I had my doubts. The chances of being able to open canoe on Loch Lomond in January was slim and as the time approached, the winter gales and snow storms were showing no sign of relenting. However, I had committed to providing the opportunity for Steve’s stag group to paddle if at all possible and was delighted to see a ridge of high pressure approaching just two days before the event.
I’d been in close contact with the groups organiser, Phil Anderson, a let him know the good news, but also warned him to remind the group members that it was winter and to wear plenty of layers.
The 17th of January arrived and I met the group in a snowy carpark at Ardlui Hotel, right at the head of the loch. The day turned out to be wonderful. We paddle out into the loch through a thin layer of ice. The scenery was breathtaking with the mountains surrounding us heavily shrouded in snow; Ben Oss, in particular, standing out with its pure white summit highlighted in the sun against a vivid blue sky.
All the trees around the loch side remained coated with with a picturesque layer of frost. A magical winters day. As we traveled up the river Falloch we hear a buzzard scream overhead, drawing our attention to its majestic glide. Later we saw one of the famous wild goats, originally of Spanish origin, perched on a low hanging bow of an old atlantic oak tree; giving him some status among his peers.
The grouped had travelled up from London the day before, never expecting such a wonderland. And I have to admit, that although I’m a regular on Loch Lomond, I was amazed at the winter beauty she displayed that day.