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New Header Picture

I have a feeling I may have used the photo before but it’s one of my favourites. I took it on My 30th 2010 and is Loch Lomond and the Ben from Inchcailloch summit.

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.

Glorious

Yesterday I was on Loch Lomond on the canoe again – mostly around and on the island of Inchlonaig Plenty of noisy geese around but I didn’t see any of the ospreys now nesting on Inchconnachan. The Loch is very shallow on the north side of Inchlonaig so sailors/canoeists should be wary of the many rock hazards. I hit a few but thankfully they were smooth rocks with no damage to the inflatable.

Luss from Inchlonaig

Breakfast view from Inchlonaig yesterday morning.

Ben Lomond and Inchlonaig

The route I took including stops, one on Inchlonaig and one on Inchconnachan is marked here in red. I suppose it’s about 8-9 miles.

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:

Mist Again

Out for only my second canoe trip on Loch Lomond this year today. It was warm and mainly misty and the mist didn’t really lift.

It was my first voyage in Richie’s Sevylor Colorado which he bought a few months ago.

I got a few photos of which these were the best:

Inchmoan and Inchfad with Conic Hill in the background. Or is it a Roscharch blob?

'The Geggles' Inchmoan this morning.

The breakfast view.

Wha’ll Tha’ Be?

Spent a thoroughly enjoyable few hours on the loch this morning both on the canoe and also ashore at Inchconnachan (aka wallaby island). My paddling partner today was BLFP correspondent Leveller who seemed to enjoy the trip and was delighted when after one wallaby had given us the slip after a brief glimpse, this one seemed to almost pose for photographs.

Wallaby in the wild - in Scotland!

Not the best day for scenic photos but managed this:

Moody morning on the loch.

Calm

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

The Ben

Glen Luss

Aldochlay - Calm

The Narrows

It’s That Loch Groove Thang Again!

Can’t stay away from the place. I had a day off today so took to the loch in the canoe for the morning.

Paddled through the narrows, round Inchmoan and back.

Because it was a weekday there was hardly a soul about.

My! it was great!

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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

Inch by Inch

The weather forecast predicted a deluge in West Central Scotland lasting most of the day. It was therefore with one eye on the sky I set out just after six this morning for Loch Lomond with the inflatable canoe.

Having got everything ready at Aldochlay I was on the water by about 6:40.

First port of call was the island of Inchgalbraith. This comes from the excellent lochlomond-islands.com

THIS TINY islet lying not far south-west of Inchmoan is thought to be a crannog or artificial island , built by Iron Age people as a dwelling place safe from human and animal predators.

Usually crannogs could be reached by foot by means of submerged causeways, which followed a circuitous course in order to confuse attackers. Presumably a crannog like Inchgalbraith where the nearest land was an island was doubly secure.
Whatever its primitive man-made origins, the island was found or made strong enough to support the medieval castle of the Galbraiths, the tree camouflaged ruins of which take up most of the island. At one time the Galbraiths owned Bannachra in Glen Fruin, and the erstwhile crannog formed part of this estate. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, and possibly earlier, the castle was already a ruin, and on its topmost point was the eyrie of ospreys, birds which later became extinct throughout the British Isles, but which are now to be seen over Loch Lomond once more. In the last century it was reported that the ospreys on Inchgalbraith had been destroyed by Mr John Colquhoun, author of The Moor and the Loch, an act which he was said to have later regretted.
Today, veiled in trees and bushes, the old castle walls still stand high although buffeted by centuries of winter storms, a testimony to the skill of those who built them and to the much earlier men who created the land from which they rise.

I took these photos:

Inchgalbraith Island and Castle

Galbraiths Castle

It seemed like a good place to boil up a cuppa and have breakfast. There was much evidence of deer but none on the island. The fallow deer on the loch swim between the islands and the mainland.

Inchgalbraith is only about 25 metres at longest and widest.

After breakfast it was on to Inchmoan.

Inchmoan is Loch Lomond’s Pacific island. There are no shading palms, no coral reefs, but on a summer’s day Inchmoan’s long, curving sandy beaches become the nearest thing to a tropical paradise that Scotland has to offer. All the activity is on the fringes of the long, flat island for the interior is a jungle of rhododendron, birch, alder, gorse, bog myrtle and blaeberry, the peaceful sanctuary of visiting fallow deer. Only on the western peninsula and at the other extremity of the island, near to Inchcruin, is there a different world of high Scots pines.

The Loch Lomond tropics on a dull day this morning.

Along with Inchlonaig, Inchmoan was granted to the Colquhoun clan by Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, in the reign of Alexander II. Sir Robert Kilpatrick, of Colquhoun, married the daughter of the Laird of Luss, and their descendants became known as the Colquhouns of Luss. Inchmoan has remained the property of the Luss Estate since these
far away times. Despite the fact that there are ruins of a substantial building, with wall still standing two storeys high, among the pines on the western peninsula, there is no record of anyone having lived on Inchmoan within historical times. It is said that the ruined building was started by a man from the Vale of Leven early in the nineteenth century, but running out of money he was unable to complete it. Standing gaunt and empty among the pines it conceals its secrets well.

The Inchmoan building. An unfinished project?

For centuries the mainland inhabitants of Luss used Inchmoan as their source of peat fuel, and in early summer it must have been a hive of industry with boats being rowed out, men cutting deep into the peat banks, and women and children stacking the peats to dry in the summer sun, 1ater to be carried to the boats and brought home in autumn. The narrow shallow strait .between Inchmoan and Inchcruin is called the Geggles’..

One Incmoan Beach (Palm trees and sunshine not pictured)

There were plenty campers and boats in the area this morning. This was my first visit to Inchmoan and I can vouch for the fact that it is peaty. Each step finds you sinking gently into the terra not so firma. Most of it is fairly dry (probably due to recent weather) but very spongy.

From Inchmoan I paddled around the ‘far side’ of Inchconnachan (see BLFP passim) where there are several warning markers like this:

These buoys mark the osprey nesting sites on Inchconnachan.

Despite evidence of some pretty bad and nonsensical behaviour from visitors, it was good to see that this warning was being respected by the boaters. I continued round the north end of the island and as the canoe had taken in a wee bit of water I pulled in at Inchtavannach to empty it and boil up another cuppa. I took these photos from the shore.

Fraoch Eilean (Heather Island) used as a prison in the 18th century

Inchlonaig from Inchtavannach

On the way back and just pulling into Aldochlay Bay, this old timer waved and shouted a cheery “Good Morning!” from his boat.

Boat and owner have been together 65 years!

He explained that he had bought this boat from Glasgow Corporation 65 years ago for fifty shillings when he was a teenager! At that stage they had gone on to fibre glass lifeboats and had sold all their cedar lifeboats for £2 and the mahogany ones for 50/-.

Considering their respective ages, both boat and man looked in exceedingly fine nick!

The weather forecast was thankfully wrong and other than a light shower, I completed the journey (on loch and land about six hours in total) in fairly decent weather (despite the clouds in the photos).

My paddling partner Richie couldn’t make it today but on our next trip we’ll probably reprise this one and take in Inchcruin as well.

The photos today were on the wee digital as I don’t usually risk the big camera on the canoe.

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