The River Etive has to be one of the best white water runs in Scotland. At grade III – IV the middle Etive from the road bridge to Dalness falls is by far the best section.
The middle Etive is a 3 mile drop run separated by small rapids. The first rapid is known as Triple Falls which is graded at a grade III+. The stopper are pretty grippy. Setting up bank support is easy and is highly recommended.
The next notable fall is known as Letterbox which again is a grade IV fall. Take a line far river left. A hundred yards further down stream is Ski Jump (grade III+). This is a straight forward chute into a deep plunge pool.
The white water eases off until the Crack of Doom (grade IV) is reached. The plunge pool here is shallow and with longer boats a vertical pin is possible. Again the grade drops until you hit The Rock Slide at grade IV. A line river left takes you down a bumpy ride to a large drop pool.
From here on in the stakes are raised as you sneak up on the larger drops. The Waterfall (grade IV) has a pretty narley run in to the 6-7m fall and a boulder field that follows. This long grade IV section is a classic piece of white water.
At Alltchaorunn lies a 2m drop at grade IV+. Bank cover is recommended and easy to set up. The bridge at Alltchaorunn is a pretty good egress point as a long flat section lies ahead until the grade V fall is hit at Dalness.
These grade V falls are known as the Pot Hole and represent a pretty serious bit of water. The Pot Hole is split into three falls all of which can catch you out if you aren’t careful. Inspection is advisable if you haven’t ran the Etive before.
From Dalness down the river eases to a grade II with one further grade IV fall. A 7 mile paddle for one decent fall may well put a lot of boaters off continuing and further down. The choice is yours!
(Images by Bigjeff)