So, after working far too hard almost every day for the whole of May, I was desperate for some time off just to retreat and recover my sanity. I needed “wild”, and quickly! A quick look at the map confirmed that there’s a fair bit of it to be found just 40 miles North of Glasgow, on Loch Long and Loch Goil. So finally with two precious days to myself, I loaded up the kayak with an excess of fishing gear, and headed out.
First stop was the newly refurbished bothy at the loch side, which was a pleasant spot for a bit of breakfast.
The MBA have done a fantastic job doing it up, but their ongoing struggle in maintaining these bothies was only too evident from reading the visitors book. “Fantastic bothy, just hope the local Neds don’t trash it” read one signed comment. “Then why scratch your name on the window frame then?” read the entry below! I don’t think there’s much I can add to that really!!
Depressed with human nature again, I paddled on a bit, disturbing these oystercatchers from their low-tide mussel bed as I went.
It was an easy paddle round into Loch Goil, and since the fish weren’t biting (did the porpoises scare them off, or was it still too early for Mackerel?), I pitched camp instead.
And thus my grand plans for two active days of fishing and paddling quickly changed into two days lounging in the hammock, and watching the world go by.
The fishing will have to wait another month or two then, but for sheer R&R, this wee trip was just what the doctor ordered!
Reprise, 7th July:
I don’t know what we were thinking, looking for shelter from a Southerly breeze, on a loch called “Loch Long”, which runs basically South-West to North-East, but hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Loch Goil wasn’t much better, with the wind funnelling in between the hills, and generating the kind of waves that scare you witless at the time, but somehow reduce to mere ripples when you see the photos later (ok, I’m exaggerating, but I swear they always feel three times bigger than they ever look in the photos!).
“What on earth is that?!?” I exclaimed, upon seeing some sort of gigantic tug boat approaching. (The trouble is that I wear my old glasses for kayaking, and the prescription is a few years out of date now!) Still, I was pretty surprised to see the tug boat turn towards us, and morph into what looked like a giant catamaran, before finally getting a bit closer, and turning out to be none other than The Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world, on its way up for a quick look at Carrick Castle.
“I hope the tourists brought their umbrellas with them”, I thought ten minutes later, as we were caught in a torrential downpour. That’s Scotland for you though, and as ever, it was great just to be outside enjoying it, whatever the weather.
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