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I’m nothing if not predictable.

A day off.

Out on the boat.

Photo: AnElephantCant

We went to Inchcailloch which I have written about many times before.

We visited the ancient burial ground.

This is the grave of the Clan Chief of the MacGregors, Gregor McGregor, buried in the grounds of the 13th century church.

I can’t find too much information about Gregor MacGregor but readers may be more familiar with his nephew Raibeart Ruadh MacGregor – otherwise Red Robert but perhaps more commonly known as Rob Roy

Inchcailloch, along with the islands of Torrinch, Creinch and Inchmurrin form part of the Highland fault line. These are the latter islands photographed from the former today.

And on the way out, this was Inchmurrin with Ben Lomond in the background:


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.

Out and About

Took a wee walk on a section of the West Highland Way between Drymen and Balmaha this morning. I had bought a digicam from my friend Iain this week (my previous one hasn’t been holding a charge and my dog has eaten the xd card) £59.95 for a 14 megapixel digital camera and a free Nokia phone with it!

The photos weren’t bad

'Into the trees'

Loch Lomond from the east side, including Inchcailloch, Torrinch,Creinch and Inchmurrin

Sally the dug, aka the memory card muncher.

Inchmurrin Again

When Richie and I paddled out to the far end of Inchmurrin on Loch Lomond on 26th Sept (see post below) we noticed a hazard marked by buoys just off the island of Creinch

Creinch from Inchmurrin

We checked on the map and found that the hazard was known as the Prince of Wales Rock. We speculated as to why this part of Loch Lomond in general and the rock in particular would have any connection to the Prince of Wales. Had a Prince of Wales (maybe Edward VII) visited? Was it something to do with the shape of the rock maybe?
As a remarkable coincidence, I got a message from Richie the other day to check the Lennox Herald from last week in the 150 years ago section of local news.

Here I found a brief reference to the story of how in September 1860, 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, most probably the Queen Victoria. She was subsequently towed down the Leven and up to Bowling for repairs to be made.

The mystery was solved.

The steamer which through ill fortune gave its name to the rock went on to ply its trade on the loch for a further forty years.

The Prince of Wales steamer.

The probable rescue vessel the Queen Victoria, seen here in her later incarnation as the Swallow

Thanks to the wonderful vale of leven.org for the information and photos.

The Highland Boundary Fault

I had meant to mention that Richie’s and my canoe trip on Sunday started off in the lowlands of Scotland, then progressed to the highlands before we returned to the lowlands once again.

The Highland Boundary Fault is a geological fault that traverses Scotland from Arran and Helensburgh on the west coast to Stonehaven in the east. It separates two distinctly different physiographic regions: the Highlands from the Lowlands, but in most places it is only recognisable as a change in topography. Aligned southwest to northeast, from Lochranza on Arran it bisects the Isle of Bute, and crosses the south eastern parts of the Cowal and Rosneath Peninsulas as it passes up the Firth of Clyde. It comes ashore near Helensburgh then continues through Loch Lomond. The loch islands of Inchmurrin, Creinch, Torrinch, and Inchcailloch all form part of the Highland Boundary Fault.

Conic Hill, Inchcailoch,Torinch,Creinch and Inchmurrin. Part of the Highland Boundary Fault

Geological map of central Scotland. The fault divides the Old Red Sandstone and Devonian deposits (brownish, no. 23, at centre) from the Metamorphic and Archaean deposits (pinkish, no. 27, above the brownish).

Topological map of central Scotland. Lower elevations (greenish) are separated from higher elevations (brownish) by the fault line.

From Loch Lomond it continues to Aberfoyle, then Callander, Comrie and Crieff. It then forms the northern boundary of Strathmore and reaches the North Sea immediately north of Stonehaven near the ruined Chapel of St. Mary and St. Nathalan.To the north and west lie hard Precambrian and Cambrian metamorphic rocks: marine deposits metamorphosed to schists, phyllites and slates. To the south and east are Old Red Sandstone conglomerates and sandstones: softer, sedimentary rocks of the Devonian and Carboniferous periods.

The Highland Boundary Fault was active during the Caledonian Orogeny,a plate tectonic collision which took place from Mid Ordovician to Mid Devonian periods (520 to 400 million years ago), during the closure of the Iapetus Ocean. The fault allowed the Midland Valley to descend as a major rift by up to 4000 metres and there was subsequently vertical movement. This earlier vertical movement was later replaced by a horizontal shear. A complementary fault, the Southern Uplands Fault, forms the southern boundary for the Central Lowlands.