River crossing – memory

These words below are from an incident in 1982 when a USAF 111 crashed on Sgur Na Stri on Skye on December.

“The first obstacle was the river it was snowing pitch dark but there was a very rickety bridge which we avoided in the dark. We were high on adrenaline and were soon across, following my dog swimming the fast flowing river. It was bitter cold and the smell of aviation fuel and burning was unmistakable.” It was so cold and we had an all night search and bivouacked at the crash site till next morning.

The old bridge at Camusunary Skye now gone

I was out the other day over in the West the rivers were so high due to constant heavy rain. I crossed the bridge near the bothy it needed a bit of TLC and took care. A slip here in the water would have been serious.

Bridge to the bothy

My walks across Scotland in the 70’s gave me a great respect for Ricer crossings as we were coming of the big hills often in in familiar territory. I have been on a few Call outs where folk have had to bivy as they could not cross the river due to the it’s depth and power. Coming of in a dark winters night can be tricky enough without dealing with a flooded fast flowing river !

As always – https://www.mountaineering.scot/safety-and-skills/weather-conditions/river-crossings. Has great advice

River crossing in the great outdoors

Blue on the map is water, but what the map doesn’t signify is how easy or hard the water will be to cross. It might be a simple case of jumping from one bank of a stream to another, hopping across a few boulders in the burn, or swapping boots for crocs and braving the cold for a few metres across a shallow river. Or it may not.

You can get a guide to width, at least, by looking closely at how the water is depicted on an Ordnance Survey map. Streams are shown as a single blue line, where thickness is proportionate to the stream’s width, and where the single blue line splits into two, with light blue shading in between, that means the river is more than 8 metres wide.

But regardless of width, in times of heavy rainfall or snow melt the burns and rivers in the mountains of Scotland can present a serious and potentially dangerous challenge.

Lots more information on the website – if in doubt do not cross !

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Bothies, Local area and events to see, mountain safety, Mountaineering, People, SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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