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Perth Area, River Tay Playspots

Playriver: UK, Scotland, Perth Area, River Tay Playspots

What's it like

The Stanley to Thistlebrig section of the Tay provides a few useful playspots depending on the water levels:

Campsie Linn: This is around 500 meters upstream from the put-in. You can easily paddle up but may have to take out at a small beach river right, just above where a small stream enters, and carry a little. The Linn is a very powerful fall. It may only appear as a drop of half a meter or so but there's a serious amount of water piling through. The water is very confused and even at moderate flows the eddy line whirlpools will take a boat and paddler down to the green room for a spin. There's no defined wave or hole as such, it's just a place to come and try yourself against the power of the river. A couple of hundred meters below the Linn you'll find 'The Wall' which has a very well defined eddy line at most levels.

Campsie Linn in High Water

Campsie Linn forms a fantastic wave (see picture above) when the river is high - anything above 4 on the gauge at the car park and the wave forms at the river left channel. It is extremely deep and therefore creates whirlpools but they are OK for people with a good roll. When the Tay is very high (above 5 on the gauge) the wave gets very steep and fast and starts tubing. Another shot is here. The hole at the end of the wave can get fairly sticky but usually washes you out!

Stanley Weir:

Stanley Weir almost at its best level

(another picture is here). Stanley Weir is around 500 meters below the put-in. It has been breached in three places though only the center chute is of any real interest. Once the water is more than 5 centimeters or so over the top of the weir the play potential has probably gone, but anything up to 30 centimeters of concrete showing should mean a good green wave with a foamy head. Surfing and spinning seem to be the order of the day. Wavewheels on the way down and air coming off. It's a wave rather than a hole and not really retentive. The water can be quite shallow behind the wave and there is metal spiked debris from the weir scattered around. Take care.


The final rapid, right at the get-out, provides a reasonable wave train. If paddling down, the river noticeably narrows and a fairly obvious man made banking, part of an old mill race, appears on the right below the rapid. There is always a playspot somewhere at Thistlebrig though the best hole forms at very high flows a couple of hundred meters below the main rapid, on river right. This is a fun, safe, hole with no obvious dangers other than the fact that when it is on, the river will be very high and fast.

How to get there

The village of Stanley is on the B9099 about 12 kms North of Perth. There are several exits from the A9 signed for the village. The put-in is from a car park on the river bank reached from a narrow road from the back end of Stanley. Assuming you are driving north through the village, take the first right after the bus stop, which should take you past the post office and the Spar supermarket. Turn left at the end and then take the second right. When you get to the river, stop.

For the get-out, there is a small car park on the west side of the B9099 about 1 km south of the village, opposite a solitary house. From here a path descends steeply down to the river bank at Thistlebrig Rapids.


Fishermen: the river is a popular salmon beat... Just be discrete and polite. There is no salmon fishing on Sundays.

Info sources

[mail address protected from spambots with javascript] [mail address protected from spambots with javascript] ">David Kwant

Nearest weather station (°C):



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