Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Assynt Boot camp

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    Posts
    701

    Default Assynt Boot camp

    We signed up for NW Journey, a trip guided by Matt to introduce us to the magical scenery of Assynt.
    I had seen blogs and photos of Assynt on this forum and the combination of a visit to the Scottish Canoe Symposium and a back-to-back trip in Assynt tempted us to come over to Scotland for a holiday.

    DAY 1
    After an excellent symposium we met up with Matt on Monday morning, met the other foolhardy participants and drove off to the start.
    While the drivers set up the shuttle and a car at the finish, the non-drivers moved the luggage the small distance from the parking spot to the river.



    A short paddle on Cam Loch brought us to our first night's camp, a flat grassy beach with magnificent views.











    Time for dinner..





    DAY 2

    The next morning, with still amazing weather for October, we set off for Loch Veyatie. There was a short portage into the Loch.















    After the portage, we take a short rest before proceeding.



    In the afternoon, the wind picked up a little but nothing serious.





    After a long day, we were disappointed to find a group of canoes and tents set up where Matt had intended us to camp. We paddled on but within about 400 meters we found another spot, just as good to set up camp.

    The next morning would be a long portage into Loch Sionasgaig. Matt had previously done the portage starting where the other group was camped. Our site was more favourably situated for taking an alternative route via 3 small ponds into Loch Sionasgaig.



    Again this evening plenty of time for cooking, but some participants have chosen the astronaut food method of cooking and eating.






    DAY 3

    In Matt’s description, today is the long portage.
    It was misty in the morning but still fantastic weather.



    The ponds broke up the portage into small stages so it did not feel too long.














    After finishing the portage, a very short paddle took us to a pleasant spot on an island for the third night. We stopped early giving us plenty of time for washing, cooking and photography.












    DAY 4

    Are we on a paddling trip?
    Up till now we have paddled a short distance and done some portaging. Nothing too strenuous or crazy so far.

    Today’s plan was to paddle via some small lochs and the River Polly down to the sea. Sounded quite simple? Matt allowed us a lie in and we started at 10 am (other days 9 am start), first with a tour of Loch Sionasgaig down to its southern most point. We then paddled north to the exit where a very narrow and steep stream pours into Loch Uidh Tarraigean.

    The weather has changed a little today - no more blue skies but it is not cold.





    North west corner of Loch Sionasgaig, looking into Alt ain Loin Dubh Uidh Tarraugean.




    We would have normally portaged such a steep stream but under Matt’s guidance the boats were lined and bumped over the rocks. We portaged the luggage down to the loch.









    A very short paddle after lunch bought us to a small easy drop into the next pond.



    Again a few paddle strokes and we are out of the boat again looking at the next obstacle. Matt disappears with his boat downstream saying "you will need a plan - I have done this before and know what is coming".

    We get out and walk downstream to see Matt's boat wedged between some rocks in a narrow little canyon. Later it is freed. We decide to portage as there is an easy walk over the island.

    After finishing our portage, we watch the antics of the others for another hour pulling, proding, freeing boats as they finally manage to get them all down the steep channel.





    The river flattens out but there is not much water so there is a wade thru the river until the next obstacle, a steep waterfall.





    We portage around which again takes less time than those who decide to scrape their boats over the rocks. We try to keep boat damage to a minimum.
    All this lining,bumping, dragging today has taken far longer than Matt had planned and on entry to Loch na Dailhe suggests we search for somewhere to put up the tent.
    We carry some stuff a little way BACK again, to pitch our tent on a nice dry promontary with view of setting sun.





    DAY 5

    Day 5 is really a continuation of yesterday, pulling and dragging boats down the River Polly which does not have enough water in it to really float a canoe.






    Matt's boat tips sideways on but fortunately he manages to right it before it fills with water after having removed the packs.



    Having seen how our expert was having trouble we choose for the "drag your canoe over the heather" method.







    Around 3 pm we reach the sea, the place we should have reached yesterday. Matt is hoping that we can launch and paddle 5 km over the sea this afternoon but the surf on arrival is too big to paddle through.
    He decides that we will set up camp.



    After setting up camp, the surf calmed down but now there was no longer enough daylight so we will have to wait till tomorrow.





    DAY 6

    The surf is smaller this morning but paddling on the sea is not my favourite activity. We manage to get out to sea with only a small wave crashing over the bow and dumping a small amount of water in the boat. The sea has a small swell and not much wind so that after not much more than an hours paddling we paddle into Garvie bay and land one boat at a time thru the surf on a small piece of sand on an otherwise cobble beach.







    Finally there is a small stream that we could actually enjoy working our way upwards via the river to Loch Osgaig but Matt choses for a portage. We are a day behind schedule and we have to make up time. Today is going to be yet another long day of portaging.







    After making our way half way up the portage between Loch Osgaig and Loch Bad a Ghail walking through bogs and uneven ground, Geoff and I decide to take an even longer but easier route along the road and completed the portage this way.





    If this was our own trip, we would have stopped and made camp as we have plenty of time. However other partipants need to finish on time to get back to work next week and so we continued as dusk fell with two more short portages via Loch Bad na Achlaise into Loch Lurgainn.
    We arrived in the dark at our camp this evening.

    DAY 7

    In daylight we discover that we are camped at a really nice place.



    EXCEPT FOR THE MIDGES...






    We set off early for our final paddle strokes,



    and finish the trip before lunchtime at the head of Loch Lurgainn.



    It may have been a hard trip but the scenery made it worth it.

    Please next time NO MIDGES.

    Thanks Matt for introducing us to Assynt.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    19,885

    Default

    Such a wonderful place, and yours is a journey I would like to repeat, after our circular trip at Easter. Yes, Assynt demands as much lugging, portaging and probably swearing, as it does paddling, but its just such an amazing place to travel across. Thanks for sharing.

    Shame about the
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Newcastle, County Down
    Posts
    361

    Default

    Beautiful photos, but that looks no picnic. I have walked and cycled in those parts and suspect that at my stage of life I need a higher ratio of water to land to enjoy my canoeing. Thanks for telling the story and showing the fantastic landscape.
    "Thus we lead a life of pleasure
    Thus we while the hours away"

    from Thoreau, Voyager's Song

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Oxfordshire
    Posts
    2,153

    Default

    Great blog of a great trip in an amazing area. It was nice to see some other bits of the area that we didn't visit at Easter.
    I'm not sure about bouncing my Swift down those rocky rivers though. I think I would have been dragging across the tufts of grass too.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    kingston on thames surrey
    Posts
    1,165

    Default

    wonderful photos of a fantastic looking paddle. you captured the trip beautifully.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Cheshire
    Posts
    1,661

    Default

    Excellent trip and good photos.

    Matt appears to be a ghost in this one though:


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Just a little to the right of the Shire
    Posts
    2,661

    Default

    A great adventure thanks for posting��
    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

  8. #8

    Default

    Good blog and lovely photos!

    It was an amazing journey through a stunning part of the country with Matt, whose knowledge of the area and of journeying by canoe was really insightful.

    Not a walk in the park but a proper adventure with a great group of likeminded people. I learned a huge amount and got a chance to put a lot of skills into practice on a real trip.

    A beautiful and rugged landscape that I'd love to explore more.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    ____________________________________________

    Outdoor Life & Wilderness Travel Blog

    wildernesstraveller.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    SE London
    Posts
    3,541

    Default

    I've 'enjoyed' the challenges of getting a canoe up/down a shallow rocky stream in Galloway and sometimes just lugging the canoe through the tussocks is more straightforward although not without its own trials and risks. Matt seems something of a specialist in this field

    Super pics and write up, you got some great weather too. Thanks for posting.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    19,885

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Davy 90 View Post
    Matt seems something of a masochist in this field
    Fixed that for ya!



    I find some serious, perverse, pleasure in these type of trips. Yes, it can be hard work, but with a good team, it can be great fun too. Especially if you can stop and sing "poo songs" along the way.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Yalding, Kent
    Posts
    2,601

    Default

    Thanks for posting the trip, really enjoyed reading and seeing the pics.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Ipswich, England
    Posts
    725

    Default

    Another fantastic write up of this trip. Its good to compare between the client and the guides angle. We certainly get an appreciation of how tough this journey was albeit in awesome scenery which hopefully made it worthwhile. Bloggs like these can only inspire others.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    71

    Default

    Looks like a great trip! Judging by the pictures Geoff is a real work horse

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    Posts
    701

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BigRich View Post
    Its good to compare between the client and the guides angle.
    I think whatever the trip, every paddler will have their own judgements and feelings of how they experience a trip.

    Last year we "through paddled" the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a canoe trail of which they are also many blogs on Internet. I have enjoyed reading the blogs of 2015 "through paddlers" all of which give a different angle. Everyone tackles and experiences the trail in their own way.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •