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Monday, 30 September 2013

The Tay from Perth to Broughty Ferry

The river Tay is the longest river in Scotland. It originates on the slopes of Ben Lui to reach loch Tay and from there it flows via Aberfeldy and Dunkeld to Perth. Here it slows and soon opens up to reach the North Sea to the East of Dundee. Last Wednesday it looked as if the weather and tide times were good enough for paddling from Perth to Broughty Ferry on Saturday and Phil Butler e-mailed plenty of tips. Soon Dave, Katie, Phil, Mark, Stuart, Gordon, Ana and myself joined the team and we met Saturday at 8.30 h at a slipway near the railway bridge. Here is the route...
... and here we are getting ready for the launch just after 9 am which was two hours before high tide at Perth. Two hours before high tide is a good time to start. 
 Here is Mark in his 'Amastra' waiting for everyone to enter the water. 
No wind and as a result the Tay was mirror-like for the first few miles. We made good progress especially after high tide which was at 11:02 h at Perth... 
... to reach Newburgh just before noon for the first break. We did not hang about as we knew that we could now ride the tide for 2-3 hours.  
 Here we set off again...
... and soon the fog lifted and some blue was visible in the sky. Also a weak Easterly started to blow and slow us down. 
 The second, brief stop was at Balmerino which was roughly 2/3rd of the way. 
After that we could see the two Dundee bridges. Here is Dave crossing the car bridge... 
... and here are Stuart and Ana paddling at a good pace after the bridges.  
Low tide Dundee was at 15.30 h and as it was a neap tide it only slowed us down a little. Last week an oil rig had moored in Dundee for an overhaul. 
 Here is Ana approaching it... 
 ... and here she is passing it. We were a bit close and a guy in a speedboat came and kept us away.
For me the paddler of the day was Stuart who thanks to an improved paddling technique (thanks to all our coaches, you have done a great job!) and thanks to plenty of kayak mileage had no problem completing the trip. Here, he is near Broughty Ferry castle... 
 ... and here is Ana approaching the beach after the castle. 
Mark had a GPS and it showed that we had paddled 26 miles, a full Marathon. A fantastic day for a great team of experienced paddlers and novices who have accumulated some kayak mileage over the summer. 
Finally the team photo in Broughty Ferry!
Maybe an annual journey?