Having spent the last 20 years or so traveling down the River Tay in a variety of crafts, with a wide selection of friends, family, and clients, it is still a place that offers something new to me every time, a place I love to share.
Whether it is part of a team of rafts hitting rapids and playing games, with fun-yaks and families looking to make the most of their holidays, or of course, leading people and groups on guided paddleboarding (SUP) trips down this stunning river, the River Tay offers it all, to be explored, enjoyed and shared.
So, join me now, as I take you on a River Tay Paddleboarding journey from the village of Kenmore in the heart of Scotland, to the town of Aberfeldy on the beautiful River Tay, grab your paddleboard, some snacks, and come with me on an adventure, a stand-up paddleboarding adventure.
With all the necessary preparations done, weather and wind forecasts checked, gear packed (checked, and repacked!), food and drink loaded, people who need notifying…notified, and we are off.
SETTING OFF ON PADDLEBOARDING ADVENTURE
Heading out from Kenmore beach, on Loch Tay for the classic start to the journey, and with a few moments of choppy water leaving the shelter of the beach we make a right hand turn to make our way to Kenmore bridge and join the river under the old watchful eyes of the Kenmore Hotel (historic Inn and heart of the village), leading us into the remains of the Taymouth Castle Estate & Grounds.
We find ourselves surrounded by trees and woodland, the remains of the 18th-century gardens and arboretum. Lime, Birch, and Oak, interspersed with Larch and Firs provide the perfect mix of form and colour to line the river banks as we travel through the next few miles of Taymouth Estate.
As we are traveling by paddleboard, and certain rapids are best portaged for safety, it is time for a wee detour, walking around a tricky rapid, with the remains of the derelict ‘Chinese Bridge’ over the river…it’s no problem, just a chance to stretch out the legs after the initial start to the day’s river adventure trip, no worries at all.
CONTINUING OUR RIVER ADVENTURE
Rejoining the river just around the corner it is time to reengage with the trip, the surroundings, and the flow of the river. Slow down, take in a few deep breaths, and soak up the environment around us, the sound of the river, birds in the trees, and the time we are giving ourselves to enjoy this River Tay Paddleboarding adventure trip.
Our next section starts just above a local fishing spot – so after checking everything is clear, or signaling other river users of our intention to go past, we travel towards and under the other ruined bridge in the estate – ‘Newhall’ bridge, a category B listed, cast-iron arched bridge that used to connect the old village and kennels set in the estate grounds.
Some rapids are coming up, so it is time for us to tune in for the next section, we have some islands, winding corners, and small rapid sections to navigate, so we will go over our signals and approach to avoid any confusion … a great chance to work on some of the new river skills and techniques, river navigation and teamwork to enjoy this section to the fullest.
We find ourselves leaving the outskirts of the Taymouth estate, and coming to a junction in the river, where the flow from the River Lyon joins the Tay to continue its way towards Aberfeldy and beyond. After navigating this corner of the river where the two rivers meet, it’s time for a wee pause in the journey to have a drink and a snack break, soak up the surroundings, nature, and environment, the sounds, sights and smells that enhance our adventure.
RIVER TAY PADDLEBOARDING ADVENTURES…
The River Tay offers a wide range of challenges, experiences, and sections to enjoy and develop our bond with the river, and with Kenmore behind us, we can continue to enjoy our journey. Wider sections, open views of the valley, and room to enjoy the huge variety of wildlife that the river has on offer, from Dippers, Heron, and Kingfishers, through to Otters and Beavers, and of course the Salmon and Trout that swim all around us on our way downriver.
As we clock up the miles from our starting point, we find ourselves coming to the outskirts of Aberfeldy (a small market town in Highland Perthshire and my home), aided by the flow of the river, and energized by the journey, and a more natural pace of travel. The ‘Black Watch’ monument looks over to ‘Wades’ bridge and we are close to our finishing point on this section of the River Tay.
The River Tay winds its way around the town, under its two bridges (Wades & ‘The Bouncy Bridge’) and towards the Distillery that marks the end of our trip, some lovely wee rapids guide us on our way, and even some deep pools to cool off in, or the last chance practice of some new tricks.
This is the end of today’s River Tay Paddleboarding adventure, but not the end of the River Tay and all it has to offer, it continues to flow and wind its way east, leaving plenty more room for adventures and journeys another day.