This weekend we ran a West to East expedition. The weather was fantastic; the previous week it had poured filling the rivers up nicely. We met up on Friday afternoon and went for a quick paddle on the Balgy so everyone could get used to their boats with a flavour for what lay ahead.
On Saturday morning we were whisked off to Achnasheen for our start at Loch a Chroisg. This was one of the unique elements of the trip as the water that starts here flows all the way to our finish point, the Moray Firth, making it a Source to Sea trip as well. We flew down the River Bran; with perfect levels and great weather, the trip couldn’t have started better. Spotting deer along the way, we portaged our kayaks round the hydro scheme at Lochluichart – thankfully this wasn’t so bad as we managed to stay on the rivers for quite a while and what bits we did have to drag out kayaks along were all downhill. We left the last signs of civilization at Lochluichart and meandered our way into the hills for out night in the abandoned village by the loch. In the evening we got the fire going, food out and watched the sunset over the loch.
On Sunday we negotiated a couple more dams. The weather was still holding and the scenery changed quite remarkably; no longer were we surrounded by towering mountains but instead we started to submerged in the rolling hills of the east with over-hanging trees and the gentle meandering rivers. It was a perfect day, with glorious weather and an almost constant river to help us. The final stage saw us paddling out onto the Moray Firth as the tide ebbed, with seagulls instead of eagles flying over us and a sandy end to the trip.