I am now (four days later) almost recovered from Wet West last weekend. It’s an exhausting eight-hour drive home, with a hangover, but I love it. It’s so much fun hanging out, catching up with people, trying out new boats and watching everyone having a great time. This was definitely the biggest and best year I have seen. Kayakers were packed onto the Moriston like sardines in a tin. If you were the first to eddy out above the top drop it could take you half an hour to battle back into the flow again.
For anyone not familiar with Wet West it’s an annual kayaking festival held around Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. There are two dam release rivers guaranteeing water for the weekend. On Saturday the grade 4/5 River Moriston provides a challenge for less experienced boaters and the perfect playground for seasoned paddlers. On Sunday the grade 3/3+ Garry delivers some fantastic play spots and the chance to wash away the party from the night before. This year saw the addition of a class 5 Ceilidh (Callum Hogg thinks he broke his thumb) on Saturday night followed by a big night out on the town.
The event has a super relaxed atmosphere mostly because there are no races or other organised activities. You simply turn up and paddle until you’re too exhausted to do another lap. It’s all run by an awesome set of volunteers and was originally set up to commemorate the life of Scottish kayaking legend Andy Jackson. The Andy Jackson fund raises money through the sale of the Scottish Guidebook and Andy’s biography. The fund is used to support river access projects in Scotland such as the building of the new steps at the Orchy.
Massive thanks to the organisers for a great weekend. See you next year!