Tim Sadler on the 'Forever Wave'
When the rivers are dry and work is getting on top of you, there are certain places you start dreaming of. Having spent far too much time watching videos, surfing the net and reading all the mags, many boaters will picture the same place, a truly perfect playspot. Details will be fuzzy, but you can expect a massive green wave, with a sweet shoulder you can blunt yourself dizzy, a big hole you can cartwheel in and of course eddy service.
Where will you find a place like this?
Well there is such a place and it is called 'The Falls Of Lora'. This has long been a secret locals spot and often the subject of myth and legend. Catch it right and you will have the best day in a boat your will ever have, catch it wrong and you will either be looking at flat water or you will get the biggest beating outside of a unlicensed boxing ring.
The 'Falls' are actually a tidal race at the seaward end of Loch Etive. They are created by the outgoing tide squeezing through a constriction on the way out to sea. The height difference between High Tide and Low Tide needs to be more that 3 metres for them to form and given this, they run at about 4hours after High water. So therefore you are going to need a pretty big tide to get them working, probably a Spring Tide ( roughly twice every month ). Saying this, the state of the tide is not the only factor which contributes to the levels of the Falls. The weather pays a large part, especially the atmospheric pressure and wind. To be honest sometimes they just don't work and no one knows why, so if you hear tales of boaters saying that the Falls where not worth the journey, then more than likely they just caught them wrong. In truth, if the sun is shining and the Falls are running, you are in a classic session and it is certainly worth arriving early to watch the relative calm of this Loch form some of the most spectacular whitewater your will see anywhere.
Blunting the Main Wave
The Main Wave normally starts running first, but when this becomes a bit nasty the other sections will normally be ready to rip. Once those have begun to flatten out ( remembering this site has time limits ) it is time to return to the Main Wave again to see if anything has been learnt. The Main Wave has been on a few videos now, so many will recognise it's shape. However, you can not appreciate the power and size of this feature until you have screamed down it's face and/or been pummelled in the hole. It forms just below a bridge pile, so there is perfect eddy service, though beware there are whirlpools here which suck down boats and their pilots in seconds. On local advice, take a deep breath if you go over! It begins life as a green wave and then it begins to break and get steeper and steeper. If you start getting more beatings than rides, you are probably best moving on
to the other waves.
The top wave and easily the most friendly is the Forever Wave and many would consider it to be on par with
The Ultimate Wave is on the other side to the 'Main Wave' and is easily the hardest to catch, though the most rewarding in terms of dynamic moves. This wave is super fast and airborne moves are a go here with two defined
shoulders to jump off. You can either catch this wave 'on the fly' after coming off the Forever Wave, or for the brave there is some whirlpool infested eddy service on the left.
How to get there:
The Falls form under the A828 bridge in Connel. To get there from the M6 (around 200 miles ) you need to take the M74 to Glasgow, then the A82 to Crainlarich. From here you jump on the A85 to Oban. Connel is a little before Oban and you can't miss the Bridge. You will need to cross the bridge as they form on the other side of the
This is definitely not a site for the feint hearted. You can get some big beatings here and you do not want to swim as rescue inevitably takes place a long way from shore ( the flow continues to the sea ). Saying this, if your roll is bomb-proof and you can cope with being sucked down in some meaty whirlpools than this is easily in your limits.
The local wave shredders are Andy Jackson, Dave Kwant, Greg Nicks and the guys and girls from
In this past season the Falls were chosen for the first ever Scottish Extreme Competition. Twined with a mad river race down the
beatings dished out. Though this mainstream use of this site is taking away some of the mystique of paddling here, it is a perfect location for such competitions with little if any access difficulties. In recent years the site has become crowded if the weather is good and the word has got around.
As for a places to stay, there are some local campsites, B&B's and hostels especially in Oban
There is some good footage of the Falls of Lora on the following videos:
- 'Another Kogg Day' - KOGG 2000 Promo Video, Heeland Coo & Borkenhorse Productions ·
- 'Dangerous When Wet' - System X Promo, Heelend Coo & Brokenhorse Productions · 'id10t' - - PeakUK 2000 Promo Video · 'id10t5' PeakUK 2001 Promo Video
Having read this article, just remember that this place doesn't exist, it is all a dream and will never be as good as Hurley