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It’s been a long cold lonely winter…..

A few signs that spring is grudgingly springing here in West Central Scotland.

Yesterday saw my first boat launch of the season. I just had a new steering cable fitted to the outboard. The motor hadn’t been run for about 8 months and I wondered if it would catch. On the third pull of the chord it fired up and provided me with a good morning’s spring boating.

Mind you I’m glad I went out at 7:30 because by midday, winter was setting in again.

I got some photos:

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The Berries

Enjoying the second week of my staycation and finally yesterday was the opportunity to get the boat out for a whole day as the weather was promising.

Sometimes I think I have enough photos of Loch Lomond but I had the wee pocket camera just in case. I also took out the guitar and moothie. I have a solo slot at a gig on Friday and this was an opportunity to rehearse without annoying anyone.

I got my best ever view of a pair of ospreys as they accompanied me for about a mile on the journey north. They nest on the island of Inchconnachan. I got a superb view of them through the binoculars but unfortunately they were out of range for a decent photo.

En route to Inchlonaig island, I took this shot of Inchgalbraith with its ruined medieval castle.

Later as I strummed at the north end of Inchlonaig, it wasn’t long before I got another photo opportunity. The Loch Lomond Seaplane seemed to swoop lower than usual. I think I may have caught the pilot announcing “and if you look down to your left, you can see some eejit playing a guitar”

Inchlonaig means “Island of the Yew tree”. Yews are low, densely branched trees. Because of the long thick branches the wood was ideal for making bows, arrows and spears. Inchlonaig was the source of the material for most of the weapons at the Battle of Bannockburn and therefore probably the first centre of munitions production in Scotland.

One of the Inchlonaig yews (this photo taken on an earlier visit)

Many kings and dukes also visited Inchlonaig to go deer hunting.

The island is uninhabited most of the time although there is one holiday home:

When I say holiday home it has bars on the windows, no mains electricity, water or gas but it does have its own private jetty.

There’s another ruined cottage which you can see here from the shade of a yew tree:

Also on my walk I got this view of Ben Lomond

No need to go hungry either. The place is carpeted in blaeberries.

The wind had got up a bit on the way back so the wee boat (and me) were buffeted a bit on the way back to Balloch.

Still it was a rather excellent wee jaunt.

A Day in Pictures

Yesterday morning was spent on the loch:

Eilean Fraoch (Heather Island) Loch Lomond


The island of Inchlonaig has many yew trees. These were first planted on the orders of Robert the Bruce to supply wood for bows and arrows. Many of the weapons at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 were fashioned from wood from Yew trees grown on Inchlonaig.

View from Inchlonaig of Inchcruin and Inchmoan. The Geggles, the thinstretch of water between the two islands can be seen.

In the afternoon the family and I took the High Road to Inveraray for a wee run and a meal. The further north one travels in Scotland the more one sees road signs like this:

Gaelic road sign in Inveraray

My recently departed friend Almax who lived in Campbeltown maintained that there was a person employed in the council offices in Kilmory with the specific task of finding Gaelic place names. He maintained that sometimes they may have been made up thus:

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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.


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.

Cracking Day

Out with my friend Richie in the canoe today.

Visited Inchconachan and Inchlonaig islands on Loch Lomond. On the latter we had full cooked breakfast which was magic. I took these photos (click on any one to enlarge).

I think Richie has the bug now and we’re all set for a trip to the island of Inchcailloch with its clan burial ground and viewpoint, in a couple of weeks.