which a radar reflector hung from a boat is effective, but I can't remember how this relates to the height of our masts - although given the rarity of fog on the west coast of Scotland, I wonder if it would be better to not carry a radar reflector, and just accept that crossings should be avoided in fog. (Edit: I checked when I got home - Dye specifies 15', which is more or less the height of our masts).
At present we are sitting on the beach on Danna (NR688775), waiting for the tide to change so we can make our way into the mouth of Loch Sween. It looks like we could be eating in the pub in Tayvallich tonight!
Going Coastal - The Salty Sojourn (JeffB)
A select few made it to the meet at Loch Leven. It was a pity that Paul and Renate had to pull out at the last minute and that Ann could not accompany Keith. In addition to Keith the team were Graham and Shelley with their shunting proa (and one or two other toys), Charlie, who unfortunately could not stay for long, and Ellen and I. EddieP had also planned to come, but unfortunately could not make it either. The low turn out, although disappointing, did have the advantage that very little organisation was required on my part. The campsite was very full, but very organised ("you will park opposite the plot number with your car facing the loch"!), but very friendly and well appointed. They were happy to let us reserve sites, even though it was during the English half-term, their busiest time, and also kept to their agreement to charge us a lower rate as a group.
Loch Leven is a fair sized expanse of water and is really beautiful, with fantastic views up to the mountains of Glen Coe. However, activities are somewhat constrained by the tidal gate at the entrance and another, even more severe, between Invercoe where we camped and Kinlochleven at the head of the loch.
Charlie had arrived earlier than us on Saturday partly because an accident on the motorway near Glasgow inspired us to take a very slow detour via Cumbernauld. He had been for a sail before we arrived and was out on the water again before we even got our boat down to the beach on Sunday morning. Once we were all rigged we set off to take advantage of the favourable tide at Ballachulish and a reasonable forecast to get out into Loch Linnhe. A very relaxed sail down to the bridge at Ballachulish was followed by an exhilarating ride through the narrows.
We regrouped on the beach just outside the bridge to consider what we would do for the rest of the day before the tide turned in our favour and we could get back in. Inevitably thoughts turned to cafes and cups of tea. We therefore decided to set off across the bay to Onich on spec where, sure enough, we found a well appointed cafe with excellent cakes and coffee, which we consumed to the accompaniment of the roar of traffic on the main road to Fort William.
With a couple of hours still to go before we could re-enter the loch, we set off southwards towards Kentallen Bay, the objective Charlie had not quite reached on his trip the day before. This provided more opportunities for Graham to experiment with the various sails he had for his proa, which is very much a work in progress. Some of you may recall that his mast folded up at Bala and the latest version proved that he could carry a substantial amount of sail and make reasonable progress. He says his objective now is to engineer out some of the substantial weight in the structure and tweak the design, now that he has proven the concept. Kentallen Bay was not very exciting, but the sun came out, Charlie and Shelley saw a porpoise and we all had a very pleasant sail in light and fickle winds.
Keith had been hatching a plan for a cruise down to Loch Etive and I was a little embarrassed to broach the subject with the others since it is a bit selfish of the meet leader to head off for three days to leave the rest of the team in the lurch. I need not have worried as Charlie was planning a bit of sailing within the loch on Monday and was then heading off to meet friends at Loch Lomond and Graham and Shelley had a number of other things they planned to do, like fishing and riding their motorcycles, which they had brought on a trailer.
Ellen and I returned from our cruise at lunch time on Thursday, having only got back into the loch by dint of a long paddle up Loch Linnhe followed by a frantic paddle to get back in against the first