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Loch Awe Canoe Expedition 2010

Since I had time off booked for August Bank Holiday weekend, hoping to go to the Atlantic Breakers surf competition, there was no surf.  But as I had just finished my Level 3 Canoe Coach award the weekend before, I decided to stick with the canoe vibe and headed up to Loch Awe for a solo trip around the islands….

First stop Inverary for breakfast, a fine morning and mirror glass calm on Loch Fyne…

I launched from the south shore towards the southern end of Loch Awe – by the time I was on the water there was a steady Westerly breeze, so an improvised sail rig was in order….

I launched and sailed in a generally north-east direction keeping an eye out for the islands I had heard about. Unfortunately, being a lst minute decision of a trip, I had not managed to get hold of a map of the loch before setting off, so managed to miss Innis Erich and its` graveyard.

Innis Chonnell

Landfall came first at the tiny island of Eilean an t-Sagaire, followed quickly by the larger Eilean nam Meann, from where you can just make out the castle on Innis Chonnell….

By now the day had turned dull and grey, and the wind was the strongest it had been all day as I sailed around Innis Chonnell, landing on the western side and heading towards the overgrown ruins of the castle…

Looking east towards Eilean nam Meann

After a thorough exploration of the castle I headed further along the Loch, staying closer to the southern shore, before crossing to the north shore at Kames Bay.

By now the day was waning fast, and I hadn’t found anywhere better to camp than on Eilean nam Meann, so down with the sail and a steady paddle back up the north shore and another crossing back towards the island before evening set in. This was definately the driest of the islands I had visited, and already had the remains of some wind-breaker walls built by previous visitors. Barbie time!

Day 2 dawned very windy – and it was still Westerly, meaning it would be a head wind all the way back to the car. After a leisurely breakfast I ferried back across to the north shore and started off. More islands to explore on this shore, with much more evidence of human visitors. The wind strength gradually increased throughout the day, and after a lunch stop at Innis Stiuire I took to poling to get the boat moving along the shallow water by the shore – it was heavy going, but eventually I had made it far enough to brave the 20 minute ferry glide back to the south shore at the carpark. Epic.

Innis Stiuire Canoeing

Innis Stiuire