The River Teith at Callander, is a real gem of a river. It was one of our local rivers when we lived in Stirling pre little trekkers and I dread to think how many times I’ve actually paddled it. From quick post work summer evening paddles, to giving beginners their first taste of moving water. I’ve paddled it when it’s been so low you’ve had to bump over every rock as you’ve scraped your way down and so high the carpark at the start has been well and truly underwater and the paddle has been over in a blur. So you’d think now this old favourite is back on our doorstep we’d be there most weekends. I’m ashamed to say although we’ve been back in Scotland a few years now we still hadn’t paddled it. Well that needed to be rectified as soon as possible.
Despite knowing the river like the back of my hand, I still have a very healthy respect for it. I’ve been quite weary about taking James and Sophie on moving water. Whilst I know they are old enough and hopefully wise enough to follow instructions and not get in the way too much, there’s always room for the unexpected to happen. It doesn’t take much for a rock to jump out of nowhere and easily pin an open boat. But when faced with a gloriously sunny day, I knew I couldn’t keep talking myself out of it forever and we really should just go for it.
One of the reasons I love the Teith so much is that it builds up gradually with the only named rapid being right at the end. This means you can practise on the easy bits and build it up as you move downstream. We practiced our breaking in and out of the flow behind some bridge stanchions at the start and even found a few waves to have a little surf on. It wasn’t long before we reached the main event – Torry Rapid. This is the most challenging water we have taken the kids on so far and although still not overly hard, the waves are still big enough to break over the side of the boat and give everyone a soaking. I was a bit worried that Sophie and James might be a bit apprehensive about it. They had really enjoyed the trip so far and I really didn’t want to put them off, So we stopped at the top to give them a good look. Both gave an unanimous thumbs up, so off we set. I needn’t have worried they were both whooping with delight and asking us to drag the boats back up for another go before we’d even reached the bottom.
Our first white water trip was a great success and it’s definitely going be something we’ll be looking to do more off in the future. I think it might be time to get all our old white water guide books out of retirement and give them a dust down.
About the Author
About Me & Mine
James' family is James' (aged 7 months), daddy - Dominic, mummy - Helena and Jarvis the dog. We currently live in Norwich but head to the mountains of Snowdonia and the Lake District as often as we can.
Before James was born we were a very active family doing lots of canoeing, hill walking, camping and snowboarding. Since having James we are determined that having a family and enjoying the outdoors are both possible. We are keen to make sure James can not only join in with our adventures, but that he will be happy and comfortable at the same time.
Favourite place in the world:
It's a tough choice but Arisaig on the West coast of Scotland gets our vote. With the whitest sand and bluest sea we've seen, you have to keep reminding yourself you're in Scotland rather than a tropical paradise. The views out towards the Small Isles and the Cuillins on Skye are stunning; it really is a magical place. With sea kayaks it's easy to find your own private beach - well apart from the odd otter (real ones rather than Spotty ones) and seal to share it with. It's definitely somewhere we plan to take James to as soon as possible.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
We are keen canoeists and love to get out on the water as much as possible - whitewater, flat water touring or sea kayaking; we're not fussed as long as it's wet. We are both qualified instructors and enjoy passing on our love of paddle sports to others at our local canoe club. We have already has our own little bow paddler in the making, James, out in the canoe and are looking forward to many more trips.
We also do a lot of walking. We get out everyday to visit our local woods and parks to walk our coker spaniel, Jarvis. When we get the chance though, we prefer something a bit more challenging and regularly visit the mountains of Snowdonia and the Lake District. James' dad Dom, is a qualified mountain leader and is keen to pass on these skils as soon as possible.