/ Geldie Burn ford
I know the ford isn't crossable in spate, but how easily does it go into spate? I am due to be crossing it next weekend with some teenagers, everyone will have sandals or similar for crossing so we know it will be a wet foot crossing. This week is not looking like the driest, is it likely to be enough to render the Geldie Burn uncrossable?
It looks like a lovely route, so I hope it's ok!!
I don't know - but am interested, as it's the bad weather alternative to going over the tops from Blair Atholl to Aviemore which is on the cards for August!
The Burn at Geldie Lodge Ford can be a problem in really bad weather with days of continuous rain, The sides of the Glen are not so steep as to generally cause a rapid increase in levels to spate.
Several times over the years I have redirected groups to the West of the ford to look at easier crossings heading towards the Eidart bridge catching in the path to Carn Ealar. The Burn is narrower so may be easier, we would take a 30 Mtr safety rope just in case.
Just out of interest, how would you use the rope? Would someone go over and hold the other end like a handrail?
I was under the impression that if you were tied to a rope with only one person holding it and you lost your footing, that you would be pulled to the bottom downstream?
Ropes are generally considered to be a bad idea for crossing streams/rivers. Its just too easy to end up dead.
"The use of a rope should only be considered as a last resort, because it can provide a very effective way of drowning someone if used inappropriately. Research into methods of dealing with safety in swift moving water has demonstrated that the security offered by a rope is often illusory."
If you're at all unsure of a river crossing like that with a group of young people I'd recommend looking to involve someone with an HML or ML qualification or, at the very least, discuss it with them.
I have my ML! It doesn't mean you know every river in Scotland intimately! No one should ever think they are above asking for information from people who have been there and know the area better.
Thanks. I did wonder about options further West. Looks like you would have to go quite a distance to get the river significantly smaller, so probably not a great option for this group. I think if it's not possible at the fords then we will probably change the route.
I don't like ropes for river crossings. If we can't do without a rope then that is also time to change the route.
Overall (like most of Scotland) the Eastern Cairngorms hills are relatively dry underfoot (particularly at elevation) due to lower than average precipitation over the winter and spring, consequently I'd be surprised if episodic rain events (as are forecast) would cause the Geldie to rise and stay high at the moment as the ground is not saturated, nor would I expect it rise dramatically quickly, run-off will be retarded, except if we get very heavy rain.
The forecast is for intermittent rain at present rather than constant. Obviously if the forecast changes and we get more rain than forecast, or if there is a specific high intensity deluge focused over the catchment (e.g. heavy thunder storm), this advice will not hold.
The eastern Cairngorm rivers have risen a little bit (dcm's rather than meters) following the w/e rain, but the hydrograph (and the view out of my kitchen window) shows they are rapidly falling. Gauging station data broadly supports my anecdotal observations of the effect of the winter and spring precipitation; with the current level at Mar Lodge on the Dee and Marble lodge on the Tilt, being at the bottom of their 'normal' ranges, close to being categorized as low flow:
Cool, I totally agree with your point, you didn't mention that in your original message so I felt it worth checking.
> Overall (like most of Scotland) the Eastern Cairngorms hills are relatively dry underfoot.
I was with a D of E group in that area last week and I can assure you it was pretty wet for the time of year underfoot. It is only going to get wetter this week.
> The Burn is narrower so may be easier, we would take a 30 Mtr safety rope just in case.
Dodgy advice on both counts. As others have said, if you need to even consider a rope, then you should not be crossing. And it is almost always going to be better to cross a river where it is widest and therefore less deep and/or less fast flowing. It is wide at the standard crossing point on that route.
I agree with you it was wet last week, however that was one week in a overall dry winter and spring. The view from my kitchen window shows the Dee to be towards the lower edge of its normal range at the moment, but not dry 'low', the gauging stations from the upper reaches of all Cairngorms rivers; Findhorn & Don draining the North, Spey from the North and West, and the Tilt in the South West show the same.
As well as my anecdotal/personal visual evidence and yours from last week, Girlmonkey now has the SEPA links providing real-time quantitative measurements from the gauging stations to help her decision/corroborate forecast rain versus actual river response over the week. Allowing an evaluation, and also lets her place/evaluate your and my observations in context, and make a decision accordingly.
If my local observations are incorrect, and conversely your local observations and forecast predictions are correct the guaging stations will show the river rising through the week to high and not fall back......
Thanks for the detailed info and links. Very useful
Generally easier to cross than the Dee and I have crossed both in reasonable weather. The Geldie is easier with a bike as you can lean it on the upstream side as a sort of support.
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