Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Inveruglas Isle.

When Stephen and I did our "Wrong end of the loch" trip ( ) back in April we'd hoped to visit some of the islands at the northern end of Loch Lomond. Due to our lack of sailing experience and the very light winds we encountered on the first day we didn't make progress as quickly as we'd hoped and as a result didn't have time to visit any of the northern islands.
Recently while chatting to Pat the topic came up again and Pat mentioned that he'd like to see Inveruglas Isle in particular. Pat's Mum grew up at Inveruglas and as a youngster she and her friends had visited the isle to explore the ruined MacFarlane clan castle there. Pat was keen to see the castle with his own eyes and I'm happy to use any excuse to get out in my canoe so we hatched a plan to do a day trip to Inveruglas Isle.
 We launched at Tarbet again, unfortunately the gates on the track down to the slipway are locked during the summer months so we had to carry the boats down to the water's edge.
Once on the water we headed out past Tarbet Isle, the wind was light so I ended up paddling a lot on this section. Pat's a sailor too so he understood the vagaries of dealing with flukey, light winds and was happy to drift about waiting for me as I tried to sail when possible.
Once we reached the northern side of Tarbet Isle the wind picked up a bit from the north so I started to tack up the loch. Pat was paddling straight upwind so he made much better progress than me and had to stop frequently while I zig-zagged my way up the loch.
There were spells when the wind picked up nicely and others when I was making slow progress but eventually we made it into the bay at Inveruglas. Pat landed on the island before me and as I sailed towards our destination I could see him on the small wooded isle watching and taking photos of me.
He had already had time to scout for the best landing spot and shouted directions to me as I paddled past.
Pat had found a perfect beach hidden by the overhanging trees, it reminded me of the Swallows and Amazons book as I paddled in.
It was lunchtime so I put the stove on to brew up while we explored the island. The castle remains were far more complete than I had expected and it didn't take too much imagination to visualise what it had once looked like.
By the time we'd had a good look around the stove was boiling and we were both starving so we had lunch. The island's only small so after lunch it was time to set off back.
I paddled my canoe clear of the island then raised the sail. The wind was blowing quite strongly down Coiregrogain so I was sailing downwind or across the wind so the advantage was now with me over Pat's paddle power.
I sailed past Pat a couple of times then came back up wind towards him just so that we could stay closer together. It was easy sailing although I had to be wary of the sail gybeing unexpectedly (which it did a few times).
Once we reached Tarbet Isle the wind turned flukey again and I had a frustrating sail and paddle back to the slipway but the journey had taken a lot less time than our outwards leg had.
Thanks to Pat for coming with me, canoeing is fun anyway but it's more fun with some company and also thanks to him for taking the pictures of me (I usually end up with pics of other folks).

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