• Jonny Hawkins

Best Scottish Grade 4 Rivers

Scotland is a truly world class destination for white water kayaking. Our stunning scenery, varied geology and abundant rainfall combine to deliver the best days out. Following on from my popular "Best Grade 3 Scottish Rivers", I thought I'd share some amazing grade 4 rivers with the aim to excite and inspire you to experience them for yourself.


Middle Etive - Possibly the most iconic river in Scotland. It's beautiful, photogenic pool drop rapids tumble over ancient granite, set in a rugged and remote feeling glen. Many kayakers experience "free-fall" for the first time on the many waterfalls and never look back. For the more adventurous, the Etive Tribs offer a great intro to walk-in boating, with some improbable looking drops up for grabs.

River, Etive, Triple, Step, kayak, pyranha
The classic Triple Step on the Middle Etive

Upper Morriston - The fear sitting in Top Drop eddy, the satisfaction of skipping away from Sticky Hole, the elation looking back from below Cheesgrater. This run delivers so much emotion in such a short section. The 500m run allows you to lap it again and again and the dam release provides quality white water in the sun when everything else is bone dry.

River, Moriston, Top drop, kayak, dam release, grade 4, scotland
Enjoying a good line down the left side of the Moriston Top Drop

Findhorn Gorge - This beautiful gorge can be paddled at very low levels up to monstrous flows with no two runs feeling the same. Beech trees line its rocky banks, lighting up like a rainbow in the Autumn. A picturesque path runs down river right allowing you to enjoy a quick blast followed by a leisurely jog back up to the car (if you are that way inclined).


Roy Gorge - One of my favourite sections of whitewater in Scotland. Warm up on the alpine like Upper, drop into the meat of the Gorge and enjoy playing all the way down the Lower to Roy Bridge. Add on the Middle Spean and Spean Gorge for a truly classic day of Scottish boating. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face :)

River, Roy, Gorge, kayak, grade 4, white water, scotland
Jess dropping into one of the many classic grade 4 on the Roy Gorge

Einig - The most remote and exploratory rivers on this list. In the distant north of Scotland, this beauty combined with a night in the Schoolhouse Bothy, the Rappach Water and the River Corriemulzie makes for a really adventurous trip. The river is set deep in a beautiful gorge, with lovely moves on all of the rapids and one slightly harder drop if you are feeling on your 'A game'.

River, Einig, Far North, Kayak, Pyranha,
Richard enjoying some air time off '99 With Flake'

I hope this has inspired you to check out some of these classic runs and have lots of fun doing so. If you wanted to enjoy these rivers with the safety net of an instructor, our Classic Scotland trip is perfect for you. If you would like to share your love of these special places and lead others down, our BC Advanced White Water Leader courses are perfect for you! Happy paddling :)


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