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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.

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.

Elephants Cant Paddle

Brian wrote this wee ditty about our canoe adventures on Sunday. I don’t know how this will turn out because it is a single screen grab.

 

Mist Again

It was a misty morning on Loch Lomond yesterday.

Visibility was down to about 10 metres at some points and we could hear the Luss rescue boat blasting away looking for some lost boaters.

Richie contemplates in the mist.

These two kayaks passed as we had breakfast on the shore at Inchmoan

Time for a tune as the mist lifts.

Brian the poet was on his first voyage but his body wasn’t up to the rigours and confines of the canoe and he developed cramp and a sore back.

AnElephantCant paddle!

Richie and I ended up in one canoe towing him back in the other.By this time the mist had lifted so we could check periodically that we hadn’t lost the makeshift water ambulance or our patient!

Through my canoe postings on the blog, I was contacted by a reader from England who is coming up for an Easter break and wants to see the wallabies at Inchconnachan. I have arranged to show him and his partner around on a morning voyage next week.

I see this not as an imposition but rather a reward. I love to spread the word about this unique and diverse waterway and the cheap compact and versatile qualities of the inflatable canoe.

Aye Conic (2)

Conic Hill, Inchhfad and Eiean Darroch ( and Inchmoan and Inchcailloch)

I bought another inflatable canoe on Monday. It arrived yesterday, and having a day off today I gave it its maiden voyage.

It’s a single seater, a Sevylor Rio and if you speak Czech, here’s the info!

The light wasn’t great for photos and many of the hills were covered in cloud. I got some snaps though:

Swan at Inchtavannach

Pine Tree (not the lonesome pine!) Inchconnachan

It's safe to say that water levels are high

Inchmoan

Inchmurrin from the shore at Inchmoan

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.

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!

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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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

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