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Thread: Surely Sorley should go sometime.

  1. #1
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    Default Surely Sorley should go sometime.

    “He loves the outdoors. He is always in the woods lighting fires, making dens and using his Kelly Kettle. That’s why we have been badgering John for years to take him on a trip.”

    Me, “This is literally the first time you’ve told me this”

    Less than 2 weeks later.
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    Some context. The above conversation took place a couple of weeks ago at a barbecue we were having for friends, neighbours and family (some people fitted in more than one category). A neighbour was talking about her son, Sorley, when she made the comment above. As you see from my reply this was entirely news to me. Never one to miss an opportunity and having an overnight trip planned for the Friday just passed I asked if Sorley wanted to join me and the dogs. He did.

    The weather forecast for the trip got steadily better as the week progressed. We were leaving on Friday after work / school. By the time it got to Friday it was full sunshine for the whole day then overcast but dry on the Saturday. 5pm found us at my usual launching spot at Balmaha taking the obligatory launching selfie.
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    It was flat calm in Balmaha bay but out in the more open water there was a decent breeze coming from the south east. Nothing too demanding paddling wise but more than enough to keep midgies away.
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    It did make it just fantastic to be out on the water. The sunshine and heat with enough wind to keep you pleasantly cool.
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    Once we got into the shelter of Clairinish the water was calmer and the paddling easier.
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    Wanting to keep things simple for Sorley’s first trip we were heading for Torrinch. Clairinish would have been perhaps an easier and more open campsite but it is both a less interesting island to explore and also becoming busier. As it turned out as we passed Clairinish it looked empty. This was a surprise as Balmaha had been very busy and there was a lot of boats out on the water. Friday was the start of the school holidays up here. For the next month and a half the islands will be at the peak of busyness.
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    Just before we landed on Torrinch I filled the Katadyn Be Free 3l water filter I am testing. I also have the 1l version. I’ll be writing up the review of these later in the week. This was partly my excuse for making this trip to get some pictures of these. https://www.katadyn.com/us/us/37914-...yn-befree-3.0l
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    As the forecast for the week had improved so my plans for our camping spot had changed. I had originally thought we would use the same spot I used on my last solo trip, (http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...n-and-his-dogs), but since it was going to be so nice I was thinking the gravel beach at the end of the island would be better to get the sunlight. As it turned out this spot was just a little too exposed to the wind. I reverted back to the original plan. This location was slightly less sunny but had enough wind to keep the midgies away without being too windy. It also feels a bit more secluded which would help make this feel more wild for Sorley.

    Sorley had opted to try a hammock. We set that up first with no tarp. I was certain it was not going to rain and hoped this would let him see the stars through the trees at night.
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    Like the last trip here there was loads of firewood. Nearly enough within arms reach of where we set up the firebox to do us for the trip. It’s a bit smokier at first than the weathered oak I tend to favour but so much easier to gather and cut.
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    Once it gets going the smoke gets less and once it is fully going it goes completely.
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    I got my Swag set up (http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...-Swags-suit-me) while Sorley got on with the important task of cooking dinner on the firebox.
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    There was some concern the burgers may be poisonous as they were still a bit frozen when we started cooking them. I bravely let Sorley eat the first one
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    Dinner over it was time to suit up again to paddle out on a mission. We let the fire burn down and checked camp was organised first.
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    The wind had dropped a bit. We were in the wind shadow of the island anyway which made the paddling easy going.
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    Still good and sunny though.
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    We were heading to my secret spot to seek out dragons!!!!! Okay giant lizards!!!!! Lizards?? Okay, okay, newts.
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    I still maintain when you are 11 it is almost as good as a dragon

    Wildlife safari over we headed back to camp.
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    Back at camp there was just enough embers left in the fire to get it going again without a match or lighter. Just some kindling and the blow poker soon had a roaring fire going. On the safari we had cut a section of birch to carve a couple of spoons. Sorley was soon engrossed in front of the fire working on his.
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    When the light started to fade I ruled that carving had to stop just for safety reasons. We could continue in the morning. Before the sun fully set we did a half lap of the island to stretch our legs, let the dogs stretch theirs and to just enjoy the views and sunset.
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    It’s not a real outdoor trip without a decent supper of hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Here we had a difference of opinion. I like my marshmallows hot through and softened but not burnt on the outside. Sorley favoured the crunchy burnt outside with raw innards. I hold hope that he will grow out of this madness.
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    Bedtime was about 11.30pm. My plans for Sorley to see the stars were thwarted by him immediately falling asleep and only opening his eyes at getting up time. Teenagers are notoriously late risers. Not so 11 year olds. Turns out they get up just past 6am. Below is a picture of Sorley getting water while Sam and Marlowe look at me with their, “WTF are we doing up at this time”, looks.
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    When you are up, you’re up. May as well make the most of the day. We had only explored the edges of the island so far. Now we headed inland to have more of a look about.

    I refer to them as Blaeberries and my wife calls them Wimberries or you can just call them European Blueberries. Whatever you call them, they are out and we ate them as we zig zagged over the island.
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    We also found a duck nest but didn’t eat any of that
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    Back at camp it was time for a quick breakfast.
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    The dogs sensed weakness in Sorley. Either that or clumsiness that could mean dropped food.
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    Then back to spoon carving.
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    I finished mine and got a picture but Sorley had packed his away by then. I was very impressed with his. He had trimmed a bit much off the sides of the spoon bowl and incorporated that into the design which gave a very modern looking result.
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    It is entirely possible Sorley’s wish to go wild camping may have actually been more of a desire to spend more time with my dogs. Marlowe spent quite a bit of time getting cuddled.
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    Sam tried not to look jealous.
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    But when an opportunity appeared she took it.
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    As we started to pack stuff away I got a text from Chainsaw asking if I was still on the loch. I confirmed I was and he said to get the kettle on. Mere moments later there he was.
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    You don’t often see Chainsaw out of his natural Loch Ard habitat but everyone needs a change now and again. Coffee was had with caramel logs, after which we were joined by Barelyafloat. He was trying out a canoe he had just bought. Sadly I forgot to get a picture of his arrival.

    This of course led to an hour or more of chat while Sorley entertained himself getting the dogs to retrieve a stick with a GoPro tied to it. I’ve still to see those pictures. They should be interesting. Eventually I had to finish packing as I was due to return Sorley early afternoon.

    We launched just as the clouds were beginning to darken. Looked like the rain was not far off.
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    Although the sun was away the wind was also much less too. Not quite flat calm but really easy paddling conditions.
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    It was a bit of a shame we couldn’t take more time to explore some of the other islands as it really was great paddling conditions. We could have visited a lot of islands when you don’t have to worry about paddling back into a strong wind.
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    But we had a schedule and needed to get back to Balmaha. As it turned out once we did land the rain started as soon as we got the canoe on the roof of the car. Ideal timing after all.

    Sorting through the pictures for this blogg the one below makes me think Sorley may just want to come on another trip. It is just a hunch.
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    Last edited by MagiKelly; 30th-June-2019 at 04:15 PM.
    John

  2. #2
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    Appropriate adventure for a young man of that name (having been intrigued and looked up its derivation).

  3. #3
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    Marvelous adventure. Probably brought you back a few years getting to see things through an 11 year olds eyes again. I'm sure the dogs enjoyed Sorley being there too.
    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

  4. #4
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    Excellent. I'm sure Sorley will remember that forever, hopefully it will inspire him to his own adventures.

    I didn't know the meaning of the name, that's a great name.

    Oh and; coloured and just crispy on the outside, soggy in the middle. Or if you're a Pirate kid, Burnt on the outside, middle applied to face, or companions fleece jacket. If you're a Pirate adult, thoroughly crisped on the outside, soft middle pulled out of the end to leave a "cup", fill with Baileys, down the hatch.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  5. #5
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    Great blog and great that you were willing to take the time to introduce another generation to become inspired by the outdoors. I take my hat off to you, Sir.

  6. #6
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    Like many, I suspect, I have just googled Sorley.....fascinating stuff.

    Lovely looking trip.....top sunset photo.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  7. #7
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    Bye the way, that first photo is a cracker.
    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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    Well done MagiKelly.
    That is a delightful, heart-warming blog. I enjoyed reading it, as did my wife.

    Regards,
    Nick

    Neris Valkure 1 - folding kayak.
    Gumotex Twist N 1 - inflatable kayak
    Gumotex Halibut - inflatable kayak (but not for angling)

    http://nickayaker.blogspot.com
    Last edited by Nick TQP; 1st-July-2019 at 12:34 PM.

  9. #9
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    Rather than create another thread, I'll just bandwagon on this one!

    Saturday looked the best day of the weekend but even it looked sketchy later in the afternoon. I usually try to avoid Loch Lomond between April and September and this trip kinda reminded me why! Planning was pretty sparse, maybe meet up with Magikelly... maybe meet up with bareyafloat... paddle a couple of islands, drink some coffee and have some lunch, the usual.

    Balamaha put in was quiet as usual and was pretty grey compared to the blazing sunshine that was Stirlingshire, God telling me I should have went to Loch Ard




    Paddled down the SE side of Inchcailloch, spooking a heron as I passed. Heron's seem to spook really easy for some reason.





    Paddled up towards Torrinch which is a really nice 'wild' island, plenty old forest, not a lot of tourists except a couple... The South West tip looks like this, lovely woodland!



    Rounded the horn and headed down the NW shore and decided to see if MK was around and more importantly, had I missed breakfast. Answer was yes to both

    Pulled up for a chat and as we were chatting barelyafloat appeared. MK and Sorley were heading back so Barely and I headed NW into the valley of the damned (ie where all the powerboaters and jetskiers hang out...) passed south of Inchfad and then south of Inchcruin to avoid a big protected bird. Plenty of powerboat action going on on the big beach on Inchmoan so we landed on Inchconnachan for some lunch and a lot of chat....



    On the way back the rain started... started in earnest! Then came some rumbles of thunder then some lightning.... It was a toss up between landing a sheltering under some trees or continuing to paddle in the middle of a flat loch.... Not sure on the risk assessment on that one, as the yachts were still all out sailing about we gambled that it would be fine and won! Got back soggy but happy. Needless to say as we landed, the rain went off!



    Not a bad wee day, good meeting up with folks for a chat and a nice long paddle to get things working again after too long off the water. Must do better!

    Cheers,

    Alan


  10. #10
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    Sam was like a dog with two tails when you arrived.

    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

  11. #11
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    She has some extra legs too. I think this is the camera doing a HDR picture where it quickly takes a couple of pictures at different exposures to mix and give a more even light. No one told Sam so she did not stay still enough
    John

  12. #12
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    A great time had by all, that's what its about.
    Simms ..

  13. #13
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    Thanks for this - I loved some of the photos! I had not realised that there were such strongly held views on the correct way to toast marshmallows! I shall have to consult my daughters but the first thing they will highlight is the problem of obtaining vegetarian versions!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  14. #14
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    Nice blogg John. Looks like Sorley and the dogs had fun.

    This photo made me laugh and had me wondering if there is such a thing as a maximum dog to person weight ratio.

    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  15. #15
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    I did think about sticking the dogs in the hammock to sleep with him but was a bit worried he might get crush injuries
    John

  16. #16
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    That's an amazing trip, lucky lad!

  17. #17
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    A wonderful blog John! A fantastic adventure and I definitely saw only dragons. I love to see kids getting out and enjoying just living outdoors. I think Sorley will be going on many more adventures.

    Marshmallows are best just as Mal says.

    Thats the best sunset picture ever!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Lynne
    All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost

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