Eightsome Reel Down the Tay

A few weeks ago, Gary Forster received an appeal that he just could not turn down. It was not from a damsel in distress or someone keen to acquire his services as an architect of some standing. But he was made an equally interesting and testing proposition. He was asked if he could assemble a team to take part in the Grandtully white water raft challenge and raise a minimum of £1000 per team of eight for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.

After a quick trawl of the CRGP office, Gary soon had five more volunteers that were willing and within 24 hours, his octet was complete, supplemented by two daring friends. The event took place in March on the River Tay, starting near Aberfeldy and finishing at Grandtully.

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“When we arrived at the starting line,” said Gary, “it was a beautiful day but the water looked icily cold. Two races were to be held each with 16 teams, setting out at seven-minute intervals, in each race. The first three miles was fairly straightforward and we had to paddle most of the way, however, after that we were launched into the turbulent white waters of this stretch of the Tay, which also stretches for three miles.”

The teams were timed on the first section and it took around 60minutes to complete. None of Gary’s team had ever done white water rafting before and they all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. However, a CRGP project manager, Bob O’Donnell who was perhaps not showing enough white knuckles was catapulted into the river. He bobbed up and down for a few seconds before being hauled back into the dinghy.

After the race, a presentation took place in a local inn. Certificates and trophies were handed out, however, the brave boys and girls from CRGP were not on the winning list but the team have been able to hand over £1000 to the Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.

“We have achieved the minimum amount,” said Gary, “but we are hopeful that we will raise more once all the money comes in.”

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