Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Two days off (well one and a half really coming off night shift) and a plan was hatched. I wanted to paddle my new canoe and spend a night under the stars, Val fancied a paddle but it'd be too cold for her to sleep outdoors. So the plan was I head out Monday afternoon, paddle out to a camp spot I had in mind, bivi out. Val gets the bus to Luss next morning and I meet her there, then we have a nice paddle back to the van via the islands. Shimples!
   I got up later than I intended after my night shift so was rushing to get ready, Val kindly volunteered to go to the shops and get my food for camping but then discovered she'd lost her wallet! After turning the house upside down we couldn't find it and I was running even later (and wondering if this trip wasn't meant to be!) The only thing that Val could think of was that she'd dropped her wallet in the supermarket the day before so she set off to see while I continued to search at home fearing the worst. Eventually she got back with the wallet (it was at the supermarket) and my food so we were back on.
By the time I got to my put in at Aldochlay on Loch Lomond it was getting quite dark but no problem as the weather was settled (if cloudy), I know the loch well and I knew where I was going.
The Pal waiting to go at Aldochlay.

Rounding the southwest corner of Inchtavannach.

 It's a bit dark!!!!!

Once I got to my campsite on Inchmoan I set up my bivi-tarp, got my sleeping bag out and got my food ready to go. Although it was dark it was still only 5:45pm, a bit early for dinner. I decided to go for a paddle in the dark round Inchmoan to Inchconnachan. I wanted to try to see the wallabies and also to pick up some firewood I'd hidden there the last time I solo camped there on Halloween. As luck would have it it was full moon and the clouds started to break up as I set off. 
It was absolutely stunning!

I found the wood still where I'd left it about three weeks previously and had a quick look around for wallabies but there were non to be seen on this occasion so I loaded the wood into my canoe (it's great what you can pile into a canoe) and set off back to my campsite.
  I got back to camp for about 7:20pm so set about cooking my dinner a task made more interesting by one of my stoves exploding, briefly engulfing me in a fireball!! Once I'd extinguished the faulty stove and got the smell of burnt hair (from the backs of my hands!) out of my nostrils dinner went smoothly, it was so bright under the full moon I hardly needed my headtorch!
 After dinner, I lit my firebox and kept busy chopping wood and maintaining the fire for a couple of hours. Although it was cold I was toasty, warmed by my fire and a few cups of tea.
     After that it was bed time, luckily I have a warm sleeping bag and I slept well.
 During the night the cloud came back in and the temperature lifted above freezing but it was still chilly as I ate breakfast. The cloud broke up gradually and as the sun rose it was lovely and warm as I packed up my gear.
My camp in the daylight
Organised chaos!
My beautiful boat with a beautiful backdrop.

After a leisurely pack up I set off in perfect conditions to paddle back to Aldochlay via the narrows. Unfortunately Val had slept in and missed the bus so my paddle was to be a solitary one. 
Looking back at my campsite (just to the right of the bow of the canoe), Ben Lomond behind.
Heading towards Inchconnahan with the Luss hills in the distance.
Through the narrows ( I love the Scots Pines).
The final paddle back to Aldochlay. 

After a shaky start this trip turned out to be truly memorable. Here's hoping for plenty more to come. 


  1. Fantastic photos! They have come out really well! If all else fails - you still have your canoe!

  2. Thankyou. Yes I may have to learn to live off wallaby droppings and pine bark the way things are going.