Whitewater Guide River Ericht

Today I paddled the River Ericht. We lost a boat after a rescue took longer than it was possible to go chasing after it 🙁

There’s no guide to the Ericht on ukriversguidebook so here’s one I’ve written which I’ll submit to him.


Level: There is a SEPA gage on the river, anything above 0.9m is paddleable. http://www.sepa.org.uk/water/river_levels/river_level_data.aspx?id=14956
Length: 5km
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Grades: 2/3 (5)


The Ericht put in is from the old section of A93 which is now a gated road two miles north of Blairgowrie. Access to the road is from the north end, once you get onto the new section of A93 watch for a turning on the right opposite a sign marked “Manor Farm Private”. There is an unlocked gate with an SCA sign 20m into the road. The road is no longer maintained so watch out for trees, mud and leaves. Park in the layby 100m north of the closed metal bridge. It is a steep 50m long scramble down a muddy bank to a small eddy in the river, use ropes to get the boats down.

The get out is river left above the weir at Keithbank Mill, walk along the path and over the footbridge to Keithbank Mill (now luxury flats) where you can park. Cargill’s Leap is just below Keithbank Mill and is avoided by all but the daft. An alternative get out is to paddle into Blairgowrie and get out above or below the bridge.


The first 2km is grade 2 with limited gaps for breathers/rescues. The lines are clear and there are few hazards.

Beyond the the A93 bridge there is a final grade 2 rapid before the river goes up a notch and becomes fairly constant grade 3 until Keithbank Mill. Bigger waves and steeper rapids including a broken weir, the unstable confluence with Lornty Burn coming from the right and a pipe crossing above.

The weir at Keithbank mill has a steep angle and best avoided (the normal take out is above it). Shortly after is the grade 5 Cargill’s Leap which includes two narrow channels both with hard recirculation below. The top narrow channel has a chicken shoot on river right but it ends directly in the recirculation which will push you onto the stone bank.

The weir at Blairgowrie is reported to be paddleable and a surf wave appears below the bridge at hight levels.


Cargill’s Leap is a notable hazard and counts the death of one paddler researching for the SCA’s Scottish White Water guidebook.

The section above the get in from Bridge of Calley includes the scenic but hazardus Craighall’s Gorge. This is hard to portage and once features on the BBC’s 999 programme after novice paddlers got stuck and had to be rescued by climbers.


Open Whitewater Maps, coming soon

Copyright Jonathan Riddell 2009, may be freely copied with the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Scotland Licence.