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.
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.
It was the day after Catrina’s wedding – Congratulations Catrina! – and to allow the adults to relax after the celebrations a bushcraft/survival event was organised.
After a blindfold team game and guessing the weight of an Atlantic Oak tree, we set off to explore the natural world. First was and Alice in Wonderland examination of mole burrows underneath the grass. Then we were off along the coast of Loch Lomond in search of ‘alien’ species.
For their own protection the group realised a shelter should be built and everyone work hard as a team to ensure a superior quality shelter was made.
Members of the group foraging.
Showing off the Shelter
Once the shelter was build they set off in search of wild foods, but found it more fun to play Mountain Soft Rush darts instead! On the way back to the Hostel everyone stopped to find out more about fire-lighting and great effort was made in using strikers – more fireworks than flame – but the techniques were definitely developing.
A great time was had by all and I must say, that from a leader’s point of view, I have seldom worked with a more attentive and hard working group.
Well done teammates!
Friday 8th July was a great day out with a local group (Glasgow) from Luss to two of Loch Lomond’s many islands. On the first we found out about the uses of Sphangnum Moss, Horse’s Hoof Fungi and some of nature’s own medicines as well as collecting and tasting Blaeberries, Wood Sorrel and Pine needles (not so pleasant). On the second we searched in vain for sight of the island’s few remaining wallabies, and discovered some of the history of the island and it’s inhabitants. A strong headwind on the way home meant that all the paddling skills developed in the morning were put to good use and we were even treated to some warm and sunny spells on our return journey too.
Its not often that we have such a large group but last weekend saw sixteen participants take to the water for a Loch Lomond Islands Canoe Safari. The weather may have been a little ‘damp’ at times but spirits were high as we set of from The Lodge on the Loch Hotel at Luss.
The group visited Inch Tavannach and all managed the climb up the little hill, Thom-na-Clagg, from which they marvelled at the view which included the site of an ancient Crannog.
Well done to all and many thanks for a great day out.