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Thread: Loch Etive & Awe-Paddling two very different classic canoe routes

  1. #1
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    Default Loch Etive & Awe-Paddling two very different classic canoe routes

    This trip was originally planned to start at on Loch Awe, followed by a paddle down the River Awe finishing with a few days on Loch Etive. Well as many of you will have experienced trips don't always go as planned.
    I had my doubts nay concerns that paddling the River Awe in a fully laden canoe might be a challenge to far for my skills. Like you I always turn to this site for advice, information and guidance. It was a mixture of advice from this site, my friend and his shiny new sea kayak and a weather forecast of strong winds that convinced me we should start on Loch Etive.

    My friend travelled up two days before me on the Saturday, I followed on Monday leaving the south coast of England at 3:30 am. The long drive north was punctuated by stops at Sutton Scotney 32 miles to put petrol in the car (so much for prior planning), Sandbach, Lockerbie and the Green Welly. Oh I stopped and picked up a young lady who was an american waitress who was hitching from Loch Lomond to Fort William with the aim of meeting some friends for a hiking trip. People often frown about picking up hitch-hikers (me included) but I always make exceptions when travelling through places where folk are more akin. My reason is simple. Three years ago a middle aged lady picked me up and gave this old miserable, wet and tired bloke a lift when I was making my way from Loch Ailort back to Glenfinnan. As such I like to return that good deed.

    I finally arrived and met my friend at Taynuilt (517 miles) and we travelled the short distance to Loch Etive. I unloaded far too much gear and loaded the canoes and in no time at all we were ready to get on the water (near the narrows).



    Actually I was quite pleased about how well I had managed to pack the canoe, especially knowing that it weighed in excess of 176lbs. Yep it was at this point that I knew that once again I had brought kit that I wouldn't use but might need, well you know, just in case, disaster hits, aliens invaded, I had everything covered.

    The paddle up the loch was near on perfect, no wind and a little cloud cover.





    I knew where I wanted to camp, having read numerous bloggs there was a beach I wanted to make before it got too dark. As we approached I could see a group of canoes (I am guessing they were on an organised trip). I was slightly worried we might need to find somewhere different to camp. I needn't have worried.

    This is my campsite for the first night


    Wider view of our campsite.



    My only gripe was the amount of rubbish, left behind from numerous others... everything from bottles, umbrellas, half burnt tree stumps, toilet paper...
    So much for leave no trace.

    That night we gathered some fire wood, cut some logs and sampled some of this...

    e

    The next morning, following breakfast we paddled north with the aim of reaching the head of the Loch.

    The weather gods were on our side. The water was perfect.







    We stopped for lunch here



    e


    I think this video clip shows how perfect the water was. Not the best filmed shot as I it was the first time I had tried out my helmet cam. That said you can see why I called this paddling in the clouds



    Not sure that has worked . Here is a linky thing...https://youtu.be/OBmC-sotc98

    The trip back to our camp was as peaceful, the wind picked up a little but nothing to write home about.

    The next morning we struck camp early, the weather forecast was for winds of 20+ and gusts of 30+ . No problem for my mate and his kayak, but I didn't fancy a hard slog.

    Once again the weather gods were kind to us, the paddle back to Taynuilt was nothing more than breezy. We saw a few seals on the way. Their curiosity never fails to amuse me.

    We unloaded and loaded everything back into the car.

    We headed off to Loch Awe and drove around trying to find somewhere to park and launch. We finally settled on parking at Kilchurn Castle. We were in two minds, the weather was turning, it looked very unpredictable. After a bit of faffing around we launched from under the railway bridge and headed south.

    The weather gods finally decided we had enough of the good stuff. As we left the shore the heavens opened, it poured down. We pushed on with the intent of camping on one of those islands near the River Awe. We eventually settled on this one. The rain stopped long enough for us to put the tents u






    That night a mighty storm hit, gale force winds ripped our tarp from its' poles causing a hasty exit to our tents. It was a noisy night, howling wind, torrential rain battering the tent. Not much sleep for me, not because of the weather but a large animal was snoring loudly nearby.

    The next morning we packed up intending to get a bed and breakfast somewhere rather than camping another night on the loch. We took our time packing away wet gear and used the trees and bushes to dry it out.




    We got on the water and the weather gods repaid us for the previous night.





    I think the clouds are about to eat me here



    We stopped for lunch


    And then headed north back to the Kilchurn Castle.





    We packed up again and headed into Oban to find somewhere to stay. It took a while some of the B&B were asking too much for a box room. We finally found a couple of great rooms and got a bargain at Glenburnie Hotel http://www.glenburnie.co.uk/sleep/ The food was fantastic as was the price.

    It was the right decision the weather that night was horrendous, the rain was horizontal.

    The next morning (Day five) we went back to Loch Awe and put in at Dalavich.
    The weather was very windy and it was too strong to paddle solo. We decided to take the canoe and paddle tandem for a couple of hours. This paddle was memorable for the wind and the ease at which the canoe cut through the swell and chop of the waves.






    A grumpy kayaker next to our canoe


    During the paddle and on driving away from the loch I was rewarded with two eagle sightings, I am convinced they were Golden Eagles. One was pretty close. They weren't Buzzards, Ospreys, or Kites and were massive. Well I am making a claim.

    We had a toastie, cake and a latte in the post office/tea room/off licence/pub/grocers.... and then headed home. I left Dalavich at 3pm on Friday and got home at 1:30am Saturday... stopped at the Green Welly for petrol, Carlisle and Warwick services.

    Thanks for reading.

    Now planning for Scotland 2017

  2. #2

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    Fantastic reflections.

    Sent from my GT-I8190N using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Wow, you had some amazing conditions in the end, even at the price of a few rougher moments too. Which always makes a trip more memorable. Great images.

  4. #4
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    Glad you managed to do the 2 despite the weather. A couple of those campsites looked familiar. Fantastic picture of Loch Etive as well.

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    Lovely pictures. What's the make and model of the green tent ??
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  6. #6
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    Proper glamping set up, "mixed" Scottish weather, tarps blowing .... and some great scenery.
    Enjoyed that
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”



  7. #7

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    Great footage beautiful weather love the tipi what make is it.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Another great Scottish blogg....Thanks.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

  9. #9
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    Hi thanks for your great comments. The teepee is the Helsport Varanger 8-10..... It's a lovely tent, simple to put up and great for use of stove. I did contemplate the 4-6 which would be fine if it was just me. Most of the time though the other half is camping with me... Definitely not room for 8-10 peeps though

  10. #10
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    Great conditions!

    Eagles at Awe are almost a given, so you will be right.

  11. #11
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    Thanks much appreciated

  12. #12
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    Fantastic blogg & piccies - can't believe you were so lucky with the weather. Let me know next time you're paddling as I might tag along to see what flat water looks like !!
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  13. #13
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    Brilliant stuff!

    Here comes the future and you can't run from it
    If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it


    Crow Trip Log

  14. #14
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    Enjoyed reading this one. Thanks for posting

    "Der Hirsch springt hoch,
    Der Hirsch springt weit.
    Es macht ja nichts........
    Er hat ja Zeit"

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by markpfc View Post
    Hi thanks for your great comments. The teepee is the Helsport Varanger 8-10..... It's a lovely tent, simple to put up and great for use of stove. I did contemplate the 4-6 which would be fine if it was just me. Most of the time though the other half is camping with me... Definitely not room for 8-10 peeps though
    My wife has just bought me the Helsport Finnmark, and its a wonderful tent, especially as the inner and ground sheet come as one therefore making the ten dog escape proof. I'm just wondering how the tent coped with the bad weather you mentioned, have you swapped the Helsport steel pegs for something lighter and what do you carry the tent (fly, inner and floor) in?

  16. #16
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    Hi

    The tent coped wonderfully, that said I did have some water ingress but ewas my fault in not securing the floor properly. The inner can get wet (as with any tent) when inner touches the outer. I also had a bad weather experience when doing loch ness last year. The camp site that we stayed at was hit by severe gales whilst we were out. Lots of tents were damaged, but the Helsport was standing there as if nothing had happened.

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