Raptor UK canoe sailing

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August 2010

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be the safest and easiest spot to land for visitors to the cave. There is a large area near the boathouse that has been set aside for wild camping. Although set up with hikers in mind, it could no doubt be used by canoe-sailors also. This might be where Walter spent the second (midge-tormented) night of his trip (which was over 3 days). It's a 20-minute walk back to the famous

cavern, which is signposted from the West Highland Way. However, the secondary path leads to an area of large boulders, any one of which could conceal the cave. Had I not seen the painted sign from the water I would probably have missed it, since it's not obvious when approaching from the West Highland Way. I was able to point the way to a couple of

foreign hikers who seems mystified by the whole business. The actual cave is not particularly impressive, although it would have provided an attractive view across the loch for its occupants, including (supposedly) Robert the Bruce, who is said to have taken refuge in the cave after the Battle of Dalree in 1306. Other reports say that he actually stayed in a cave at Craigruie (sometimes spelt Craigree) by Loch Voil and yet another that he stayed in "The King's Cave" at Drumidoon, on the southwestern coast of the Isle of Arran. You choose which legend to believe.

My next planned stop was at Inveruglas Isle, about 1.2 km ( mile) west of the boathouse beach.

This small island lies just over 100 m off the western shore in a bay adjacent to Loch Sloy hydroelectric power station. The power station did not appear to be 'on line' as there was no foaming water being discharged, unlike during Walter's visit. The wind had picked up further during my visit to the cave, developing into a vicious little squall, which died almost as soon as I had crossed the loch. It might have been better to visit the island first and then the cave, as I could then have crossed the loch on an easier port tack, however, with my sail reefed and foil down I made it across safely. The short passage took only hour. It is still easy to capsize the Raptor when on a starboard tack, even with the sidecar fully loaded. Inveruglas Isle doesn't offer such easy landing as Island I Vow so I chose a natural harbour on the southern, lee side and explored the

island and castle, which is larger than its northerly neighbour. After a 15-minute stop, I reboarded my Raptor and continued my journey south, leaving the island just before 3 p.m.

The wind had slackened considerably but held until I passed Tarbet to starboard, when I had to

resort to paddle-power. I made a final, short (-hour) stop at Rubha Curraichd beach, after a 70-minute passage from Inveruglas Isle, before beginning the final leg of my journey


Video clip: Large/small

back to Cashel, where I arrived an hour later, at 5:20 p.m. My total passage time from the most northerly point I reached on River Falloch was 3 hours and my total distance travelled during the day was 32.7 km (17.7 nm). The total passage time for the round trip was 9 hours, which means it should be possible to accomplish in one day, given the right conditions. However, the overnight option makes the trip much more relaxing and enjoyable, as well as allowing time for sightseeing.

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