Thursday, 28 November 2013

Loch Awe and the Lower Orchy.

 A few weeks ago when Sean and I joined Graeme to paddle on Loch Ba ( ) I watched Graeme tackle a few sections of moving water in his canoe and it sparked my curiosity to have a try myself. Fast forward a week and Graeme and I met up at the car park for Kilchurn castle on Loch Awe. We quickly transferred my canoe to Graeme's car then (leaving my car at the castle) drove up to Dalmally. We offloaded the boats, got geared up and ready to get on the water.
The lower Orchy from Dalmally down has no serious rapids on it (in contrast to higher up the river) but has a few riffles that would provide me with a taste of moving water and the current would give us a nice helping hand down the river.
Despite the relatively easy state of the river it was more than enough to let me know that I have much to learn about paddling on moving water. The canoe seemed to assume a life of it's own at times and it felt similar to trying to control it while paddling in windy conditions. Still it was great fun and we fairly speeded downriver through beautiful surroundings.

 Lower down the river widened and the flow reduced, a sure sign we were approaching Loch Awe. The views of the mountains which were dusted with snow were absolutely fantastic.

I stopped off briefly at the car park as we passed and collected my sailing rig just in case the wind picked up (although it wasn't forecast) then we paddled on to Loch Awe.

 Once on the loch we could turn round and admire Kilchurn castle in all it's wintry glory.
Then it was on towards the distant islands that we planned to visit.
First stop was at Fraoch Eilean for a bite to eat and a look at the castle remains.

 Next it was a short paddle across to the Black Isles and Inishail.

We'd been looking forward to landing on Inishail to see the ancient chapel remains and graveyard which has some really old gravestones and is the final resting place of some of the Dukes of Argyll. 

 The day was wearing on so we pushed on towards the south eastern shore to paddle back that way and look at a couple of crannogs that were marked on the map. The late afternoon light and gathering mist made for an atmospheric return journey.

Eventually Kilchurn castle came back into view, good news as we were both feeling tired and the daylight was fading fast.

We paddled up the river the short distance to the car park where we used my car to recover Graeme's from Dalmally before loading up and heading for home.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience to us readers and it's really great to see the wonderful things and places that you have seen. Cruising is expensive but worth the money. I enjoyed my corryvreckan cruising so muc that I would love to go back again.