An intrepid canoe journey and bushcraft day for 4 people and one sausage dog. We began with some tandem paddling skills practice and journeyed south on Loch Lomond past the historic village of Luss. As there was a strong south westerly wind racing up the loch today, we rafted our canoes together so that we could more easily make the crossing to the islands. As we made the journey, we talked about Ben Lomond (Scotland’s most southerly munro), Conic Hill and the highland boundary and the various ways to ward off midgies, including the midge-repelling qualities of the plant Bog Myrtle.
We chose a beach on Inchconnachan and were pleased to see a plentiful supply of driftwood washed ashore. After finding a safe and clear space and collecting a range of tinder and kindling, the group showed great perseverance, getting some of the best parks I’ve ever seen from a flint and striker, until the fire was alight. We made ourselves long skewers and cooked sausages over the fire, roasting sweet potatoes in the embers. We talked about the various methods of filtering and purifying water and also found some sphagnum moss and chatted about its anti-bacterial qualities. We came across blaeberries growing behind the beach and also some Bog Myrtle.
Once we had made sure we were leaving the beach as we found it, we returned to Luss in our raft and I think only Pippa the sausage dog was really glad to be back again.
With the weather being set fair Amanda, Steve and I set off for a four island trek today. Leaving from Luss we skerry hopped to Inchloanaig to view the ancient oak trees planted for Robert the Bruce. We then headed for the narrows and Inchcailloch and conducted a short tracking session in the hope of sighting one of the Loch Lomond wallabies. We the set off for Inchmoan to set foot on Honeymoon bay. The finest of all the Loch’s beaches. Finally we visited the 14th Century castle ruins on Galbraith island before setting a course north for Luss.
After visiting ‘Little Peter’, one of Loch Lomond’s most endearing characters, we finished again at the Lodge on Loch Lomond, content with our achivement. Congratulations to Amanda and Steve on completing such a long safari.
Fantastic day for a long exploratory paddle among the islands of Loch Lomond. With only 3 of us on the trip, and a predominantly (and unusual) flat-calm day on the loch, we were able to focus on paddling skills enough to manage an impressive 10km paddle around the central cluster of islands on Loch Lomond, stopping on 3 of them to admire the views and enjoy the relatively unspoilt locations. We even managed to find time to brew some hot chocolate, forage for blaeberries and try out some solo paddling skills! As we journeyed, we chatted about the origins of Luss village, the Highland fault line and Conic Hill, the Colquhoun family and the Munros of Scotland. We saw Oyster Catchers, ducklings and Blackback gulls but unfortunately no wallabies. We were tested by a little headwind at times, especially when solo paddling, but my two companions were natural paddlers and picked up the subtleties of open boating very quickly. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we stayed out on the water for 5 hours in total, covering 10km in distance. We had glassy-still water for most of our trip and did not see one midge all day!
It was the perfect day. Calm and sunny; ideal for open canoeing. It also meant that there were no restrictions on where we could go, so the group decided that a three islands trek was on.
The first visit was to Inchloanaig to view the ancient Yew trees planted under the orders of Robert the Bruce. The second was to Inchcailloch to visit the old lodge house owned by the Colquhoun family and to try and find one of the elusive Loch Lomond wallabies!
Finally the group paddled over to Inchtavannach and enjoyed a wild food foraging before returning to Luss.
It was an excellent safari paddle, taking in a wide variety of local heritage interest too.
Thursday 4th August 2016
Two families comprising 3 adults, 4 young people and Dylan the dog joined Hidden Adventures today for a canoe trip on Loch Lomond. Dylan was very interested in our preparations and had a shot in one of the boats on dry land, but he decided in the end that it wasn't for him and went for a sleep while we went for a paddle.
We set off from the Luss Hotel in doubles canoes and after paddling down the West shore of Loch Lomond we stopped to brew some tea and hot chocolate. As the wind was picking up, we built 2 rafts from our canoes and worked as 2 teams to paddle our craft across to Inch Tavannach. On the island we found a few edible plants and tried Wood Sorrel and Blaeberries. At different points on the island and on the journey back, there were conversations about the Highland fault line running down from Conic Hill over the islands, Ben Lomond the most southerly Scottish Munro and how the hill got its name, the origins of Luss village and the recent history of Inch Connachan and the Colquhoun family.
We paddled back to Luss in our rafted canoes, in a strong headwind but with the sun warm on our faces and the sound of bagpipes drifting over the water to welcome us back as a wedding took place on the Luss waterfront.
Showers and sunny intervals were the order of the last Monday when the ‘Gould consortium’ took to the Loch on their safari.
The breeze was a little challenging, but the group were strong enough to get out to Inchtavannach to explore the island. Ascending the hill ‘Tom-na-Clag’ was a little awkward with the summer undergrowth, but the group were fortified with wild fruits and fresh water found on the way.
Well done all. You handled the boats well in tricky conditions and made a great adventure of the day.
Drinking water from natural sources.