Tanking Down The Teith….Or Was It The Tay?


By JohnP

No swimmers today so I am going to make a bid to retain “Blogger of the Year 2020” and tackle the Trip Report.

Seen the Teith higher but not much and it was tearing along. We were glad that we didn’t hit the Tay today!

The weather couldn’t make up its mind and for a moment it was a glorious morning as we drove into Callander with the sun sitting high on the snow-topped mountains….beautiful. Nine hardy paddlers gathered in the car park and I was so shocked to actually arrive after Andy and Joan. Not a good start. Our paddling team included: Joan, Andy, SarahMary, Dougie, The Two Jim’s (as I am now affectionately labelling them), Crooner John, Stevie J and yours truly. After the shuttle, the heavens opened which would set the theme for the first half of the trip. Safety talk and then exchange of emergency contacts on bits of paper that included fag packets and tissues (unused of course).

No seal launches today as the water was rapidly approaching the car park and we were all soon on the water and ferry gliding like swans at the first bridge. Well, maybe more like squabbling geese as we fought for space in the non-existent eddys! Best course of action was to keep moving downstream. At this point Andy seemed to be dragging his paddle so we all eddied out to wait. Then we realised he hadn’t taken Joan’s advice at the get-in and now needed a pee ?. For you young paddlers you will understand one day. With no cover Andy took a lot of abuse and for the rest of us it was just as well it was so cold!

Not many playspots today but some lovely wave trains. The sort that wake up the unwary paddler as you get a lovely face full of cold Scottish water. Definitely wakes you up! However, Jim N searched for, and found, every possible wave. So much so Dougie was convinced he was on something as he weaved left, right, crossing the river constantly to hunt down those surfing opportunities.

Sooner than expected we reached the lunch spot and the sun came out. Crooner John burst into life to continue his paddling serenade. Unfortunately he only seemed to know the first line of every song and was lucky not to go for a forced swim at one point. We were convinced Jim N had slipped something into his tea! Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse the “bag lady” appeared. Joan had borrowed various hats and jackets to keep warm and all she was missing was a shopping trolley full of her life’s possessions?. We were then treated to an im promptu Threesome Reel as our Still Game team of Isa (Joan), Jack (John) and Victor (Andy) danced around the picnic table. Jim then watched in a trance as SarahMary slipped backwards off her seat and woke up just in time to give her the support she had shouted at him for ?. Bang went that £250 from Harry Hill!

Time to get back on the water. Our own Bing Crosby requested a wee hand to get the spray deck back on and yours truly obliged. However, he got his own back for the Still Game jokes as I tried to give him a push back onto the water. Just as I went to give his boat a big push, John gave himself a push and I slid down the bank alongside his boat, only just avoiding going head first into the freezing Teith. Last time I help auld Bing!

On the way down the next few wave trains SarahMary decided to take over from Stevie J as the lead paddler although I am not sure initially it was meant. Off she went like a bullet with Dougie shouting at me to get closer. No chance. She had her “in the zone” head on so no one was catching her as she successfully negotiated two lengthy runs. Stevie was then sacked as the line finder.

Andy was bringing up the rear again and we thought maybe the old boy needed to go again. But no, he had risked life and limb going into a strainer with a back current to find Wilson! Those of you who don’t know Wilson, he/she makes an appearance on most rivers at some point, but mainly The Doon where he/she has lots of brothers and sisters. The only problem with this particular Wilson was that he was bust!! But he followed us almost all the way to Torrie Falls.

First time I had seen Torrie minus the big eddy river right. A few of us just managed to hit what was left of the eddy and advised the others just to run straight through. SarahMary kindly allowed Stevie to retain his crown of line finder and he cooly navigated the falls. Joan’s famous drop was washed out today and the Teith was running so fast there was no eddying out after the falls which meant that we all kept pushing through the last wave train all the way to the get out.

Teamwork at the get out and one of Jim N’s nifty inventions meant we made short work of getting the boats back to the cars. The last laugh was reserved for Crooner John who was being tooted by a load of cars as he walked back to the cars with about 6 paddles. What he didn’t realise was the way he carried them meant the blades protruded into the road, scaring the life out of the unsuspecting motorists ???

No swims today which was an excellent result and some big water with exciting wave trains. Great company again and fortunately no coughers so we don’t need to self-isolate.

Looking forward to April paddle!!!