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Thread: Have you seen the weather forecast?. Another planned in advance trip.

  1. #1
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    Default Have you seen the weather forecast?. Another planned in advance trip.

    It’s only been a few weeks since our last trip but Russ and I had managed to book this weekend in too. It was only to be a one night trip this time but still that’s enough to be worth while. I asked Ginger Paddler if he wanted to join us, his response? “Have you seen the weather forecast?”. Of course I had. It was light wind, getting colder and light rain for much of the trip. I think he was concerned about the rain and cold. I’m not sure he is tripping right

    So Saturday midday saw us ready for the off at Balmaha.



    Paddling out from Balmaha the loch was flat calm.



    After our last trip where we got to have a night of near luxury on Inchcailloch we had a plan for this weekend to do the same but only if the campsite was empty again. If not we would camp on Clairinish but first we would head to Torrinch to gather some wood. So on we slogged through the rough seas and foul weather



    We landed at Torrinch in a tiny bay. Calling it a bay is really giving it more grandeur than it deserves.



    It did not take long to find some weathered oak. It was a bit wet on the outside but dry and hard on the inside. Just needed to cut it into short enough lengths to fit in the canoe. At camp we would strip away the wet outer and split the dry inner wood for the fire.



    Loaded up with wood we paddled off toward Inchcailloch. You can see the beach of the campsite in the middle of the picture below.



    Still a joy to be out on the water.



    Our luck was in. The campsite was empty. Well there was a couple of sea kayakers who had stopped for lunch but were not staying overnight. We chatted with them for a while as we got camp set up. They were quite taken with the tarps and Russ’s hammock set up.

    Part of the justification for the trip was to have the first test of a new Tentipi firebox. I reviewed the original one about 10 years ago. Recently I noticed it was being made in stainless steel now. I asked them if I could try the steel one to see how it compared as the original is still going strong and I was curious about how the durability of the steel one would compare. I’ll be using this all winter before I write a review so you’ll see it in bloggs but it will never be this shiny again.



    We cut the wood to short lengths. Stripped the damp outer away and split the wood into kindling and larger pieces. Once we had the rest of the gear set up we got the fire going.



    Darkness fell pretty quickly. We stack the wood round the firebox to dry it. We rotate it every so often to dry it all round. Once it is dry we stack it to the side under the tarp and out of the way.



    The evening was still calm and windless. It got cold for a while but seemed to warm up a little again. There was cloud cover all night though so we did not get to see the stars that were out on our last trip.



    After dinner we settled down to relaxing in front of the firebox. Marlowe likes his cuddles and Russ is happy to oblige.



    I’m trying to get better at sketching. So I have a rule I need to sketch something, anything, every day. That includes camping trips.



    We were certainly testing the heat capacity of the firebox.



    After an evening stroll to the highest point on the island we returned to camp to soak in the atmosphere. It felt super late but was probably only about 9pm.



    We only made it to about 10pm before deciding it was time to retire. I settled into my swag with my two dog heating system. It was either much warmer than I was expecting or my heating system was more efficient than I expected.

    Speaking of reviews I am planning on doing a review of using a swag on trips. I have a new swag coming that is slightly wider. Might mean a bit extra room for dogs



    The forecast had been for the rain to settle in for the day from 2am with the wind building to about 12 mph. When we got up it was still dry with no rain overnight and no wind.



    We had a number of breakfasts before breaking camp. the number depends on how you define when one breakfast stops and the next starts.

    It may be the breakfasts that emboldened me or it could be that I just don’t like being told what I can’t do but . . . . .



    Might be best not to say much more about that. Soon enough we were ready for the off. We had a light shower just as we were about to leave.





    We paddled round to Clairinish to check out our usual campsite. A fortnight ago we had not been able to camp there as it as occupied by a few tents. The state of the place was nothing short of depressing. I blame the camping ban for driving people onto the islands. Our campsite that has had only small amounts of rubbish etc over the years was trashed. Used toilet paper was everywhere. Batteries, tent pegs, spoons etc littered the ground. Huge fire scars at the bottom of live trees with extensive damage from someone “playing” with an axe. All in all it was infuriating. I’m not sure we can use this site again. It will not be easy to find a good spot now that won’t end up equally ruined.

    We managed a smile as we left but it was not really how we felt.



    The good news was the rain had stopped. It really hadn’t lasted long anyway.



    And as for the wind, it never made any sort of appearance. I’d be pretty gutted if we had cancelled due to a weather forecast. It was a joy to be out on the water. So peaceful I could nearly forget the trashing of a beloved spot.



    The end of Clairinish facing Balmaha is traditionally used a lot by fishermen. It is often a bit of tip because of this. We decided to brave landing there to see how it was fairing. As it turned out it was in way better condition that the place we usually used.



    We really were due to get back to the car but it was just such good paddling conditions we made a few detours just to draw it out a bit. Eventually we couldn’t delay it any more and headed back into Balmaha.



    Back at Balmaha we were quickly loaded up and on our way home. On the road home the weather broke at last and the rain arrived in style. Even in the rain it would have been a great night out but the weather gods had favoured us and the result was a great break. Only one night in time but so much longer in its effect.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 3rd-December-2018 at 09:21 PM.
    John

  2. #2
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    No wind and a big loch definitely = go go go! Even if there's rain.

    You have some contenders for the "most surreal image" category of any photo competitions that might come along....

    Getting jealous of these regular camps, haven't overnighted for a month!

  3. #3
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    Love Loch Lomond. Only ever visited in sailing boats but short tacking between the islands was a joy. Great story and some brilliant "man's best friend" shots too.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

  4. #4
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    As Napoleon posted on his twitter feed, give me a lucky general any day!

    Looks great!
    Cheers,

    Alan


  5. #5
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    Very enjoyable. Too long since I've been on a loch! Shame about the state of your usual spot.

  6. #6
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    Great stuff. Wonderful overnight heating system you've got there.
    Real pity about the state of one of your camping spots, rather depressing.

  7. #7
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    Looks like another great trip. Amazing how a one night trip can feel like so much longer.

    That photo of Russel reminds me of two films. Pulp Fiction and Deliverance. Slightly disturbing tbh.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  8. #8
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    Nice looking trip and love the camp set-up.......Mrs Patterdale is rather taken by your trips too though I suspect that has more to do with the dogs than you and Russ!
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  9. #9
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    Another splendid trip.

    I actually went out and bought a tentipi firebox on the strength of your last blogg/review... in the quest to find the perfect gear: I have been using a folding firebox from the bushcraft store https://www.thebushcraftstore.co.uk/...le-12574-p.asp which is a nice piece of kit but not really big enough for more than one pot cooking and does need wood to be processed down quite small which isn't very practical particularly if it is dampish. I have also been using the petromax griddle/fire bowl https://www.thebushcraftstore.co.uk/...wl-26415-p.asp which again is a great bit of kit with the drawbacks of size/weight and difficult to get a grill over.

    I have yet to use the tentipi offering in anger but first impressions are that I like the weight, the size and the design.... it does seem "flimsy" compared to other fireboxes etc. but yours seems to have lasted so I am not concerned. I was slightly surprised at the finishing in that all the edges are rough/sharp and I assumed it would be more nicely finished - it is clearly something they are aware of as the instructions tell you to use gloves when putting it together! Still it seems like a practical piece of kit.

    I assume the little half grill (in your picture above) is an addition... I only ask as one didn't come with mine!

  10. #10
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    Yes the half grill thing is cut from steel square mesh fencing. I have a four square wide piece and a 3 square wide piece. I am not a fan of the centre bar that holds the sides locked and is meant to be used for resting pots on, I think.

    I agree about the sharp edges being a bit disappointing but a few minutes with a file soon cleared them away. The firebox does seem so flimsy but the original I have felt even more flimsy and is still going strong. Every time I put it away I think it will have rusted to nothing or fallen apart the next tie I take it out. But no, next time it folds out with a little encouragement and works great.

    Not to say too much I am saving for the review but as well as the mesh grills I recommend cutting down a length of arrow shaft or other steel or aluminium tube to the same length as the packed firebox. This can be stored inside the folded box and used as a blow poker to really get the fire going when needed. It can also be used to poke or move wood about on the fire and to lift off the mesh grills when you don’t have pots on the fire.
    John

  11. #11
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    Sounds like a top tip: I use the baddest bee pocket bellows which are excellent for getting air in... but perhaps not quite so good for general prodding of fires etc. I've also heard of old style (extendable) car aerials being used to good effect but I think they are less robust than the pocket bellows.

  12. #12
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    Nice blog John. Love the pic of the swag heating system particularly! I'm guessing your dogs have better smelling breath than mine though!

    Shame about your camping spot. I am seeing these problems all over the place sadly. ScotGov missed a trick when they brought in the Land Reform Act. They could/should have brought in companion lessons for every schoolkid that taught them about the new access rights and the corresponding responsibilities. If they had done that from the start everyone from the age of about 32 down would have a much better respect for what they have access to!

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