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.
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!
A wonderful day was had accompanying members of the Sierra Club on their West Highland Way trek from Drymen to Balmaha. The route took us over Conoc Hill, a volcanic hill forming part of the Highland Boundary Fault.
En route we observed and talked about flora and fauna, forestry practices, history and heritage. This included the clan structure in the area, historical and contemporary uses of the land, the potential for Loch Lomond being used as part of a cross nation canal and much more.
We saw buzzards, peacock butterflies, a robin and Dor Beetle, commonly known as Dung Beetles.
Although cool the weather was fine with only one significant shower.
Always a pleasure I look forward to undertaking this trek again next year.