What is white water rafting?


What is white water rafting?

What is white water rafting? White Water Rafting or River rafting as it is also known as a popular water-based activity. Most noteworthy Rafting is one of the most exciting river activities. It is practised commercially and privately all around the world.  Here in Scotland, the heartland of white water rafting is here in the Highland Perthshire area. The key rafting towns are Aberfeldy and Pitlochry.

Furthermore, the key components to white water rafting are the Rafts, personal safety equipment, training and of course rivers.


  • Rafts – Today’s whitewater rafts are a combination of state of the art materials  (Hypalon, neoprene and denier nylon) and state of the art design. The design takes into consideration water dynamics, manoeuvrability, and safety. Whitewater rafts are expertly designed, this is then heavily tested and are engineered to handle everything the river can throw at them.
  • Self Bailing – Whitewater Rafts as you can imagine taking onboard lots of river water. In the old days, a bucket was used to get rid of the water, today’s rafts are Self Bailing. This means that no matter how much water comes onboard as the craft punches through rapids it will not sink.

Personal Safety

  • Personal safety equipment –  Customers are issued with a wetsuit for colder waters, a BA or buoyancy aid which will keep you buoyant (assists your float) in the water if you find yourself in the river and a helmet to protect their head. Other pieces of equipment are carried by the Raft guide and trip leaders which include, floating rope, throw bags, pulleys and carabiners,  a river knife, a whistle, and rescue harness built into a specialist BA. The Trip leader also carries a first aid kit, communication device and any customer medications (Athma pumps etc)

Raft guide training

  • Training –  Guiding a commercial raft full of customers is a skill that takes much training and experience. A raft guide is in charge of creating the customers’ experience, the thrill and the excitement that only river rafting can offer. Training involves a series of technical skills tests, including river reading, water rescue, first aid and more. Hence all potential raft guides must log a specified amount of supervised trips with a more senior guide. However, a River Guide must log these trips before being able to apply for further assessment and graduation to qualified river guide.

White Water Rivers

  • Rivers – Every country has rivers and depending on the geology, terrain, weather etc the way the river forms will be different. The one thing all rivers have in common is they flow out to the sea. Water flows over rocks and other natural features, this process creates water dynamics. These are very important features that every rafter pays particular attention too. White water rapids are the main features river rafting enthusiast are interested in. These rapids come in grades, these are rated from 1 (flat, scenic) to 5 (high adventure/ risk). For example, the fun and bouncy River Tay in Aberfeldy is Grades 2 and 3.  The River Tummel near Pitlochry has bouncy waves as well as narrow technical channels and large waterfall like features and grades between 2 and 4 plus.  The mighty River Orchy is Scotland fiercest river with constant Grade 3s,4s as well as having multiple Grade 5s, this is a river for serious rafters.


  • Rafting is teamwork– A combination of the Raft guides expertise and knowledge combined with the power of the crew (Engine) . The guide works with their team to navigate the raging rapids.

We hope this blog article answered all your questions with regards to ” What is white water rafting? 

For rafting trips around Scotland contact us now to see how we can help. 

To book your rafting adventure contacts us now on 018870 829706 or via email on [email protected] 

Click here for our River Tay info or here for our River Tummel info