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Catching up

Cracking morning out on the loch yesterday. I didn’t take the camera looked a bit grey and overcast. However by the time I got there, there were some pretty spectacular skies (which I can’t show you because I didn’t take the camera)

Anyway it was great to touch base with my old friend James who thoroughly enjoyed his first trip on his new canoe. For those who know the loch we took he classic route via the Geggles and Narrows – a nice wee paddle of eight miles or so. Disappointed not to see any wallabies or ospreys but we did get a glimpse of some fallow deer on Inchconnachan.

Amazing how you can pick up the threads with old friends with no effort required. I’m sure it’s not the case in all friendship and acquaintances but it was with this one.

Back on dry land and having a cuppa at Luss, I noticed some customised cars. I only had the wee crappy phone camera on my Nokia but this was the colourful scene.

Luss – Village of Light

History, almost everywhere, is bound up with religion. This is particularly true of the village of Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond which is associated particularly with Saint Kessog for whom there have been claims to be Patron Saint of Scotland. He was a martyr having been executed at Luss sometime between 520 and 530 at Bandray Bay just south of Aldochlay which in turn is just south of Luss.

Regular readers will know my views on religion in general so no need to go back into all that (apart from a few references below!).

I am fascinated by the history surrounding it though and having parked my vehicle in Glen Luss this morning I took a walk down to the village beside the River Luss via an old slate quarry. I have lived within a few miles of this location for most of my life but today was my first time in this particular area.

As I approached the village, I saw signs for the Glebe and the St Kessog’s Trail, which I followed. it led me into a field where there were several (many) little plates with vignettes of the history of St Kessog. I didn’t have my camera, so phone shots will have to suffice:

It was doing really well until the last bit!

If you’ve read the above link to St Kessog, then you’ll have read the story of him swimming in Ireland with some fellow Princes who drowned but the power of prayer brought them back to life. All complete fairytale of course, folklore but there are seemingly sane, intelligent people that believe this stuff.

Strange isn’t it that these miracles are all unverifiable? All taking place in a time when word of mouth by holy men was……er gospel!

Anyhoo, at the Glebe there is a rather impressive Celtic style wooden and glass cross, erected last year to commemorate St Kessog and celebrate 15 centuries of Christianity on Loch Lomond

Once a tree......

St Kessog’s church was on the island of Inchtavannach which I’ve written about several times.

After the Glebe I wandered down by Luss Parish Church

And then to the shore and pier.

 

A fantastic walk and only about an hour and a half in total. You can access it from Glen Luss and follow signs for the quarry or from the village itself and go the other way round.

As for the name of Luss, one theory is that as the Christians settled, displacing the Druid population, they saw themselves as bringing the village “into the light” and thus named the village Lux which is the Latin word for light. It later became Luss.

And talking of light, I was quite pleased with the photographic results, courtesy of Nokia!

 

Bouncin’

I first wrote about Inchconnachan here. It’s the island on Loch Lomond with the wild wallaby colony on it.

I haven’t been out on the canoe much this year due to the weather, but I’m on a few days off and the weather was good this morning so off I set with my younger daughter. We’ve only ever done short trips together but I decided that we’d do a proper one today.

We met a family at our launch point, Aldochlay who had been camping on Inchconnachan overnight and had just returned. They hadn’t seen any wallabies – to their disappointment.

It took us just over half an hour to get to the island and Eve was keen to try and get a photo of the unusual wildlife. We set off for part of the island where I’ve always been lucky at seeing them.

Sure enough it wasn’t long before we met this female. (spot the pouch?)

and then this guy:

and this one:

We saw seven, possibly eight (not sure if the last one was a repeat of an earlier one) wallabies and actually were watching three together at one stage. Going by the latest estimates, if we did see eight then I reckon that’s about a quarter of the total population just now.

After a lunch of mushroom omelette cooked up on the camping stove and some crisps and tea, we boarded the canoe again to complete the circumnavigation of Inchtavanach.

The picture below is of a patch of water lilies. The ‘narrows between Inchconnachan and Inchtavanach used to be carpeted by lilies but increased use of the loch, especially by power boats has meant that only this patch, and a small one on the opposite side survive.

Just after this point we were treated to an aerobatic display by an osprey. It was close enough to identify but not close enough for a decent photo (I only take a compact digital in the canoe)

The wind got up as we negotiated the south end of Inchtavanach but nothing our vessel couldn’t handle. And how about this for a view to end our wee trip?

Sunday Preyer

Yesterday’s canoe voyage consisted of Richie sailing solo in his new Sevylor Colorado and Iain, an old friend of mine who I eventually persuaded to come out on the loch (“If you’d have told me a few years ago I’d be out in the middle of Loch Lomond in an inflatable canoe with YOU of all people………….”) with me in the Back Country canoe.

Yours Truly and crew yesterday (Photo by Richie)

The weather forecast was for considerable wind and there was a fair breeze, but as it was an easterly, the islands themselves provided shelter. We did one of the ‘classic’ islands voyages i.e. Aldochlay to the ‘Geggles’ via Inchmoan and then back through the ‘Narrows’. The red line below shows the route:

Canoe route in red. Approximate walk in green.

The breakfast view yesterday (this shot taken on a previous trip)

After a rather pleasant cooked breakfast and mugs of tea at the Geggles, we landed again at Inchconnachan in an attempt to show our new voyager a wallaby or two. Unfortunately no wallabies this time but we got a fantastic view of a male osprey which we were able to observe for around 15 minutes. We were almost willing him to dive for a fish but unfortunately he wasn’t for performing. We did our best to stay out of the taped off osprey nesting areas but we must have been close at points. We had a superb view of the osprey through binoculars but none of us had a powerful enough lens for a good photo. To give you a flavour, here is an osprey in flight (and this one does dive):

On the way back from Inchconnachan the easterly wind gently ushered us back to Aldochlay.

An approximate 7.5 mile round canoe trip and a couple of miles hiking in grand weather.

And the best view I’ve ever had of an osprey.

Smashing.

Spring Has Sprung

Wee trip on the canoe this morning. This is one of my favourite spots on Loch Lomond, where a Scots Pine on the island of Inchconnachan is silhouetted against Conic Hill and the (grey) sky.

I met a couple of reprobates in another inflatable:

And as if to emphasise that the tourist season is here, after loading the canoe back into the pick up, the Luss pony and trap passed by:

Calm

After Sunday’s exertions, Loch Lomond was like this, this evening.

The Ben

Glen Luss

Aldochlay - Calm

The Narrows

Inchtavannach

It’s been about six weeks since I’ve been out on the canoe on Loch Lomond but we put that right today. Richie and I set paddle for Inchtavannach at early o’clock. It is one of the most accessible islands on the loch and it is steeped in history. Having got to a bay on the north of the island, we set off up Tom na Clag, or Hill of the Bell (Mediaeval monks constructed a bell on the hill to call locals to worship). The summit is just over 80 metres giving a good vantage point. The weather was a bit dull but I still got these two photos

Camstradden House

A grey day on the loch from Tom na Clag summit

Camstradden House is now the seat of the Colquhoun clan who own Luss Estates. Their previous home Rossdhu House is now the clubhouse at Loch Lomond Golf Club where fees are a modest five figure sum per year.

Camstradden has a place in local folklore as it is reputed to be the location of a lost village now submerged under the loch. I can’t find any evidence to substantiate the legend but it survives nonetheless.

Richie and I then came back down to the bay and had traditional Scottish breakfast of square slice on a roll and a big mug of tea.

Poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge visited Inchtavannach in the early 19th century. I’m sure we had a better breakfast than they did.

Osprey. Photo at lochlomondangling.com

We had already seen two peregrine falcons at the summit but as we sat and ate breakfast we observed three ospreys above Fraoch (Heather) Island. We got a cracking view thanks to Richie’s binoculars which have lenses mounted on gyroscopes which compensate for slight movement (shaky hands etc.)

Although Richie is a zooologist, he was stumped by this flourecent bug.

Mystery bug

We paddled round between Inchtavannach and Inchconnachan and round the rest of Inchtavannach before returning to Aldochlay where I took this photo.

The canoe at Aldochlay

Wee Peter – The Full Story!

With reference to my previous posting, I was delighted to find this video on Youtube

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