The 4th of October 2015 I enjoyed an excellent safari with seven new clients.
After a relaxing coffee at the Lodge on loch Lomond Hotel, where we discussed what to look forward to, we set off in our canoes to Inch Tavannach. We explored the north end of the island talking about wild foodstuffs and capercaillies which used to frequent the island during the mating season. After this we climbed Tom-na Clag to appreciate the southern views from the summit.
A short paddle to the next island allowed us to explore the site of the old Lodge House and undertake a Wallaby trek……Were we successful in spotting one? Well that’s our little secret!
The intrepid group set off down the narrows and visited honeymoon bay on Inch Moan before heading back to Luss.
All had a wonderful day out learning much about the history and heritage of Loch Lomond.
Rafted together at Luss
The group at Honeymoon Bay
Places: Luss, Inch Tavannach, Inch Connachan, Inch Moan
Fauna: Cormorant, Mute Swan, Malard Ducks, Wallaby
Flora: Blaeberry, Wood sorrel, Horse's Hoof Fungi, Hawthorn, Western Atlantic Oak
Could a family of 18 French people, here in Scotland to celebrate a 50th birthday, enjoy themselves in the pouring rain driven by gale force winds? Of course they could!!
That’s just what happened on the 12th of September! The hope had been to climb Connich Hill at Balmaha in the morning and then canoe to Inchcailloch for lunch. But the weather was too rough for canoeing and plans had to change.
It was decided to visit Inchcailloch by Macfarlane’s ferry first and the party duly set off.
The first location visited was the ancient graveyard where many of the area’s clan chiefs were interned. We then took the northern path to Port Bawn where, regardless of the rain, the group posed for pictures (see below). Some also went to the Ranger’s hut, to listen for bats which nestle in amongst the wooden panels on the outer walls.
Learning about flora and fauna as they progressed, the group climbed to the top of the island to see the view over the Loch and along the Highland Boundary Fault line.
Once back on the mainland and after a short break, the group ascended Connich Hill to the ridge. A strong blast accompanied the rain but the group were undaunted and appreciated the views of twisted mist patterns flowing over the islands. As they descended by the West route, there was a temporary clearance and ‘almost’ a glimpse of sun shine. A cheer went up which showed that spirits had remained high.
It was a great privilege to have shared this time with everyone and I hope that on their next visit the sun will be shining brightly.
Enjoying the Beach at Port Bawn
A good family day was enjoyed paddling to Inch Tavannach and back from Luss today.
It involved some bushcraft too; searching for wild berries and plants that were useful to people in the past. We also tried some fire lighting with bows and pintles and then strikers. The latter was successful but it was clear that firelighting, in the past, was a very specialist skill.
I had a great day out with Rebecca and Ben from Australia last Monday. It was fearfully cold and we had to cope with strong winds, but they were determined to make the islands – ‘Wallaby’ island in particular. After leaving from Lodge on Loch Lomond we had a hard paddle down the coast towards Ardlui allowing us space for drift on our crossing to Inch Tavannach. (Congratulations R&B on your canoe handling!)
After climbing Tom-na-clagg and admiring the view to the south we had lunch on the sheltered north beach. We then entered the narrows and set foot on Inch Connachan. It seems ironic that Rebecca and Ben would travel all the way to Scotland to just to see wallabies when they have plenty of them on their doorstep, almost literally!
Did they see any? Well that’s a secret between them and me! The one thing that I can say was special for Ben was to experience his first snow shower:)
Off Lodge on Loch Lomond
The Beach on Inch Tavannach
The weather forecast was not good! However, undaunted, Laura and Steve were up for the challenge. Rather than attempting the usual open crossing to the Islands, we hugged the coastal route south to the quaint little village of Ardochly, on Loch Lomond side. After resting there we rafted the canoes and let the wind take us across to Inch Tavannach – the island of the monks. After exploring the island and climbing to the top of ‘Thom-na-Clagg’ – hill of the bell – we paddled hard across wind, back to the mainland close to mouth of the River Luss. My congratulations to Laura and Steve for the determination and skill they showed. The challenge greatly added to the day’s event. Good paddling. Gold star each!
Chillin’ on Inch Tavannach
Places: Luss, Inch Tavannach, Ardochlay
Fauna: Canadian Geese, Gulls, Merganser Ducks, Swans, Oyster Chatcher
Flora: Sphagnum moss, Mountain soft rush, Hawthorn, Atlantic Oak, Birch Bark, Old Man's Bear Lichen, Horse's Hoof Fungus