I have always been attracted to water. Growing up, the joke in my family was always ‘Show Katie a puddle, swimming pool or river, and she’ll dive right in, clothes and all!’
I would not have called myself a particularly adventurous person, but I heard about canyoning through friends and – given my childhood penchant for water – just knew I had to give it a shot.
After doing some research online to find out what companies offer canyoning trips, I came across The Canyoning Company. Well, it says it all in the name…
As a complete novice to canyoning, I was recommended Bruar Canyon in Perthshire. On the day of my trip, I felt nervous and excited; nervous because it was my first time canyoning and excited as I was travelling to a place which I had never been before and was going to experience flowing down natural water flumes, jumping into pools from various heights and abseiling down waterfalls. The thought of this did slightly terrify me, however, I was assured that I did not have to do anything I did not want to do and the guides would be there to help me every step of the way.
After being warmly welcomed by the guides at the House of Bruar, they provided me with all the kit. I then struggled into the tight neoprene and we embarked on our adventure, which started with a 20 minute walk to the top of the Falls of Bruar through beautiful pine forest with sheer drops to the gorge edge where I could hear water thundering down. On the way up we stopped to catch our breath at a viewpoint, the guides pointed out the 20m waterfall that we would be canyoning down, this is when I knew I was in for a real adventure.
By the time we reached the top, my heart was already racing with excitement. I was itching to jump into the pools to cool down. However, before we started our descent we had to be shown by the guides the different skills necessary to get down the canyon safely, such as abseiling, jumping and moving on hand lines and, most importantly, how to stay safe while moving through the canyon.
The first jump took my breath away, but I soon warmed up. Following this, the canyon offered a non-stop adrenaline filled trip with slides up to 5m high, huge abseils and plenty of jumps! While we were travelling down the canyon, although I was nervous at some points, the guides helped and supported me all the way and their passion and enthusiasm kept me going. When we reached the halfway point, I did not think the trip could get any better until the guides pulled out chocolate bars and hot juice. This quick energy filled snack gave me a boost but also allowed me to stop and take in the impressive rock features and amazing views of the waterfalls.
We then arrived the lower part of the canyon where there was an optional 8m jump, I chose to go for it. As I was standing at the top of the jump I was a bit shaky but I just focused of the technique shown to me. 3,2,1 I took a big leap, as I was falling through air, my arms were all over the place trying to keep my balance, it felt like ages. Just before entering the water I brought my hands and feet together and took a big breath, water rushed down my back. As I came to the surface, I brought my hand to my head to give the OK signal, everybody was cheering and clapping, I was buzzing!
We kept on going with even more fun slides, jumps and abseils. The final natural feature of the canyon which we ventured down was a 6m abseil into pool surrounded by a massive arch, which we swam through and then climbed out. It was hi-fives all round.
To top it off, all the comical action shots taken on the day have now been added to the family album, ‘Katie’s water travels’!
This trip has definitely given me the bug, and I can’t wait to try other canyons in Scotland.