• May 2012
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Strange Boat

I bought a wee day boat a couple of weeks ago and it had its maiden voyage last night on Loch Lomond. It was meant to be yesterday morning but the initial planned launch had me calling the outboard all sorts of names as I couldn’t get the thing started.

Therefore the boat was in the loch, out of the loch and then back in the loch and out again. I still had the number of the guy who sold me the boat, and how about this? He travelled from his home, over 30 miles away to help!

He being a maritime and outboard expert he had it running in about ten minutes. It turned out there had been an air lock in the fuel line and there wasn’t enough fuel getting to the carburettor. Such gestures restore your faith in human nature.

So eventually my two daughters and I took to the loch at Balloch slipway around 6pm last night and went a wee cruise amongst some of the islands. I have a chart of the loch and was very wary, with this being my first time out in charge of a motor vessel, to avoid anywhere with a depth of less than two fathoms (as we sailors call twelve feet). The level of the loch is fairly low at the moment and therefore I had no wish for the outboard to suffer a rather more traumatic and permanent problem than earlier.

It wasn’t a great night for photos because Scotland basked in tropical temperatures yesterday and there was still a heat haze last night.

However I got this photo of the island of Creinch:

Creinch (pronounced kree inch) is one of the islands which form a part of the highland fault line. The Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland are not just fairly separate cultural and linguistic entities but are defined by geology.

The fault line from Conic Hill at Balmaha. Inchmurrin,Creinch, Torrinch, Clairinsh and Inchcailloch are the islands. Photo: Ellen Arniston

Thus the area to the left of the islands is in the Lowlands of Scotland and that to the right is in the Highlands.

Just off Creinch there is a hazard known as Prince of Wales Rock. I pointed it out to the girls last night as we passed. I had often wondered why the rock was named so and got the answer when the local paper in 2010 printed a story in its 150 years ago column:

The Prince of Wales paddle steamer found a rock between Inchmurrin and Creinch in dense fog. No one was seriously injured, but she was beached (presumably on Creinch) and the passengers rescued by another steamer, the Queen Victoria. She was subsequently towed down the Leven and up to Bowling for repairs to be made.

The Prince of Wales continued carrying passengers on the loch, despite the earlier mishap, until 1900

I’m pleased to report that we enjoyed our two hour cruise free from any such trouble and I got the boat back on to the trailer without much difficulty (although this manoeuvre does include reversing ones vehicle into the water).

However, somehow the boat, although tethered securely (I thought) on the trailer, managed to move off the rollers on the way home (fortunately I noticed in the rear view mirror that the boat was slightly skew-whiff. I somehow found the strength to lift it back on and secure the webbing even tighter. Between that exertion and the work out I had in trying to start the outboard in the morning, I am pretty sore and tired today.

It was worth the effort though.

My elder daughter has named our craft The Strange Boat in honour of the Waterboys song.