Over the summer we had been discussing the possibility of a raiding party by boat in to Knoydart to do the north east ridge of Ben Aden.As Bob is hors de combat at present I thought I`d drag HMS Blue Sky out of dry dock ( i.e. my workshop ) and see if she was still seaworthy after her two year lay up.I`d checked the outboard the previous week and it started on the second pull.How come it doesn`t do that when it`s in the water ?
A lovely sunny day and the hard part was over once I`d stowed everything into the car.This was a bonus as I wasn`t sure it would all go in.! All previous trips had just meant tossing everything into the back of the van…now sold.I had a few other things to do so it was around 1pm by the time I arrived at Inveruglas up at the northern end of Loch Lomond.It`s usually nice and peaceful here away from the hordes of noisy jet skiers and other riff raff at the southern end.Thirty minutes later everything was ready and in the water.When I played a lot of golf my pet hate was all the old duffers sitting in the clubhouse and watching the first tee just willing some poor sod to shank his drive.A similar feeling came over me today as the carpark and cafe were filled with tourists who had nothing better to do than watch me
I done my bit for the Tourist Board by sending them all away happy as it turned out.It had been a few years since I`d been out and I was congratulating myself on getting it all together and into the water.Even the engine behaved itself in front of the throng and started first pull. A quick turn of the throttle and I took off from the jetty….heading straight for the rocks I`d forgotten to free the pin that holds the outboard in position and couldn`t turn it to steer.Ah…I hit the big red button and and killed the engine before causing too much amusement.I broke out the oars and sneaked out under the jetty and into open water before remembering where the pin was.All being well now the engine roared into life and off up the western shore I headed on my way to Island I Vow.
An absolutely gorgeous glad to be alive day it was,enough to require sun cream and a hat.Sometimes it`s hard to believe that all this beauty is under an hour away from my house I tootled up the lochside stopping to watch a couple of herons fishing before cutting across to land on Island I Vow.Bob had kayaked out to this one years ago but this was my first visit.There was a small shingle beach on the northern side to land on.
The castle ruins were almost obliterated by ivy and the trees and shrubbery made it impossible to get even a half decent photo.I had a look into the dungeon where I think Bob once spent a night with the ghosts….rather him than me ..! Although it`s quite a small island I spent about an hour there just looking up and down the loch and having a picnic.
The view southwards down Loch Lomond from the castle on Island I Vow…
The view up north wasn`t bad either ..
Sadly the usual eejit variety of campers had recently been here and left their rubbish piled in a heap in the centre of the island.When I grow up and become Prime Minister they will undergo summary execution.Mind you…while it is slightly possible that the nations highest office may yet await me, I can`t really see myself growing up come to think about it
Back into boat and up the loch again heading for landfall ( God…I love these nautical expressions ) at Doune bothy.The only time I`ve stayed there was many years ago shortly after it was restored.As we had overindulged in the Drovers Inn beforehand, had a carry out to ensure hydration levels were topped up on the walk in and then started on the wine upon arrival it would be fair to say my memory of the previous visit is somewhat hazy.Changed days…cup of cocoa is more like it now Tied the boat up at the old ruined jetty and wandered up the hill to the bothy.It sits bang on the West Highland Way and is subject to thousands of visitors a year so I was surprised to find it spick and span inside.The people who left the rubbish bags neatly stacked at the front door however have been added to my execution list also.
I returned down the heavily wooded eastern shores,along the small cliffs,until I came to a small bay with a nice wee beach that proved too inviting to pass by.This was to prove my downfall.The water seemed deep enough to just run the boat straight onto the beach and so it might have been if I hadn`t struck a rock with the propeller.A large bang ensued as the shear pin snapped.At that moment it dawned on me that the spare one was sitting proudly on the dressing table back home.I resisted the tempatation to shout ” Abandon ship..!” The only waterborne traffic I had seen all day were two jet skiers (also added to the list ) but a few minutes later Wee Betty motored up the loch.”Avast there me hearties.! ” I bawled out across the loch.Well,I didn`t really shout that but I wanted to If it had been the 19th September then I most definitely would have
Wee Betty steams to the rescue….
What a stroke of luck….it had the same outboard as mine and he shouted over that he had a spare pin
We took off the prop and fitted the new pin then chatted away for a while in the warm evening sun.I can`t thank you enough if you are out there….I forgot to ask your name.!
I sailed off into the sinking sun and back across the loch to Inveruglas which was deserted when I arrived at 7pm