On Friday lunchtime I met Graham in the same layby on Loch Lomondside that we'd used to rendez-vous for our Loch Sween trip earlier this year and we spent a few minutes discussing options. The forecast was for heavy rain and winds gusting up to 40mph so I suggested the relative shelter and close proximity of Loch Long as a destination.
Half an hour later we were loading our canoes at Glen Mallan on the shore of Loch Long.
Just below our camping field there was a nice sheltered beach for us to move the canoes round too once the weather settled down a bit.
Once we'd pitched our tents we gathered some firewood (to supplement what we'd brought with us) and cut some poles to rig up my tarp as a cooking and fire shelter.
Graham decided to try fishing for a bit as the guys in the bothy reckoned the mackerel were running.
Three casts later and.....................
So that was dinner for the following night sorted then! In the meantime we got the firebox set up and had a leisurely meal of burgers followed by some amazing lamb kebabs that we cooked on green sticks on the fire.
I awoke to the same sounds in the morning and decided to roll over and have a lie in. Around 10 a.m. I heard Graham moving about outside so I got up as well. After breakfast we went for a stroll along the forest road to a bay a little further north.
Graham got quite cold standing in the loch fishing so we got the fire lit to warm up and to start cooking dinner on. We had the distinct feeling we were being watched all the while.
Dinner was to be pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce with fresh mussels and mackerel.
The rain was relentless again and after eating and having a few drinks it was back to lying in bed and listening to the weather battering the tent!
Sunday morning was dry and almost windless and the midgies were horrendous. We packed up quickly and drank a brew on the beach in an effort to escape the little blighters. There was no point in making anything to eat in the circumstances so we just got on the water to try and escape them.
We sailed north in light winds, Graham trailing a fishing line in an attempt to catch some more mackerel.
We worked our way slowly up past Glen Mallan. Sometimes there was a nice breeze and at others it lulled to almost nothing but at least there were no midgies out on the water! My original plan had been for us to move from the bothy to another really nice campsite I know of on Saturday but as the tents were soaked and because of the nasty conditions on Saturday morning we'd decided to stay put. Still I was keen to show Graham the spot I'd had in mind and was hoping we'd be able to have a late breakfast there with some respite from the midgies since it's less sheltered than the bothy. As we approached I saw a tent and as I got closer still a familiar figure on the shore, it was Stephen! It turned out he was camping there with Josh and Stu (who I'd met on Loch Long over a year ago http://jurassic-chris.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/new-acquaintances-new-perspectives.html ). We landed and Graham cooked our brunch while we caught up with the guys hardly believing the coincidence of bumping into them totally at random!
Once we'd eaten and had a good chat we set off back to the cars, the wind had almost completely subsided by now so we had to paddle sail back.
We arrived back at our launching spot happy to have made the most of a weekend that was far from promising in weather terms. It would have been easy to call off and stay at home in those conditions but we got out there and did something and enjoyed it instead. Hopefully we'll be back to our usual good weather fortunes on future trips though!