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!
It was a breezy day with squally showers, but my guests from Ohio, USA coped admirably with the conditions.
We made our way south from the historic village of Luss close to the shore to avoid the worst effects of the wind and then made a crossing to the island of Inchtavannach in between squalls.
There we explored the capercaillie lek and studied some of the edible and function vegetation in the area.
A short passage took us to Inchconnachan where we went on a wallaby trek. Unfortunately, none were sighted this time around but sun shone whilst there and we enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the sampling some bog myrtle we headed back across to the mainland, again between squalls. A hard push saw us into sheltered waters and an easy coast back to Luss.
Many thanks to all for a wonderful day out.
The first safari of 2016 took place on the 9th of April and it didn’t fail to live up to expectations; wonderful scenery, wildlife and heritage. Simon and Mairead chose to enjoy a short spring break incorporating a heritage and nature canoe safari on Loch lomond.
One of the advantages of visiting Inchconnachan early in the season is seeing the magnificent blossom on the magnolia tree.
Identifying some wallaby spoor we knew there was still a chance of seeing one. Creeping steadily through the undergrowth we saw something moving, which turned out to be a roe deer. A little further on we were rewarded with a clear view of one of the islands red necked wallabies.
After our trek we circumnavigated Inchtavannach, visiting ‘Little Peter’ en route.
My thanks to Simon and Mired for a wonderful start to the season.