hard to access.)
Alloa to Charlestown. (Timing and tides. Mud. Get it wrong and you are stuffed. Very exposed at times)

In conclusion. I don’t think I can do this multi-role solo passaging for much longer. Just unwise, probably. Glad I have done it. Know why it is a very rare route.

Would I recommend it? I used everything I had. Knowledge and experience as a Level 3 Sea kayak coach and Level 4 Inland kayak coach with alpine whitewater experience years back. A famously good sea kayak design. An almost bombproof white water creek kayak. Background in sailing exposed waters and tidal effects. The caution and stamina of age – which sadly comes with weakening back muscles. Critical moment lessons – carry 2 pairs of sunglasses. Recce everything possible in tidal areas for Plan B AND C. Keep the camera charged – and yes, maybe a head-cam.
Finally – you can never have enough Tunnocks Caramel wafer bars.

If you have done this or know anyone who has – get in touch.

Those Vikings were awesome – such respect for their physicality and tenacity.

That’s all (for now) folks!