The Leny, Callendar

The Leny was really my first taste of white water and since we’ve run it numerous times, I wanted to put in writing how much I love this stretch of river. The first time I ran it at 0.8, swimming about 70% of the time, I knew it was going to teach me a thing or two about kayaking on white water.  Please note I’ve only run this at a maximum 0.9 and know from kayaking pals that the whole river changes above this level. I know this is probably quite obvious but I wanted to include the note and if I ever get to the point of running it above a metre I’ll be sure to add to the entry.

We run this from the put in, a long layby just passed the turning for the Ben Ledi Car Park, to the get out, a public car park just passed the Lade Inn, on the left.

From the get in until the 1st bridge, there are no real rapids and this gives you time to warm up by ferry gliding and catching eddies. As you come up to the bridge catch an eddy on either side to have a look at it because there are some challenging eddies to try and make on the way down. This rapid is good for practicing ferry gliding or surfing a wave in the higher levels, but is actually quite a tiring rapid as it’s  relatively narrow and can flow quite fast.

Fergus ferry gliding

A little further down the river on the left hand side, there is a small play hole we normally practice bracing in or shooting across. It’s relatively forgiving however, there are a couple of rocks directly below so ensure you have a quick role or a solid brace!

Dani below the play hole

There is a train of big bouncy rapids just before the falls and on the right hand side, the remains of a railway bridge. On the way down there are a few eddies to retreat to if the speed is too much. Make sure you make Last Gasp Eddy on the right as this is directly above the falls, dropping into the eddy as far right as possible. There is a small drop and at higher levels the stopper could cause a capsize! Portage is moderately easy here but make sure you stop and have a look at the falls!

Ian running the falls

You get back in at a large deep pool, great for practicing roles, edging, bracing etc before making your way towards Wee Stinker. I’ve always run this just right of the middle, before curving slightly to the right to hit right of the rock above Wee Stinker before the drop, ensuring a smoother landing.  Again, at higher levels the landing can be rather bumpy so really positive strokes off the drop and keep paddling out of it.

Ewan running Wee Stinker  

From here there is a bouncy stretch just before S-Bend. S-Bend can be handled a few different ways so suggest getting out for a look before attempting, if you’re unsure.

Generally I run it by eddy hopping down the right and hitting the last eddy before the bend. Take care in getting into this eddy as there is a guard rock located at the top of the eddy which has caught many a paddler out, so try and catch it a bit further down than normal. Depending on the level you can miss out S-Bend and go down the chicken shoot but the rapid is such a thrill to ride!

Fergus on the surf wave at S-bend

From the eddy, ferry glide to the other side, however there is a big surf wave in the way! Try to stay as high up as you can, concentrating on giving positive and hard paddle strokes and either go into the eddy on the left or turn on the rapid and shoot down the curve. I’ve capsized on the hole before, tucked up and dropped into the pool where I rolled back up but I did take a few knocks. This is a grade 3/4 which is mainly that is due to the hole in the middle and the stopper at the bottom. It’s also far easier at 0.7 as even at 0.8 the whole dynamics change.

For the rest of the river, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty, but keep alert and ready for rocks as the remainder can sometimes be a bit of a scrape.

NOTE: Watch out for hidden rocks. I’ve paddled the river up to 0.9 and there have always been something to catch you out. Also if this is your first time running the river, I’d recommend getting out for a wee look at anything you aren’t sure of but Wee Stinker and S-Bend if nothing else.

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