Archive for April, 2017

Night Paddle: Friday 21st April 2017

Paddlers: Vonna, John, Colin, Steve, Mark, Geoff, Allan, Gordon

Weather: Dry, clear, light breeze from west.

Route: (included so that the paddlers know where they went!)Night

Report: There was a good turnout of club members most of whom had never had the pleasure of a night paddle. As expected from the forecasts, as Friday progressed the weather got much better; the wind dropped and the clouds disappeared. An almost perfect night except that it was moonless. The darkness made navigating in the complex of islands problematic as the “gaps” between them could not be identified. We left Luss around 20:45, when it was still light. By the time we got to the narrows little light was left and it disappeared completely as we headed west along the south coast of Inchmoan. At the south east corner a decision was needed and we decided to head across to the island in the distance, which we mistakenly believed was Inchcailloch and turned out to be Inchfad. The light breeze seemed to be growing and the temperature was, by now, dropping quickly so we decided to abort and head for the jetty and beach on Inchcruin. Although the navigation  was nigh on perfect we nearly paddled straight past the beach; it was simply impossible to see any further than 5m (unless brightly lit).

Enhanced Photo with Duck Bay in distance

Enhanced Photo with Duck Bay in distance

After an increasingly cold break we headed north west into the breeze, guided by the bright lights of The Lodge on the Loch. Apart from colliding with the odd pile of rocks/islet never noticed before, this final section was simply relaxing, dead quiet and, in its way beautiful, with the dark sky dominated by the bulk of Beinn Dubh. We arrived back at 23.45 having what had, all agreed, been a memorable paddle.


Clyde, Wednesday 19th April 2017

Paddlers: Lee, Geoff

Weather: Bright and Breezy

Report: This midweek paddle is included for completeness. Standard route from Craigendoran to Cove Sailing Club with prolonged stop at the coffee shop at Kilcreggan and on Camsail Beach for lunch. Lots of seals on Green Island and a fresh westerly throughout an excellent trip

Lee approaching Rosneath Point

Lee approaching Rosneath Point

Loch Venachar 13th April

Paddlers: Colin, David and Geoff

Weather: Cold and windy and mostly overcast. Any sunny periods were matched by an equal number of  rain showers


Report: The wind forecast was a steady F4 from the west and because this had been the case for the last 7 days it was felt that the planned Oban-Dunstaffnage-Lismore trip would be untenable. The chosen alternative was Loch Venachar in the Trossachs; chosen not for any obvious merit but because it had not been done by any of the paddlers. Parking and Launching was excellent, right at the start of the Loch on the minor road from Callander.ven 011

From the launch point we paddled along the south of the loch grabbing any shelter from the strong and very cold continuous wind. Most interesting feature was a large new respite centre/hopsice for cancer patients at West Dullater.ven 001ven 002

One and a half hours in we had covered just 4km. We landed at the Invertrossachs Scout Centre for a nose around, drink and some nibbles. The centre has improved dramatically over the years and was rather impressive. ven 003From there we carried on to the head of the loch and made our way up Black Water hoping that we might get to Loch Acray. Sadly after less than 1km the open water simply disappeared into reed. Not wishing to wade through soft slimy mud we decided to retreat towards the cafe which we had been informed lay on the north side of the loch.ven 005

This downwind leg was fast and we quickly arrive at a small beach adjacent to the cafe. The food and drink is expensive but very good. Thoroughly recommended as a stop. Whilst we were in the warm (and windproof), the wind strengthened half a notch running at a low F5. In addition the sun came out so the final leg only took less than 30 mins for the 3km.DSC_0148

In summary the dominating memory was the wind with the outstanding feature of the Loch being the cafe. Worth doing if only for the excellent launch point.

Training, Saturday 8th April

Paddlers: Robin, Maelle, Chris; Geoff Steve W.

Report: No photos for this one. Met at Luss with two training groups. Group 1, coached by Robin, was training for the 2 Star Assessment. Within the club our focus is on kayaks which leaves a gap for the skills assessment in the 2 Star and subsequent entry to the coaching stream. This morning was intended to start filling that gap. Group 2 undertook a shortish tour round the islands for those finishing the Basic Skills course and wanting to move on to longer sea trips. It was a cold, dry overcast day but,as ever, the beauty of the loch shone through. Another lovely trip.

Loch Sunart April 1st/2nd 2017

Paddlers; Jeannette, Francis, Gordon, Colin & Hugh

Route: sunart 2017

Report: First overnight trip of the year and the marginal wind forced a change of venue from Loch Moidart to the secondary consideration of Loch Sunart. After a couple of hurdles in way of departure, not least a long abandoned lunch box containing some foul, greasy substance had mixed with leaked seawater and coated the entire day compartment on a Tempest with what appeared to be the contents of a soil pipe. Thanks to whoever left it for someone else to find! Anyway, we got away about an hour late but having already decided on the alternative plan based on the Saturday morning forecast, it did not impact on the day. We crossed to Morvern on the Corran ferry and headed to Resipole on the N side of Sunart where there is a good launch beach. The slip and road are private but we were allowed to use it and park in the caravan site for £2 per car – pretty fair. The forecast for Loch Sunart was 15mph (mean) gusting 26mph (max) from the NW hence the run down the loch to the SE was without fetch and relatively benign as intended. Two harbour porpoises were spotted en route. Rounding the Point of Dun Ghallain we headed for the N end of Carna but now exposed to the wind and a short chop on the water it was a strength sapping slog and when the wind went up a notch it was decided to turn SW for the E entry channel to Loch Teacuis where it was intended to camp at a known site in any case after rounding Carna. On the way in to the E narrows two otters were spotted with one venturing fairy close to a kayak in curiosity. For a wild campsite at Drochaid Charna is far from habitation with a clean fresh water stream and ample firewood (axe and saw recommended). Nearest life was on Carna where there is a group of fish farm/holiday cottages served by a small jetty and a boat. The sound of children’s voices drifted across the water to us in the early evening so could be estate run away from it all holiday accommodation.

The fire got going courtesy of Colin’s proprietary log but the cool breeze from the NW took the edge of absolute comfort and so a dram and chocolate, nuts etc had to compensate.

Sunday was scheduled to be a better day and so it was with Gordon seeing otters playing in the channel in the early morning. Leaving close to HW and after a quick look up Loch Teacuis we headed out the narrow channel W of Carna and through the passage into Loch na Droma Buidhe known as the Doirlinn, only open to kayaks at HW it is worth the effort and gives easy access to the island of Oronsay that forms the safe anchorage (for yachts) of the loch, giving quiet alternative to the night life of Tobermory.

Heading up the W side of Carna gave a scenic view of Ardnamurchan with the red sandstone ramparts of Glenborrodale Castle at the centre some 2k away. A quick stop on Carna for a shared snack of mini hot cross buns, cashew nuts, dates, pickled chillies and more chocolate (included for information Geoff) followed by a non-stop breeze assisted paddle up the S side of Sunart in pleasant sunshine and back to our starting point by early afternoon.




Total distance 17.33Nm (32k). Although classified as a training expedition due to mandatory equipment requirements, all participants demonstrated their value to an expedition and indeed the potential to lead a sea exped in due course should they wish to. Pics are courtesy of Gordon since my camera decided not to play.

What Happens after the Basic Skills Course?

There have been questions asked about what happens in the way of trips and training after the Basic Skills Course.

Star Qualifications: If you manage to get on the outdoor trips then Basic Skills should have taken you up to a 2 Star level in Kayaks. However you also need to reach 2 Star level in Canoes to obtain the award. Robin, who will be the assessor, is offering to take you towards this level in canoes this coming Saturday, 8th April, 10am at Luss .

If you want to do the training this Saturday (8th April) you must let me know as we need to organise canoe transport. Robin will not assess for the 2 Star until he is happy with what he sees. If he does think you are ready he will arrange an assessment. Note that the 2 Star is the normal target for the DoE Award.

The 3 star is discipline specific. It requires both experience and skills such as rolling. If you have done Hugh’s Sea Expedition Training, can roll and have been on a number of trips then you will be at or over 3 Star (Sea) and can go for assessment on one of the organised SCA Courses. If you fancy working on rivers (or surf or open canoes) then you should sign up for 3 Star Training as well as the 3 Star Assessment.  The open sessions in the Pool are intended to help you develop the skills.

To find Courses look at the SCA events calendar and use the filter to look at Star Award courses only. For example there is a 3*Sea Kayak Training and Assessment Course in Stonehaven this coming weekend.

Foundation Safety and Rescue: This is a course for all. The club will run one on Saturday May 20th, probably at Arden. Details to follow.

Coach Courses: If you fancy coaching (and we hope you do) then you need to start with a Level 1 Coach Course. The pre-requisites are the 2 Star and Foundation Safety and Rescue. The club has provisionally organised a Course for two weekends in July but needs to discuss this  with other clubs to ensure minimum numbers. Sports Scotland support is available to assist with costs.

Trips: There are two sorts of trips: Club and Friends. One of the aims of the club is to bring people together who simply want to paddle. Members on a Friends trip are peers and the trip has no official leader. It is understood that each adult takes total responsibility for themselves alone. A Club trip is normally a training trip and the leader will ensure that the members are of an appropriate standard, carry out the risk assessment and ensure that appropriate equipment is carried.   There is a day trip this Saturday (8th April) for anyone who has done the Basic Skills course meeting at Luss at 10am.  You must let me know ASAP if interested.  After Easter there will be regular Thursday evening Club paddles.

Club Sea Kayak Expeditions are for experienced paddlers who have completed the Sea Expedition Course including  the Open Water Safety element and a non-stop paddle of 12km. Each paddler must be properly equipped with flares, splits etc. The next planned Sea Kayak Expedition is 29th/30th April.

Leader Training: The BCU/SCA has just introduced a qualification stream for leaders and over time the Club will be hoping experienced paddlers will go for the qualifications.  The 4 star, to be renamed, is the middle level of this stream and is the obvious next step for a 3 star paddler who does not really want to coach.