Archive for June, 2017


Inchfad and Other Islands

After paddling round the Loch Lomond islands something new comes as a bit of a surprise. This note relates to an island we never normally land on as we head for either Balmaha or Inchcailloch and its picnic benches and toilets but visited on a solo trip last Wednesday. Inchfad proved to be an interesting place. First along with Inchmurrin and Inchtavannach it is permanently populated. Inchcailloch and Inchcruin only have occasional summer visitors.

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Secondly it has at least four excellent houses for rent at substantial sums and an extremely well kept pier. Thirdly it has a well hidden canal/harbour with concrete walls of the order 3m tall and a slip.

Inchfad This channel was apparently dug in the 1760’s to supply a distillery on the island,although there is nothing left now.

A herd of fallow deer can be found on the grassland that runs along the centre of the island and the pond is a haven for geese. Inchfad is worth visiting.

 

River Awe June 2017

Paddlers: Steve, John, Gordon and Jamie

Report: GOPR4791 GOPR4792

A somewhat damp day on the River Awe, not that we noticed!
We put in just below the Pass of Brander Barrage on the A85 and shuttled the cars to Taynault Pier at the end of the B845.
Steve led us down and we spent time practicing ferry gliding below the damn before entering the “Graveyard”!
En route we practiced breaking in and out of eddies, eddie hopping and trying to catch standing waves.
Gordon and Steve both managed to take involuntary swims but managed to roll back up (the water was lovely).  Jamie practiced popping his spraydeck and John declined to test the water.
We all survived “Magnetic Rock”,  the trickiest bit of the river.  It was so good we got out and did it again.
Tremendous fun and a big thanks to Steve for leading us and to John for all his tips.
Some video clips for your amusement:

Training: Loch Long June 22nd 2017

Paddlers: Tom, Mollie, Euan, Geoff, Colin, Gordon, Kerry, John, Sheila, Adam,Holly, Allan

Weather: Low Cloud but no wind. Occasionally damp.

Report: The midges hastened the rapid departure from Finnart on an overcast and almost windless evening. This was the last of the Young Beginners training paddles but sadly only 2 of the 5 on the course made it. A leisurely paddle over to Mark, a quick inspection of the bothy (everything OK) and then a paddle up to the mouth of Loch Goil. Three seals joined the cruise. Another leisurely paddle back to Finnart completing an attractive and relaxing evening.

Holly and Sheila with Colin in background

Holly and Sheila with Colin in background

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Upper Loch Fyne, 20th June

Paddlers: Geoff, David, Allan

Weather: Glorious, Sun and no Wind

Route:mapulf

Report: The trip was rescheduled to fit with the weather forecast, a decision wonderfully rewarded. The location was almost random; we were heading for Loch Eck but Loch Fyne looked good and we were passing easy launching and parking. Memories of a grey and boring trip were ditched; Upper Loch Fyne is worth canoeing.

Our launch site was St Catherines where there is a jetty , unloading straight on to the beach and parking. From there we headed north east towards the top of the Loch, our target being the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar. Being unprepared we had no idea of the distance. The paddle was beautifululf 002ulf 003

Our first stop was on the beach in front of Ardkinglas House. ulf 005ulf 006

The house was built for the Noble family in 1907 and is regarded as a masterpiece of Edwardian architecture. The gardens are open daily and tours of the house are available on Fridays ( see http://www.ardkinglas.com/).

After an early lunch and some sunbathing we pushed on up the loch past a new style fish farm to the head of the loch. The farm is now a bio-secure land based operation; the lice ridden open cages are no more. At the head of the loch we decided a slog over the beach to the oyster bar was not worth it and turned east down the Argyll shore.

Our next port of call was Dunderave Castle which was built in the 16th century for the Clan Macnaughton. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunderave_Castle)

Heading south west

Heading south west

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This is a classic small castle beautifully maintained with a number of superb bronze figures and animals around it.ulf 012

After our second lunch we headed for Inverary for our ice cream. By now the tide was well out but we found an excellent landing spot on a gravel bank at the head of the pier. Sadly the temporary fencing at the foot of the pier to prevent public entry also prevented exit, so we had to descend on to the beach and then climb a broken ladder to get into the village. The Orkney Ice Cream was delicious.

Inverary from St Catherines

Inverary from St Catherines

The final leg back over the loch was stunning and we arrived back at St Catherine’s just before 4pm having taken some 5hrs 30mins to cover the 25km with 3 stops. ulf 016

What a day.

 

 

Kyles of Bute 18th June 2017

Paddlers: Hugh, Kerry, Gordon, Geoff, Colin, Steve,Damien

Weather: Very low, thick cloud but little wind

Route:Kyles2

Report: The journey to Colintraive featured a lot of damp as we passed through cloud en route at the Rest. At Colintraive the normal old jetty was blocked off to build a new large ferry car park so we headed on towards the church, eventually parking on a lay-by adjacent to the beach.  Although gloomy the scene still had beauty014

After passing through the Burnt Islands we rounded the point and travelled along Bute’s unknown north west coast015017

Our first stop was at a small beach almost opposite Kames/Tignabruich018

Lunch over we then headed for Kames hoping to see an ice-cream sign but sadly none were viewed so we headed north again. A short on-water break in the natural harbour and then west to the marked fort on the most northerly of the islands. When we arrived at the islet we were met by a cacophony of gull cries and the sight of large furry chicks scuttling across the rocks. With no “fort” apparent we decided to leave the birds in peace and headed for a beach on the mainland. On the beach were some model houses in concrete and the statue of a small boy.020021

Just off the beach was a small cottage with two large heads made of wire and some tiles; it slowly dawned that we had stumbled upon the Caol Ruadh Sculpture Park (http://www.scottishsculpturepark.com/about.php) . Some of the exhibits were wonderful, others such as a pile of rocks and timber in the middle of the lawn, were problematic. The argument on the nature of art was encapsulated on a debate about a blue and white hammock just on the shore.

From the park we headed on down through the narrows back to our start. Despite the weather it had been a beautiful, calm, relaxing paddle, thoroughly enjoyed by all. 027

River Teith Sat 17th June

Paddlers: Adele, Stewart, Colin, Steve, Graham, John, Chris, Gordon, Geoff

Weather: Sun and Showers

Report: John and Gordon had organised this first river trip for a number of months and conditions could hardly have been bettered. A lot of rain from the past couple of weeks meant a fast and exciting ride with John getting the less experienced used to the idea of “playing” in the river; diving behind rocks etc. The entry point at the meadows car park in Callendar is near perfect.
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The first “white water”  came almost immediately and continued with little respite down the whole river.011

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Despite numerous opportunities everybody coped extremely well. Stewart managed to fall in on exiting from behind a rock into the main stream but otherwise all of us survived if, on occasions a little wet as we crashed through.A video of Chris playing in the river can be found at https://youtu.be/09TuvB4HmIY

The Torrie Falls are the only significant rapids on the river. They are shot on the left of the river and, on this occasion were very bouncy.

The Deanston Weir, however, is a more serious proposition and the normal advice is not to run it.  The weir runs diagonally across the river. To the left is an overflow channel that was a mass of dangerous water with concrete blocks to ensure death. To the right is a fish ladder, a series of concrete steps not canoeable. The main flow runs down a shallow concrete ramp and over a small drop, but at the bottom on the right becomes a dangerous hole. On the left there are two steps where a jam is a real possibility. If one can keep the line right down the middle then there should be no problems but keeping that line looked problematic when scraping down the concrete slope. Going sideways over the lip, though small, looked uncomfortable. After thorough observation and much discussion it was decided to portage; a long and not very comfortable trudge.20170617_153112

The Exit point is about a km further on just before the bridge in Doune. On the left after a steep climb from the river there is the car park.

The logistics of the trip worked perfectly and everybody returned home looking for the next trip.  Meanwhile Colin has turned up a report of kayakers being airlifted off the weir (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-15148778), rather confirming our judgement.

Map: (click on map to enlarge, left click to copy/download)Teith

 

Training Craigendoran 15th June

Paddlers: Geoff, Gordon, Douglas

Weather: Grey, wet and windy but this session it was a strong F5 from the SW

Report: Originally planned as a Beginners trip to the Sugar Boat the conditions made that impossible, Instead three of us decided on some rough water training and a bit of surfing. In fact paddling was a lot easier than expected and the surf hardly generated a decent run. Despite this it was an enjoyable workout.

Training Craigendoran 8th June

Paddlers: Melani, Amy, Mollie, Tom, Euan, Geoff, Gordon, Kerry

Weather: Grey, Wet, Windy from North East

Report: The original plan was to cross to the Sugar Boat but the strong offshore wind experienced as soon as we left the shelter of Craigendoran suggested that might be foolhardy with beginners. Instead we paddled across to Ardmore Point. The wind and distance proved a serious challenge but a good time was had by all003002004

 

Clyde 4th June

Paddlers: Pete, Sue and Geoff

Weather : Breezy

Report: Another late arranged paddle the main points of interest were the use of FlatEarth sails on Pete’s and Geoff’s kayaks in fairly breezy weather and the rather dodgy landing and re-entry at at our half way lunch stop just north of Cove Bay Sailing Club

Pete clear of the surf

Pete clear of the surf

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Sue clears the surf

Sue clears the surf

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Sails up heading for Kilreggan Pier

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Holy Loch and Loch Long Wednesday 31/5/17

Paddlers: Geoff and Lee

Weather: Quite dull at first but brightening to a glorious afternoon. Wind southerly F3

Route: Holy LOch

Report: We parked at the car park on the green just before Cove itself. It is not very easy to get down and launch but easy parking and loading/unloading compensates. The basic objective was to explore Holy Loch more closely than possible from Helensburgh. When we started it was dull and the breeze from the south made the Loch Long crossing feel long. Tied up at Blairmore was a large catamaran picking up two coachloads of tourists. We carried on round Strone point  and up the Loch looking for somewhere good to land. Sadly, like Loch Long north it is not the most wonderful coast for kayakers. We then turned and headed for the marina at Sandbank. This proved a good choice; 3 small Cal-Mac ferries were anchored up plus a large timber carrier was loading. The marina itself was not particularly attractive but has an excellent recommended coffee shop just above the main slip.

After a prolonged break in the warm sun we pushed on past Hunter’s Quay and Kirn, lunching on a beach just north of Dunoon centre.

Lunch Stop

Lunch Stop

Another prolonged sun bathe followed. We then paddled straight back across the Loch/Firth junction, marvelling at the beauty all around us and the absolute peace than can come with sea kayaking.009

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We got back around 4pm having covered around 20km in a leisurely 6 hours. Another wonderful day.