On Friday Team FlowFree burned up the M6 for a very cold and (at times) very wet weekend in Scotland including the first ever Etive River Race. We arrived as the sun went down and got a cheeky run down the race section in super-low water.
Rick Foster on Right Angle – Photo: Jon Davies
Everyone was expecting rain overnight but the sky was so clear, it was hard to imagine. We went to sleep in our shed-like wendy house safe in the knowledge we’d be racing a medium-low Etive in the morning.
But no! The heavens opened and a gale force wind drove in through the mountains all night and all the following morning. The Etive rose beyond recognition and the event organisers were forced to move the event to the tamer section of water upstream of Triple Step. Water levels changed all day reacting directly to how much it was raining and the wind was pretty much relentless. The race became no longer a challenge of skill combined with speed, stamina and judgement; but a flatwater battle against the elements. A Jackson Rocker was never going to be the craft that was first over the finish line!
Dispite the set-backs Mother Nature threw at it, Etive River Race proved to be a well-organised and successful event pulled off with style. Had it have been possible to race on the section planned, I have no doubt it would have been a World Class event. See www.etiveriverrace.co.uk for photos and results.
Lowri on the Kinglass: if only everyone had been so far behind in the race! – Photo: Rick Foster
As soon as the rain stopped, the rivers began to drop instantly. The Etive had dropped to something most people would recognise even as the minibuses took the last competitors out of the glen. Making the most of the water and the sunshine while it lasted, Team FF blasted down the Kinglass before heading to the prize-giving.
Lowri & Jon present Adam & Jonathan with a bumper cheque
FlowFree sponsored the event by donating a Steep Creeking course to the winners of the 16-18yrs category. The deserving team of Jonathan Hiam and Adam Cox were chuffed to pieces with their prize.
That night, temperatures of minus 11 were recorded in our ‘chalet-style’ hut. Needless to say, a good cooked breakfast was in order! Once we’d thawed out, we headed to the Orchy for a final fling before the long drive back to Wales…
Jon does the ‘Harry Potter’ on the Orchy – Photos: Lowri Davies
The drive turned out to be the biggest adventure of all! It seemed Wales had recieved similar rainfall the night after Scotland, which wasn’t a problem until I tried to drive through mid-Wales with limited fuel at night (note: petrol stations between Denbigh and Aberystwyth are all closed after 10pm).
2 closed roads, 3 wheel-deep floods, 1 jerry-can of diesel and a million suicidal sheep later I finally arrived back in Aberystwyth!