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View from Canoe

Richie, Thomas and I took a trip from Milarrochay Bay to the tiny island of Eilean Darroch this morning. Eilean Darroch is at the tip of Inchfad which is an inhabited island with a farm on it. The inhabitants of Inchfad regard it as a PRIVATE!! island and visitors are not encouraged.

I was absolutely shocked therefore when one of our party paddled ashore and relieved himself on the island.

There is a legend that Eilean Darroch once hosted an illicit still.

Today its just a wee island with plenty trees and wild flowers as well as some oyster catchers, sandpipers and other birds.

It was pretty choppy today and whilst we had enjoyed the benefit of that on the way out, on the way back it was a different story!

Inchcruin this morning

Creinch and Inchmurrin from Eilean Darroch

Torrinch - Taken into the sun on Eilean Darroch

And just in case you haven’t noticed a shot of Ben Lomond here for a while…..

The Ben with Buccinch and Inchlonaig

Richie took this one of yours Truly:

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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.

View from Canoe

Nice day out on the Loch today. It was a bit windy and therefore quite tasty at times as far as the paddling went.

Richie and I were joined by Richie’s pal for the morning which included a cracking breakfast on the island of Inchcruin.

Got some not bad snaps:

Richie and Thomas paddling towards the "Geggles" with Glen Luss in the background.

Two men and a canoe. Glen Luss, islands and Ben Lomond also pictured

Our breakfast view from Inchcruin. Must have been the herbal tea!

Yours truly with Buccinch and Ben Lomond in the background

Carry On Camping? Or Not?

This article appeared on the BBC this week about a possible wild camping ban on Loch Lomond.

I wrote here nearly two years ago about the need for something to be done.

I was on Inchconnachan yesterday and the combination of uprooted trees and debris from the recent storms along with the evidence from visitors of campfires and litter made for a sorry sight indeed.

Four of the most accessible islands, Inchtavanach, Inchconnachan, Inchmoan and Inchcruin are sites of special scientific interest and are the ones for which the wild camping ban is proposed.

However I don’t see how this would work. Several other islands in the vicinity and not that much more inaccessible, would surely then inherit the problems. Inchlonaig can be reached just as easily and already has a significant litter problem.

Yesterday on Inchconnachan, I took these photos:

This is the ruin of the house on Inchconnachan, which I wrote about here

Of course the majority of visitors aren’t destructive. Someone has obviously taken great time and care over this mural on the living room wall of the old house.

I have a memory of sailing to the mouth of the narrows (the stretch of water between Inchtavanach and Inchconnachan) on the Maid of the Loch when I was a youngster. The image in my mind is so old it is almost black and white but I can remember seeing the old house and boat shelter when they were still in use.

Whilst it is extremely doubtful that either the Maid or the house will ever be restored to their former glories, Those in charge of the islands have a duty to preserve them in the best way possible to be enjoyed by this and future generations.

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.

The Other side of the Loch

I’ve been chronicling my canoe trips on Loch Lomond and elsewhere for over two years now. Generally the trips have been to the islands and have been, if not in flat calm conditions, then in a light breeze.

Today Richie and I decided to go to the south side of Inchcruin to see if we could see any capercaillie.

So, armed with binoculars and camera we took off from Aldochlay in the inflatable and got to our destination in about an hour and a half of leisurely paddling round Inchtavannach and Inchmoan.
We stopped at Inchtavannach to get a photo of some fallow deer but they were a bit shy. The fence was for a couple of horses. The deer demonstrated how they could jump it nae bother.

Bucinch from the shore at Inchcruin

We had a look around Inchcruin, didn’t see any capercaillie, had our breakfast and at 10:30 jumped back into the boat. “We’ll be back at base for 12:00 midday” said I somewhat optimistically.

So remember I was saying about it being calm or a light wind? When we re-took to the loch a considerable wind was blowing. We had a look at our intended route round the north of Inchmoan – no chance! it was blowing a hoolie and the waves were ten feet tall. (ok I’m exaggerating but there were waves!)

We therefore elected to take the route south of the island figuring that it would give us shelter from the north westerly wind.

We were wrong!

Once we had got to the far end of Inchmoan (By this time it was 1:30!) things did seem a bit calmer.

Your humble blogger on the shore at Inchmoan with Inchgalbraith and Loch Lomond Golf Club in the background.

After a much needed rest, we decided that the “narrows” the stretch of water between Inchtavannach and Inchconnachan would be our best bet.

Wrong again!

The wind was just the right direction to blow right down the narrows, turning this normally tranquil stretch into a hybrid between the Crazy River, The Severn Boar and Cape Horn!

We decided it was futile as at one point when we stopped paddling we were swept back about 200 yards in a few seconds.

Powerboat owners were sniggering knowingly as they observed.

One guy on Inchconnachan, also in a canoe had phoned the Ranger service about a possible rescue. We decided however that he was a bit of a woos.

Back round the south end of Inchtavannach then and despite another rather windy bit just before Aldochlay we arrived back a full two and a half hours (spent mainly paddling into wind and waves) after our estimate.

I’m knackered!

Richie, at least 15 years my junior and in a somewhat superior status of physical fitness, was shattered too.

A choppy loch, Inchmoan and the Ben

You know what though?

We enjoyed it.

CRazy!

A Fit of the Geggles

Another fantastic day on Loch Lomond.

This morning my friend Richie and I set off for Inchcruin in the canoe.

Here is what the wonderful lochlomond-islands.com says about the island

LOW AND mostly wooded with birch and alder, Inchcruin forms part of the beautiful archipelago in the central part of the Loch. Towards its southeastern end is a little round peninsula, covered in Scots pines, and joined to the main island by a narrow isthmus, forming sandy bays on both its shores. Elsewhere its coasts are often rock strewn and on the south-west side it all but joins Inchmoan, being separated only by a narrow and shallow strait known to anglers as The Geggles.
This may be crossed on foot when the water level is low, and one can imagine the inhabitants of Inchcruin splashing across to Inchmoan in search of their straying cattle. Now the boundary between Central Region and Strathclyde cuts through this strait, as did the old boundary between Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire.
Why it acquired the name of Inchcruin, which seems to stem from the Gaelic for round island’ is difficult to appreciate, for it certainly is not round. Perhaps the little round peninsula gave its name to the whole island! Another suggested explanation is that the island may have derived its name from a different Gaelic origin, the expression “chan eu e cruinn , meaning he is not sane’, as in the past it was used for the confinement of insane people.
Belonging to the Montrose estates, Inchcruin was tenanted and farmed certainly into the mid nineteenth century, and probably until much later. The tenants in the early decades of this century seem to have used the island as a holiday retreat, a purpose for which it is still used by the Scott family, the present owners, who maintain the 150 year old cottage sited by the open fields’ of former arable ground on the eastern shore. Set safely away from the water, dry and snug on a gravel bank, it occupies the site of an even earlier house, and it has a 1940s extension which originated in the temporary wartime Bellahouston Hospital in Glasgow. The fields have been systematically drained, with tiled channels leading into a main drain, and it is believed that this work was carried out by mentally retarded inmates towards the end of the eighteenth century.
Having previously leased the island for rental of about £6 per annum, Mrs Scott’s father, Malcolm Irvine bought it from the Montrose Estate in 1930. Mr Irvine worked in the film industry in Glasgow, and during the Second World War he brought many films out to [nchcruin for storage safe from the threat of destruction in air raids. After the war for about eighteen months he became the last person to reside permanently on the island. He kept goats, hens, ducks and geese and grew some small crops, and as there are no springs he, like his predecessors, had to use the Loch as his water supply. In one respect though his lifestyle was different from theirs, for in a shed behind his cottage he kept his motor lorry, and although there are no roads, he managed to patrol his little kingdom at its wheel!
The lorry was an exAmerican Army First World War Dodge, and happily it has survived, restored and cherished by Mr Kerr of Inverbeg.
One day Mr Irvine’s billy goat, overcome by loneliness, set out to swim to Inchconnachan, where some of the Buchanan family who resided in the bungalow there,, were swimming near the beach. There was consternation when this frightening horned and bearded head was seen cutting through the water.

Having paddled through The Geggles we went along the coast of Inchcruin but somehow the sandy beaches of Inchmoan seemed more inviting than the rocky shores of Inchcruin so we paddled back to the Geggles. You could certainly paddle between the islands today. Of course I had the wee camera.

The view from Inchgalbraith

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Richie took a cracking shot of Inchmoan with the Ben in the backgound which can be seen here