Arduaine, Torsa, Shuna, Craobh Haven – 11th October 2020

Club Paddle – Steve, Vonna, Damien, David.
F2 from NW backing WNW, high cloud with sunny intervals.

2nd Club Trip run under Covid Restrictions, Central Belt now having additional requirements. All participants on this trip from within Argyll & Bute as also the travel and the on water trip.
10:30 all ready at Arduaine Jetty, departed 11:00. Arrived off Torsa N.end 12:30, ebb stream just started but little resistance to paddling and from opposite Cuan Sound running in our favour.
13:15 lunch at Ardinamir Bay. Followed Luing coast to Toberonochy before crossing Shuna Sound and SW & SE coast of Shuna. Crossed to Croabh Haven and made final stop for tea before heading up to Arduaine for 17:00.

Total distance 23Km

The trip had been billed as ideal for less experience paddlers unfortunately none had been available. The journey as well as being very enjoyable for us all confirmed its suitability for future beginners trips in good conditions.

Wildlife seen otter, porpoise & seal

Sound of Arisaig 18th-20th September, 2020

Participants: Steve, Hugh, Geoff & Innes

Due to the Covid restrictions this is our first Club Trip since January. Originally billed for Colonsay we rescheduled to Arisaig to avoid ferry travel and possible contacts with the small island community.
The key Covid requirements for running the trip were: that it is fully planned, is classed as organised sport with a governing body (SCA), everyone has the NHS Scotland contact app. and that a trained and nominated Covid Officer advises.

Following a previous period of unsettled weather the weekend forecast was light F1/2 winds and sunshine. Tides were Equinoctial Springs.

Having driven up in separate vehicles the team met at the Western end of the Arisaig South Channel for a 1730 departure. A short 3Km paddle brought us to a delightful beach at Port nam Murrach. Dinner and a beach fire followed.

Saturday morning saw us crossing the Sound of Arisaig via Eilean an t-Snidhe to Samalaman Island for late morning coffee on the beach. Another brief stop was made at the beach inside Eilean Coille before continuing for lunch at a wonderfully sheltered bay on the South West corner of Eilean Shona.

The afternoon was spent reconnoitring potential campsites at Artoe for future trips and to look for any remaining signs of a TV production called Eden : Paradise Lost, circa 2017 and set in the dunes to the North of the village. We did not find anything other than agreement on what a marvellous location for a ‘reality’ show it was.

The day finished with a paddle on the start of the ingoing stream through Loch Moidart’s South Channel by the fantastic ruins of Tioram Castle to the small Islet North East of Riska Island. Two open canoeists from the North East were already established but there was plenty of room for us. The quietude and greenness of the scenery in the loch is in wonderful contrast to the openness of the Sound and must be one of the very best places to spend a night. Plentiful supplies of wood gave us a nice campfire and setting for dinner.

Sunday morning and another 0900 hrs on the water start had us heading through the North Channel with high water past and the outgoing stream running. The coast was followed up past the Smirisary settlements and a re-crossing of the Sound to Eilean a’ Ghaill. The views from the top, among the barely visible remains of a fort gave a wonderful outline of our journey. We lunched on the beach opposite the island and confirmed it as another great camping location with streams for water.

The trip concluded with a short 5Km paddle back to the start point and a bit of a haul with equipment due to low water. Hugh & Innes departing first with Geoff and Steve taking a look at the skerries and hopefully delaying departure to avoid the Loch Lomond traffic. It turned out that the traffic was free for us all.

Next year should see us in the area again as part of an Oban to Mallaig trip. We can only hope for a repeat such ideal conditions.

New Years Paddle 2020

Paddlers: Martin, Andy, Hugh, Vonna, Harry, Steve W., Colin, Mason, Matt, Gordon

Weather: Overcast, light breeze. Winds significantly less than the forecast F3 even to south of Inchmoan

Route: Luss, Inchtavannach, Inchconnachan, Inchmoan, Ichcruin, Inchmoan, Inchconnachan, Luss

Gentle paddle round the islands. No wallabies spotted. Andy won the prize for best, hottest (and only) mince pies!

Loch Lomond Dec 2019

Paddlers: Colin, Steve W., Vonna, Geoff, Gordon, Martin, Steve T.

Weather: Wet and Grey but relatively calm. Forecast high gusts did not materialise.

Route: Luss, Inchcailloch, Inchfad, Luss

Report: The forecast suggested a window in a period of awful weather, albeit with strong gusts later in the afternoon. What dominates my memory is heavy and persistent rain that completely emptied the loch. In long experience of paddling the area I cannot remember the total and complete absence of other boats and, on return, a beach and pier at Luss without a soul.

The route took us from the Luss Beach and through the narrows between Inchtavannach, Inchconnachan and Inchmoan before passing the south end of Inchcruin to end up on the beach at Port Bawn on Inchcailloch. As can be seen from the above a good speed was maintained in reasonable conditions.

Inchcailloch is a super attractive island with a good beach, composting toilets, picnic tables and a small camp site.

After lunch Colin, Steve T, Gordon and Steve W. walked over the hill to the graveyard, returning just as hypothermia for the remainder was threatening.

At the graveyard

Inchcailloch is also an attractive island from the water. The weather was getting wetter and visibility poorer. We hardly saw Balamaha as we passed en route to Inchfad. Here we visited the harbour with 2m walls made from prefabricated concrete blocks before pushing on in heavy rain back to Luss

We arrived back just after 3pm where we packed up in pouring rain and headed for the Village Rest in Luss for tea and cake. This cafe can be strongly recommended as indeed can the whole trip. It was a real pleasure to paddle with excellent company in superb surroundings and there is nothing better to do in this sort of weather. A really good day.

Little Cumbrae, November 2019

Paddlers: Colin, Serena, Innes, Hugh, Matt, Geoff, Steve W, Vonna, Damien

Weather: Lovely with light breeze from the north. Quite Cool

Route: Portencross Castle, Little Cumbrae House, Lighthouse, Portencross Car Park

Report: The Cumbraes are an excellent venue for a winter’s day sea paddle, being just over an hour from Helensburgh. We met at 10 and after a short debate went to the castle to unload. Despite worries there are no problems provided you simply dump gear and take the car away ASAP. The advantage is the small sand beach in the harbour entrance at low tide.

Launch Point

The paddle across to the island was pleasurable if uneventful. Only a couple of the group had been over before and the rest seemed surprised at the size and condition of the little castle.

A quick tour and coffee and then on to the best part of the trip. The Arran Hills, which were always a presence, were topped with snow and beautiful in the weak sun. To our left the cliffs grew more and more impressively until we reached the lighthouse.

Landing at the lighthouse is not easy. There is a broken slip and a broken rock foreshore that require some attention.

Around the old dock are ruins and remnant of the old railway/crane system used to build the complex above. Steep stairs climb the cliff to the complex which contains not only the light but a series of cottages for the men and their families. Many of the buildings are still in a retrievable state although some also still contain rusting machinery . After and investigation lunch was taken at the summit with superb views over the Clyde to Arran.

After a difficult launch, the return was equally uneventful and we were back at Portencross just after 3pm. It was a relatively short but excellent days paddling in an interesting and beautiful area.

Because the tide was now high we landed at the car park which was difficult and rocky. The number of paddlers (9) was such that it was almost certainly the correct place but with smaller numbers the castle harbour would still be recommended.

Beginners Paddle, Clyde 10/11/2019

Paddlers: Mason, Charlie and Geoff

Weather: Fantastic; cloudless sky which gradually misted over as a light easterly developed

Report: Sadly illness and unavailability restricted numbers significantly but, given the fantastic weather it was decided to go ahead anyway and use the sea kayaks at Craigendoran. Stage 1 of the learning process was about being properly prepared for paddles in the winter in Scotland. Lessons were learned in terms of how to dress and what to take . Stage 2 was launching and landing. This proved another excellent learning experience. Stage 3 was paddling! Both paddlers performed extremely well in the new craft type and are ready for more challenging trips. Stage 4 was a lesson in how quickly it can cool down with only haze and a light breeze and why Stage 1 was important.

Overall the trip was a complete success with the main objective, enjoyment, being more than achieved. Once again I am struck by how lucky we are to live here with such wonderful canoeing literally on the doorstep.

Mason with Ben Bouie in the background
Leaving the lunch beach at Ardmore Point
Approaching Craigendoran
Arrival, with sun streaming into camera

Sea Kayak Safety Exercise: Sunday 3rd November

Paddlers: Hugh, Gordon, Geoff and Andrew plus Pat, Joe and Andy (Clydebank)

Weather: A bit grey and overcast but no wind

Report: The session had been set up as a joint training exercise with the Helensburgh lifeboat but unfortunately on the day this was not possible. Although this was a disappointment we decided to proceed on an “as if” basis, going through the three scenarios planned by Hugh. These involved an on-shore serious accident (located just past Castle Point, Rosneath; a capsize/terrified casualty set at MacGruers; and a multiple capsize set back close to the lifeboat station at Rhu.

heading north from castle point
Dealing with the frightened capsize

These worked well and were instructive; not least for this participant the section involving towing was informative on new methods. A useful and enjoyable morning.

Innes Chonnel, Loch Awe October 2019

Paddlers: Colin, Bill and Geoff

Weather: Grey and Cool. Wind F2 from north

Location: The south end of Loch Awe is rarely kayaked. 9 years ago the club had a weekend paddle reported at with the route shown below.

During that paddle we came across Innis Chonnel Castle, one of the most impressive castles and least known in the whole of Scotland. This was the target of this trip which also covered the Burial Island to the south of the castle, a nearly submerged classic crannog and the strange village of Dalavich. The route is shown below;

Report: The Argyll Council Access Map indicates by blue dots access points to the water throughout A&B. The indicated point in this case, provided parking a few steps away from an easy launch, about 6km north of the castle..

It was an easy paddle south with the breeze gently helping us along. A number of islets, which were potentially crannogs were investigated. The actual marked crannog was almost completely submerged because the Loch was so high.

From the crannog we pushed on to Innis Chonnel and the castle. Dating from the 11th century it was a stronghold of first the Campbells and then the MacDougals. For further limited information see

The entry is by some steep steps opposite the mainland and we were surprised to see a couple of open canoes parked there. Our surprise turned to astonishment as we climbed up into a scene reminiscent of Hogarth. We had inadvertently stumbled into the “morning after” an annual “rave” with a bank of sound decks, lights, a cover and a set of inebriated and/or high characters in strange outfits or parts thereof.

The Castle entrance
Colin on the Dance Floor (partially covered by a white tarpaulin)
The back of the decks with the dungeon entrance beneath the metal plate.

Apparently there were 50-60 friends at the party and camping on the mound opposite. The Rave has been going on for 10 years and we have no reason to doubt that the mess would be completely cleared up by the organizers as there was little trace over the rest of the castle

The open courtyard adjacent to the ruined main tower, the main location of the party
The steps up to the path round the walls
Looking South from walls
The view over the wall to the mainland; note the height
Looking South
Looking Back

After a good look around we retreated from the scene and headed for the burial island of Innis Errich. This is completely overgrown with the old chapel just four low walls and a mass of brambles. Bill carried out his normal inquiries and established from the gravestones it was possible to read that it was in use from about 1750 to 1950

After lunch we headed across to Dalavich. Ten years ago this was a sad place. Built by the Forestry Commission to house workers but the forestry jobs had dried up. The village had no amenities and seemed strange and isolated. In the following years the atmosphere seems to have changed dramatically with a large community centre with a bar that opens every evening and a shop/PO /cafe to cater for daytime needs. There is a regular (if very slow) bus to Oban 4 or 5 times a day. Empty houses have been refurbished and rented out as holiday homes. A major change.

The new playground with community centre behind

From Dalavich we headed back towards the car, with a slight detour to see if we could get up the river to the waterfall. We couldn’t so a brisk walk and Colin and Bill were in for a very cold shower. Why?

Back to the car and home after a very, very satisfying day. One club member doubted if it was worth going all that way for a day trip. It was.

Beginners Paddle, Luss, 28th Sept 2019

Paddlers: Euan, Steve T., Bungie, Mason, Charlie, Ian, Stu, Sharon and Geoff

Weather: Excellent, calm and mostly sunny

Report: The trip followed the familiar pattern. From the beach at the north end of Luss we headed south, stopping just after the pier for the first “coaching” interlude, which in this case was Draw strokes. Meanwhile the Lomond Club, who were also meeting at Luss paid a visit

Heading for the river
The Lomond Club

The river was unusual in having a good depth but little flow; ideal for introducing Beginners to moving water. Coaching point: Ferry Glides. From there we headed further south before crossing to Inchvannach at the narrowest point and rounding the point to the beach for lunch.

After an enjoyable lunch we headed back to the mainland and then out to Fraoch Eilean (Seagull Island) for further instruction on the seal launch (and kayak bouyancy!).

Sharon and Stu then left us to go sampling at the Cove Beer Festival whilst we went back again to Luss Water for more coaching and games. We got back to the north end of the beach at around 2pm after an enjoyable and we hope instructive four hours .

There has been some discussion on the effectiveness of a “trip” which involves a mix of journeying and coaching for a mixed ability group of paddlers. In evidence this trip seems to have “worked” for all involved (including the leaders). We do welcome comments from participants.