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Thread: Loch Sween and the Faery Isles.

  1. #1
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    Default Loch Sween and the Faery Isles.

    Last weekend Graham and I sailed on Loch Sween, it's a place I've been meaning to explore for ages having read other peoples accounts of visits to the area. We launched at Tayvallich early on Saturday morning after having wild camped on the way on Friday night.

    We sailed out of the lovely natural harbour at Tayvallich in a good strong headwind (around a F4) and corresponding swell which my canoe seemed to be riding through rather than over as a result of being loaded with camping gear. It was great sailing and quite unexpected as the forecast was only for light winds. Sure enough once we cleared the harbour the wind started to decrease more in line with what had been forecast.
    We knew that good camping spots aren't all that numerous so when we spotted a potential site we sailed in for a quick look. It was a nice inlet with sand on the bottom but most of the ground ashore was quite boggy.

    After a quick look about we decided to carry on a bit further in the knowledge that we could always come back if we didn't find anything better. We rounded the point and headed north up the main part of Loch Sween.

    We sailed up to the entrance to the Faery Isles, this is a lagoon branching off the main loch containing a series of small islands (the Faery Isles) and reputed to be very pretty. At low tide the upper reaches of the lagoon dry out and so it's best to visit at high tide, unfortunately we timed it wrong and couldn't quite make it to the very top end. Still we had a good look about and it is indeed very picturesque.


    After exploring for a while we rejoined the main loch and headed north once again. We were treated to a low flying display by the RAF.

    We decided to sail to the head of the loch and land there for the obligatory photo opportunity.

    As we set off back down the loch we went to have a look at another potential campsite that Gailainne, Shewie and Grooveski had used previously and that Gailainne had told me about. It was a lot drier and had plenty of space for tents and hammocks so we decided to set up camp there.

    We set up camp and had a bit of lunch then set off for another sail south down the loch. Graham whistled to attract my attention and pointed to this chap perched on a rock.

    As we got further down the loch the wind picked up nicely and we had a nice fast reach across to Cala island.

    We did a lap around Cala then headed back towards camp as time was getting on. We sailed back up past the entrance to the Faery Isles.

    We were fortunate to see an osprey on this section but I wasn't able to get a decent picture of it. Eventually we made it back to camp and started cooking dinner. Graham had collected some mussels which he cooked as a starter, they were delicious.

    We sat around the fire for a while after dinner chatting but decided to turn in reasonably early as the clocks were going forwards overnight and we'd lose an hours sleep anyway.
    Sunday morning saw us up early and witness to a lovely sunrise.


    During breakfast we saw this large bird of prey (an eagle of some kind). It watched us for a while before flying off with it's mate.

    After eating breakfast we set off back towards Tayvallich again. There was no wind at first and we thought we were in for a long paddle but after a little while a breeze picked up allowing is to have a nice sail back.


    Graham enjoying a relaxing sail in the sun!

    The morning mist still hanging over Caol Scotnish.

    Approaching Tayvallich harbour again.

    We had time to enjoy a cuppa and a scone in a cafe overlooking the harbour.

    Loch Sween is as pretty as I'd hoped and we only had time to explore the upper reaches in the light winds we had. There's plenty to see on another visit and we already have a plan to go back and do a more ambitious trip exploring the western end of the loch and beyond.
    Last edited by Jurassic; 1st-April-2012 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Spelling.

  2. #2

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    Another great blog Chris, and yes I clocked Graham's tent in there.I also spot the blue barrel, does that hold all the gear for an overnighter?

  3. #3
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    I didn't take my blue barrel, I used my Lomo 60 litre drybag rucksack instead but as it's the same capacity I could have got enough kit in for an overnighter. The barrel that you can see is Graham's (which is another one from Andy B) and I think he got most his gear in it. I've recently taken the front seat out of my canoe to allow the blue barrel to fit in front of my mast (previously I had to deflate my side airbags to fit it in the centre of the canoe. I like the extra security of the barrel as I use down sleeping bags and I'm a bit paranoid about them getting damp. I always double bag my camping kit in smaller drybags which then go inside either a big drybag or the barrel. I also have a Stanley Fatmax waterproof toolbox that I use as a camp kitchen and larder containing all my pans, cutlery, stove etc and usually enough food for a couple of days (I got the idea from SOTP and it works brilliantly at keeping everything organised and dry).

  4. #4
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    Nice blog Chris, as usual. Loch Sween is one of my favourite places. It is also good down at the western end as it opens out into the Sound of Jura.

  5. #5
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    Dave, while we were sitting drinking tea/coffee and eating scones in the cafe overlooking the harbour Graham came up with the plan to sail down Loch Sween round the end and back up to Carsaig Bay. It could be done as a weekend trip in favourable conditions (maybe overnighting on Danna or one of the McCormaigs) and would require only a short car shuttle as Tayvallich and Carsaig are so close together. Do you fancy it?

  6. #6
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    Good stuff Chris, looks like you got the weather for it, much better than our last attempt 12 months ago
    Rich




  7. #7
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    I would love to do the trip one weekend. I did it in reverse on a trip a few years ago, sailing down into Loch Sween from Luing, and back, using the road between Tayvallich and Carsaig as a portage. It is an easy portage of about a mile on the level.

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  9. #9
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    Wonderful, don't now how I missed this one! Must get up there.

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