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White Water Rafting

Irene Cahill
There was plenty of splashing during our recent trip up to the River Orchy. This is rafting at its best! A 'full-on' Alpine style that has no respect for anyone daring to travel along its twisting path.

If you are looking for the most challenging, exciting, and pure adrenaline buzzing white water, then this is for you.

This is not a river for the faint of heart, raft it if you dare!

Air na Creagan is planning a trip sometime late in October or beginning of November 2003, when the river grows from a trickle into a raging maelstrom.

Irene, David, Judy and friends experienced what it felt like being hurled through the rapids of the river Orchy, and recommend it to anyone who is looking for that special adrenaline buzz.
Below is Irene's story on here recent trip to the Bridge of Orchy.

1 December 2002 - When David and Judy asked me if I wanted to join them and their friends on a rafting trip, I quickly said yes without thinking. On the week before the trip I started to get apprehensive. What on earth was I thinking about! I'm 45 years old and should be having a more settled life.

Am I going through a mid life crisis? Well if that's the case then I've been going through it for the past 5 years with no
signs of it abating. On Sunday 1
December, the day of the trip, it had been raining constantly for 24 hours.

As we drove along Loch Lomond we noticed waterfalls from the mountains which we had never noticed before. Oh no does that mean the River Orchy is in full flow? My heart was pounding and had butterflies in my stomach. Seems a bit rich considering teaching anxiety management techniques is part of my job.

We arrived at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel by 10am. We met up with the instructors and other groups. We were taken to the bunkhouse and kitted out with wet suits, jackets, life jackets boots and helmet. Getting into a wet suit is skill. I was exhausted just getting dressed in the gear.
We went behind the bunkhouse where three rafts and paddles were waiting for us. We were divided into rafts and taught the basics by the instructor. We then had to carry the raft to the waters edge. The first few minutes were gentle and our instructor, Marty from New Zealand, was trying to make us feel relaxed. This was difficult when one of the girls kept saying "we're going to die".

The first rapid was called the 'Orgasm';, which was certainly memorable for me! Marty told us to watch for the horizon to disappear, that was a sign of rapids ahead. Whenever we saw the horizon disppear, all you could hear was "Oh my God!"; Each rapid became more exciting. 

The rapids have been given names like Chicken Shoot, Sheep Trolley Gorge and Witches Step. The most dangerous rapid we encountered was Easan Dubh. I can't describe the feeling of doom just before we went over the edge. I have not much recollection of it as I just hung on for grim death and shut my eyes. On one rapid we managed to get trapped on top of a rock. Marty tried bouncing the raft but to no avail. Then we had to move our positions to try and change the weight on the raft to see if that freed us but unfortunately nothing happened. Then Marty got out onto the rock and dragged the raft off then jumped in. Just before lunch we had to get out the rafts was walk along the river's edge missing out a rapid that was too dangerous. The rafts went over it without the crew and the instructors jumped into them as they passed by at the bottom. We also reached a high rock where the kamikaze among us, were jumping off into the unknown. That is crazy as far as I'm concerned.
It was a brilliant day and we went back to the bunkhouse for showers before heading to the pub. If anyone is interested in a trip in the autumn, please let me now.

Affiliated to:
Mountaineering Council of Scotland
Mountain Bothies Association
Scottish Youth Hostels Association