of the ebb tide. We arrived to find that Keith, Graham and Shelley had gone up the loch towards Kinlochleven. This was something I had hoped to do and so was a little disappointed that we only managed a short sail in that direction later, but it is always worth leaving something in reserve for your next visit.
All in all I enjoyed the holiday and I think the others did too. We shall have to consider whether a similar trip is to be included in the calendar next year since so few were able to participate this year. There was a good turnout at Tayvallich last year, although the weather let us down then. I don't think this was a major factor in the turnout this year. Perhaps the problem is more to do with timing rather than the type of meet. Avoiding a clash with the Beale Park boat show might be a good start, for instance.
Tale Of Two Bridges (KeithM)
During the Loch Leven meet I fancied getting away for a couple of days of camping from the canoe. Once we knew that the others were not feeling neglected Jeff, Ellen and I headed off. The weather outlook was for light to moderate winds all week and I fancied going south and getting into Loch Etive, so we packed up and headed off in sunshine and very light winds. We got out under Ballachulish Bridge, had lunch near Kentallen and headed down Loch Linnhe with views of Ben Nevis (with snow patches) back to the north. The weather turned a bit during the afternoon, with cloud and a bit more breeze - up to a good F4 from the south - so we camped on Eilean Balnagowan.
Next day we carried on beating south, stopped a couple of times for refreshments (nice pub/cafe at Port Appin for brew and buns!). We used the ebbing tide to help and eventually got round to Connel. It was near low tide but the ebb was still noticeable coming out at the bridge. We carried on into Loch Etive for a few miles but needed to find somewhere to camp as it was gone 6 pm and we found an adequate spot opposite Airds Point, landing at about 7 pm.
Next day it was a bit dull and quite breezy, but due to improve. The tide was still flooding so we continued further inland past Bonawe and north up to where we could get a good view into the wilder parts of the loch. We didn't have time to go right up the loch and will save that for another time. Then we turned and headed back into the wind towards the bridge. After a bit of lunch a couple of miles east of Connel we braved the Falls of Lora, keeping very much on the south side of the gap under the bridge to avoid the rock ledge and the consequent rough water on the north side. Conditions were improving and we had a great close reach back across Ardmucknish Bay before freeing sheets and running back north.
As the weather forecast for the next morning was for light winds from the east or south east (not very helpful!), I decided that I would try and make it all the way back to Invercoe if the SW breeze held. Jeff and Ellen decided they would spend another night on Eilean Balnagowan rather than attempt such a long passage. I had a fantastic sail with the tide, running before the wind all the way back up the Sound of Shuna and up Loch Linnhe.