I feel pretty lucky to live in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. I also feel pretty luck to have the River Spey run right past the school where I am principal and also right part my house in the next village along.
The River Spey is a wonderful river. The river is famous for its expensive (and expensive) salmon fishing. But also in my eyes equally famous for its reputation as one of the great Scottish Canoe Expedition Rivers (along with the Tay, Tweed and Scottish Dee). You can paddle on the Spey for a day trip or spend five days enjoying the beauty of this very special place.
My old pal Clive Burgess and I paddled the river this October half term. We didn’t hang around paddling from Kingussie to Spey Bay in 2.5 days (and that included time to enjoy a few malts!). Despite having paddled together all over the world from the Alps to Canada to Alaska it was the first time we had actually shared a canoe together – which caused its normal degree of amusement! It was a great trip.
I’ve now paddled the river in its full length four times and some sections probably close to a hundred times with various school groups or in training. It is always enjoyable and has that nice ‘wild’ feeling that goes with camping outside and cooking on a portable woodburner.
One great thing about this years decent was the addition of Nancy Chambers new book, ‘The River Spey Canoe Guide: a canoeist and kayakers guide to Scotland’s premier touring river’ . Which, BTW, is a great read for anyone who had paddled the River Spey (to spark a few memories) or anyone who is thinking of drifting down its entire length or one of its many sections? It really is a very detailed guide and I particularly like the attention to detail regarding the history of the River and the wildlife. Well-done Nancy! A great addition to the Pesda Press Collection of Canoe Guides.
Here is a wee clip on Nancy in action on one of the most popular (and boucy) sections of the river. You will also get an idea of the beauty of the River Spey.
See you on the river!