Scottish Hostellers Canoe Club

Loch Creran and Eriska 19&20 June 2009
Paddlers. Gerry Clifford in Quest, Neil Hammond in Island Expedition, Dave Mason in his Tiderace excite and Derek in Northshore Atlantic Plans were afoot and all arrangements appeared to have been made but little did we suspect that slight last minute changes would be the order of the day all because of a foot, Tom our Commodore due to his relentless research into scurvy relief had gone down with Gout causing him to withdraw. Although bemoaning the loss of our leader the remaining stalwarts were undeterred, not wishing to cancel what might prove to be the best attended trip for some time and as you can see from the list of attendees we were nearly oversubscribed. I spent the afternoon packing the camping gear and by 5pm all that had to be done was to be picked up by Neil after he finished work and head for the boathouse, arriving sometime after 6pm boats loaded and we were off to find a camp spot near Loch Creran. The drive was quiet, punctuated only by the salivations of Neil as he contemplated having a few hours of playtime in The Falls of Lora.¶¶ We might get in tonight or,or,or we might get in tomorrow if we finish early enough¶¶. He blurted excitedly. Me, I had designs on doing a spot of fishing if time allowed and was after one or two Pollack that frequent the waters and was so to speak µloaded for bear¶. A phone call from Dave roused us from our differing dreams and we arranged to meet both himself and Derek at 9.30am at our camp spot that we could source a good put in. A quiet evening was spent sitting under my old Basha which was roped onto the car and extended over the tent to keep what little rain there was off as we heartily dined on burgers and macaroni with pineapple tarts to finish, a few cups of tea and coffee with a small libation by way of nightcap and it was off to bed, not that we needed the rest but we did need to escape from the midges that were now in the mood for their dinner. I awoke to the noise of Neil dismantling his camp bed, clunk, clank, rattle, rattle, a look at my watch informed me that it was only 7.45 am but what could I do, Lora was calling. As I broke camp and Neil prepared breakfast I could not help humming an old song, Tell Laura I Love Her, as I pictured Neil standing by his boat dreamily gazing out at a spring ebb tide. Tent and most other items now packed we sat under the Basha frying sausages until Dave arrived at 9.25 sporting a new excite on his roof bars. A phone call to ascertain the whereabouts of Derek, a blether and we were soon off to the put in which was about two miles west of the head of the loch at 978430. Just north of Rubha Teithil. After much faffing about parking and loading boats, we had our first pull on the paddles at 11.05am and pointed our bows in the direction of Rubha Garbh then on to Rubha Riabhach and the little bay beyond where we stopped for a beer, not bad time, 1hr paddling and 3.25mls. Setting off into the start of the flood and crossing north past Sgeir Caillich and into An Doirlinn where we lunched for approx 1hr just short of the bridge, allowing the flood to build enough to let us pass. Paddles in again we rounded Rubha Mor and Rubha Nam Faoileann in short time, taking us into the

main channel to Loch Creran again. With the flood now building and giving some assist my GPS registered 6.21mph for a short spell. It was relaxed paddling all the way back to the put in point, stopping only to admire the salmon in the farm and the boats moored off the pier, no beer stops on return as there was a date with Lora but I was promised a pint at the pub across the road. We were off the water at 15 46pm having paddled a total of 11.4mls in 4hrs 41mins with an overall average speed of 2.43mph and a Max speed of 6.21mph. Leaving the pub and making our way across to view the falls, Neil gasped at the sight before him, where there should have been some playful water there was only the benign movement of flat fast moving water, no white wave train, no standing waves, we had not thought about tide times but just took a chance that all would be well, it was like a dagger to his heart. The journey home was quiet although some plans were suggested for an early return to Lora for some practice. The boathouse was on us all too quickly and the trip was over, all that remained was for Neil to drop me off at home and say our goodbyes till the next time. Overall a pleasant trip, reasonably settled weather with little wind of note, certainly a good trip for the less experienced kayaker where good mileage can be put in on sheltered water. Some research into camping spots would pay dividends as we did not see too many on our travels, the one we chose near the main road and close to a roundabout not only attracted midges but several lost tourists seeking directions. One driver must have thought it a good site, he went around the roundabout twice to get a good look at us G Clifford

Neil dejected at Connel Bridge