Wash Day On The River Spey

by Paul Kirtley

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Rapids on the River Spey, Scotland

This day became known as “wash day”. Photo: Paul Kirtley

Every year Ray Goodwin and I lead canoe-camping trips on the River Spey in the Scottish Highlands.

It’s a lovely river to paddle in an open boat and the surrounding scenery is beautiful.

Travelling in such a fantastic natural environment, there are many highlights.

Amongst the highlights of a watery nature are several rapids which we paddle on the Thursday of our trips, one at Blacksboat, very popularly referred to as The Washing Machine and Knockando, one of the steepest parts of the whole river. This paddling day also includes the confluence of the River Avon with the River Spey.

The above is usually paddled by lunchtime, then there is plenty to entertain and entrall during the afternoon. It’s always a great day on a great trip.

On one of our 2015 trips, this day became known as “wash day” by members of our group.

The video below is a video blog of that day.


Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog:

Waiting For Gooders: A Minor Inconvenience In The Wilderness

Switching Out Of An Expedition Mindset: Two Days Of Paddling At The English Canoe Symposium

Bloodvein River Trip: My Personal Gear

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Paul Kirtley is an award-winning professional bushcraft instructor. He is passionate about nature and wilderness travel. In addition to writing this blog Paul owns and runs Frontier Bushcraft, a wilderness bushcraft school, offering bushcraft courses and wilderness expeditions.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }


Great stuff Paul! Looking forward to learning the basics from both you and Ray in the Lake District next year! (Bought his book, might bring it with me for both your autographs… :p )


Paul Kirtley



Bert Heemskerk

It was a pleasure to journey with you, Ray and the others!



What a fun ride! Thanks for taking us along 🙂


Andrew Casey

Looks like serious amounts of fun was had. Maybe one day I’ll come paddling. I need to get the fundamentals of the outdoors down before I move on up to the advanced stuff. It would be interesting to see what it would be like on a rainy day.


Danny barrett

Great video!was it human error or just bad luck that made the canoe tip?


Paul Kirtley

More bad luck than anything Danny 🙂


hamish morton

Excellent . I want to go again!
Looks like great water and weather.


Paul Kirtley

The Spey never loses it’s appeal Hamish 😉


Jim Watkins

Thanks Paul
That was one great video. It almost makes the viewer feel they are aboard the canoe trip in person.
Looks like the crew enjoyed the experience and the river gorgeous. I am glad you folks have such places in UK to experience the outdoors. The river and flora look similar to some water-ways in Oregon and
Washington. Let’s go guys!


Paul Kirtley

Hey Jim, it’s always good to hear from you and I’m very glad to have been able to take you on a bit of a virtual ride with this video. Cheers, Paul


John Jackson

A great vid Paul. Gives a real flavour of the trip. Makes me want to finish making my canoe and get it on the water! Hope to see you next year at some point.


Paul Kirtley

Thanks John.

I hope to see you next year too (and hear about your finished boat) 🙂

Warm regards,



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