UNAUTHORISED structures which appeared in the River Tay have resulted in a long-standing sports facility losing its lease. 

Earlier this week, the Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) reported that numerous man-made barriers had appeared in the Grandtully Rapids in Perthshire, which has been a popular spot for canoeing and white water rafting for decades.

“There are several safety concerns based on their location, the rough concrete and stones that have been used, the unknown quality of construction and the fact that they are new and unexpected,” said the SCA in a blog post.

“Depending on the river level, some of them may be beneath the water.

“Anyone descending the Tay or just paddling at Grandtully is advised to exercise extreme caution on the rapid, now that it has been changed.

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“Police Scotland, Sepa, NatureScot and Perth and Kinross Council are in the process of investigating. Unauthorised works in rivers are prohibited and the SCA reminds everyone of this."

Now, the lease for the site has been terminated with immediate effect – despite the barriers appearing to be the work of an individual working independently from the SCA.

The SCA said: “Even though it is recognised by all concerned that the SCA, as an organisation, had no knowledge of and played no part in the construction of these new structures, the act of constructing these barriers/dams in the river has been determined to be an egregious breach of the terms of the site lease, which has consequently been terminated with immediate effect.

“The SCA deeply regrets the end of the historic lease and the consequent loss of use of the permanently available slalom infrastructure that it has enabled over many years.”

Jonathan Esk-Riddell, a recreational canoeist, told The National that the community surrounding the sport had been left reeling at the news.

The National: Duddon Canoe Club's Harvey Petcher competing in the 2016 British White Water Racing Championships on the River Tay at Grandtully, in Perthshire SCOTT WILSON

“People are pretty aghast and shocked, at least within the circles I move in," he said.

“It shows complete disrespect for the owner of the site ... this is an important area for the natural world.”

He added: “It’s a lot of work for someone to do but it's my understanding that it is an individual who is known within the slaloming community. 

“I can’t work out what they were expecting to achieve from it but obviously they thought they were somehow creating a better site for paddling on.

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“However, this new barrier is now an active danger to people paddling on the site.

“It’s a big loss to canoe slalom. I’ve run slalom at that site before and we’ve run major events there.

“That’s not going to happen, now.”

Indeed, the British Canoeing Slalom Committee has already announced that two slalom events planned at the Grandtully Rapids at the end of August cannot now go ahead.

The SCA said that the termination of the lease means that the slalom infrastructure will now be dismantled and placed into storage, with notices set to appear informing paddlers of the situation.