Hello, my name is Mal Tabb.
Thanks for visiting our web pages. Marion & I operate a small outdoor activity organisation called Canoes, Mountains & Caves. We provide activities for: adults, young people, schools, charities, families & individuals. A key aspect of our work is the provision of a "Community Programme" which is offered free of charge to participants. If you think we might be able to help please don't hesitate to contact us, you can find out more about what we do on our main website www.canoesmountainscaves.com

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Canoe Journey

An extended open canoe journey is a highlight of any year, when the weather is exceptional it becomes a very special occasion. After a six hour drive up to the Glenfinnan House Hotel (where the owners are very "canoe friendly") and the usual "faff" of moving equipment from vehicles to boats; four well laden open canoes slipped silently into the calm waters of Loch Shiel under clear blue skies: the journey had begun.

It was to be just an hour or so paddle to locate a suitable campsite on this shortened first day. Any breeze that existed was in our faces and secluded, wild, beach campsites were abundant, it didn't take long to locate one. The first of two very comfortable nights were spent under a tarp whilst others went for a variety of tarp, tent and hammock options.

The next day dawned misty and full of promise for another good day progressing down this 30km long loch. Glass calm to start, with a breeze that picked up later in the day to produce a few white topped waves, the paddling conditions were excellent. Among the highlights of the day was a visit to Gaskan Woods and "Wildernesse" cottage - the home of Mike Tomkies from where he wrote the book "A Last Wild Place". Fittingly we spotted our first Golden Eagle when beaching the boats at Gaskan Wood. It was good to spend ten minutes talking to the present inhabitants of this lonely place. A little improvised sailing was also in order for the day before another near perfect campsite was found for our second night in the wilds.

On cue Friday dawned bright and clear and before long the anticipated increased wind speeds arrived with 30mph gusts making for quite a technical paddle amidst breaking waves. A planned early exit from the Highlands necessitated a camp as close to civilisation as possible for our last night, it wasn't difficult to find one that retained all of its wild feel. There were no tarps for this one, forecast overnight rain and sleet with strong winds forced us all into tents. The evening, however, remained fine and a superb final night's camping in the company of Golden Eagles was enjoyed.

Overnight snow fell on to the higher ground and a short, quiet paddle back to buildings, cars and people followed. 

It was good!

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