Category: Trip photos


Ardentinny and No Beer: 18/7/17

Paddlers: Allan, Dave, Lee, Geoff, Douglas, Steve W., Gordon, Adam and Paul

Weather: Glorious but a stiff easterly (F4) out of the shelter of the hills

Route

Report: The broad intention was to paddle across Loch Long for a convivial drink at the newly re-opened Ardentinny Inn, thereby adding Sea Kayakers to the list of valued clients. Pushed along by the wind (literally for the lone kayak sailor) we crossed in no time and climbed the steps on to a lovely new patio with splendid chairs. The doors to the bar were open but the pub itself would have done Marie Celeste proud. Investigation by Steve brought forth the owner who informed us they were closed on Tuesdays so no coffee and no beer. So, after a short period sampling the comfort of the armchairs (excellent), we set off back. This was a much stiffer proposition but we were still far too early to stop so a paddle along the shore was proposed and accepted. The evening and sunset was marvelous.

We paddled up to Auchentower Point just north of Knockderry where there is an extremely expensive/luxurious property with an incredible glass window overlooking the sea. The partially clothed couple clearly did not expect to see nine sea kayakers looking in just as we did not expect to see them looking out. I have a feeling the beauty of sea kayaks exceeded the beauty of the human forms.

We got back well past bed time just as the light was finally dying (9.45?) after around 11km in a little over 2 hours. Fast loading and a clear road got us back just after 11pm; an excellent evening.

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

 

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.

 

Loch Moidart May 2017

Paddlers: Adele, Kerry, Steve T., Colin, Innes, Geoff and Hugh

Weather: Blustery and sunny but with occasional heavy showers of rain and hail.

Route: Big Map

Double click on maps or photos to enlarge.

Moidart

Report: The wind report was not favourable so it was decided to head for the sheltered waters of Moidart. This remote and stunningly beautiful area is deservedly popular with sea kayakers, the club having been here in 2012 and 2014 http://www.helensburghcc.org.uk/2012/07/05/moidart-and-ardnumurchan-july-2012/and  http://www.helensburghcc.org.uk/2014/09/22/moidart-september-2014/). The journey up was something of a nightmare with heavy summer Saturday traffic and the legacy (10 miles of stop/start) of a lorry crash on the A82 north of Tarbet. Launch sites are difficult and the original plan was to come in from Glenuig, but the wind acted as a deterrent so we headed for the car park opposite Castle Tioram.

One problem with the loch is the extensive sand areas as the tide falls and at the car park we faced a substantial walk over the sand to reach the water. Instead we drove up the river to unload and then put the cars back in the car park. After the major delays en route we eventually put in at just after 3pm.

On the River Shiel

On the River Shiel

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It was necessary to follow the river bed through the sand flats until we could turn west towards the sea. We paddled on with the wind, stopping at a lovely beach just at the exit of the loch.03-IMG_5688IMG_20170513_163542948

A short break and then on along the north coast of Shona to the North Channel. This section was surprisingly quiet, with little wind or swell.04-IMG_5689

The North Channel is an impressive cut between Shona and the mainland that dries at low water. We traveled in on the tide and the causeway was well covered. Rounding the south east corner we headed for our favourite campsite on an islet just off Shona.06-IMG_5693

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After dinner the wind was getting up and there was the odd shower of rain. Kerry found an excellent location for a fire, Hugh erected a nylon tarpaulin as a communal shelter and a pleasant relaxing evening was had by allIMG_20170513_210753529 1

There was heavy rain and wind in the night but all survived unscathed. With the frisky wind(F4 and gusting) it was decided to simply explore the loch and then head back.07-IMG_569408-IMG_5697

 

It was now high tide so we headed for the memorial to the Seven Men of Moidart, prominently identified on the OS Map. We landed twice near the bottom end of the loch but both landings required a 0.5 km walk to a cairn. Unbeknownst to us we could clearly see the seven men (or at least two of them), a row of Beech trees planted to commemorate the seven men who landed in Moidart with Bonny Prince Charlie in 1745.  Fuller information with photos is given at https://www.moidart.com/history-moidart/seven-men-of-moidart .

Because were worried about the loch drying we got back in the boats and retreated, landing at a small rocky beach marked as Port Bhata for our first lunch. Much to our surprise there was a number of ruined cottages, field walls etc in a location with apparently little natural resource.

From Port Bhata we headed for Castle Tioram, a spectacular island ruin at the end of a causeway that dries at low tide. 09-IMG_569910-IMG_5700

You can still get inside the castle through a small gate marked “extremely dangerous”. As noted in the latest condition report this rather exaggerates the dangers and it is worth entering to admire the various rooms and ante-chambers that still survive. Comprehensive information on design and history with lots of photos including aerial shots can be found at https://canmore.org.uk/site/22511/castle-tioram.

From the castle we paddled back to our launch site, reloaded the cars and headed back to the car park for our second lunch.  The sunny, warm, windless beautiful location was complemented by a wonderful Sea Eagle sweeping and swirling around the castle. Sadly the power steering fluid in Hugh’s car decided to exit the vehicle for reasons currently unknown.

The journey back via the Corran ferry was fast and unhindered, although the weather across Rannoch Moor was as bad as anything I can remember, with lashing rain driven by storm force winds. Just a reminder of what we might have got into if we had not been prepared.

Was it worth the drive? Undoubtedly. Moidart is spectacularly beautiful even by west of Scotland standards. The camp site is close to perfect and the company was excellent. A great weekend.

 

 

 

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.