I have been promising to take Warthog1981 (Russell) out on an overnight canoe trip for ages but between his weird weekends (Tuesday and Saturday?) and me being busy it is hard to sort out. However a few weeks ago we set this weekend aside for an overnight trip. The only problem being that we were going regardless of the weather.
The trip was to have a paddle round and camp on one of the islands on Loch Lomond. I had said I would show Russell a few of the really wild spots were there is little sign , if any, of people. We were originally planning on camping at one of these spots.
Russell stayed over at my house on Friday so we could head of early on Saturday morning to Balmaha.
When we arrived at Balmaha we found a canoe with some people round it. It turned out that they were filming a spot for the Adventure Show. It involved them paddling out to the Inchcialloch and seeing the wildlife etc.
There was a lot of pestering for an autograph but I just would not sign one
So loading up complete off we set.
The weather was kind to us. There was no rain and only a slight breeze. It was not even that cold. In the picture above Inchcialloch is to the right and the left island is Clairinish.
We headed round to the far end of Clairinish to have a look at the camp site we would use if no where else was suitable or if the weather turned bad. It is not really wild but is a good spot and handy for getting back if the weather is wild.
The canoe looks pretty full and it is but there are two peoples kit and it is only a 15 foot canoe. Plus the pack at the back is just Russell's food
From here we headed round the south west point of Inchcialloch
We went round to the proper camp site. Which has no real facilities. They do have a composting toilet but there is no water or other facilities. We discovered that the toilet is left unlocked and a new plan started to come to us. We could come and camp at this site, which was deserted, and have the island to ourselves. We were not settled on this but it was the spark of an idea.
The canoe and accompanying power boat with cameraman arrived at the camp site just as we were leaving for Torrinch. We headed round to the south west end of Torrinch and Russell and I sourced some wood for our night time fire.
With our additional cargo of wood we now headed on to Creinch for some Lunch
As hard as Russell and I tried we could not stop adopting this pose of standing with our hands tucked into the PFD. It did look a bit silly but it was comfortable and kept your hands warm.
After lunch we tried sailing back to Inchcialloch but the wind was not strong enough so we had to paddle after all. At Inchcailoch there were two boats. the rangers and the film crew. We went for a bit of a look around the island while deciding what to do about a camp spot for the night. Our thoughts were to ask the ranger if we could camp there.
We saw the film crew and ranger but they looked busy so we had a look at the old church yard.
Coming out of the church yard. We spotted a deer. We had spotted one earlier and had seen plenty of signs but this one stayed put long enough to get a bad picture
We went back to the canoe and decided to have a paddle right round Inchcialloch in a clock-ward direction. The conditions were ideal so it seemed daft not to be on the water.
By the time we got back round to the camp site everyone was away and it was starting to get dark. We decided we would camp at the camp site, actually as we were using hammocks we were not actually in the camp site just very very close to it.
We got the tarps up just as the heavens opened and it started to pour down with rain. We got the hammocks set up and them moved a picnic table over for us to use, no reason to rough it .
We got the fire lit and settled in for the evening.
The rain did not last too Long and we only had few showers during the night but we stayed dry and warm throughout anyway.
At 10pm we were treated to a great fireworks display from across the other side of the Loch.
In the morning I got a picture of out camp set up.
We used the firebox for our fire and it was raised up on stones with an old disposable barbecue used to protect the ground from the heat so even though we had a fire going all evening and again to toast breakfast, when we left you would never have known we had been there.
We loaded up the canoe again and headed back to Balmaha to dump some of the kit in the car. We had thought it was still a calm day with light wind but once we got round the point of Inchcailloch we found that it was actually quite choppy.
It was actually very choppy but by that time I was not taking pictures Russell was a bit concerned when one of the waves broke over the edge of the canoe and let a little water in. I told him it was nothing to worry about, whilst I looked round to see how far I would need to swim to shore .
Of course we made it to Balmaha without any great amount of water in the canoe. We dumped most of the kit and headed back out on the water. The wind was really up now and just getting across and round to the sheltered part of Inchcailloch was hard work.
We were going to land at the jetty at the north east end of Inchcialloch but as well as being underwater there is apparently no parking allowed
We had a paddle round the north side of Inchcailloch, out of the wind, then stopped for lunch to give us strength for the crossing in the wind back to Balmaha.
While having lunch we saw three canoes coming toward us. One a Charles River. I immediately assumed this would be Scot Charles River (another SotP member) as he had said he might be here on Sunday. As the canoes got closer the two colemans kept coming toward us but the Charles River headed off down wind. I whistled and waved and was sure he had seen me but when we loaded up the canoe he was heading off again.
Russell and I set of in pursuit. With the wind at our backs we make good time but so did he.
By the time we caught up we were knackered and not looking forward to the paddle back into the wind. When I asked if he was Scot Charles River he said he was not but then quickly said it was Bikemec (another SotP member) who had come out for a paddle on the off chance he might meet us.
We had a good chat and it turned out he was parked near to where we were so he gave me a lift to my car to save the upwind paddle back to Balmaha.
All in all a good weekend and Russell did keep mentioning things like "the next time this" or "the next time that" so I am guessing he will want to come again.