Raptor UK canoe sailing

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August 2010

Page 8

sailed between Creinch and Inchmurrin on a beam reach, so I reefed and deployed the foil. Rounding the southern end of Inchmurrin, the wind hit again with surprising force, after the tranquillity of the lee side sailing. I quickly discarded my original plan, which had been to sail up the western shore of Inchmurrin, and instead beat northwest towards the western shore of the loch. The conditions felt more challenging than they appear in the video. This reminds me of a comment by Tim Anderson in the account of his attempted crossing from Florida to Cuba in an outrigger sailing canoe in 2003: "To flatten out waves, just point a camera at them". I seemed to provide something of a tourist attraction that day as on two occasions a steamer passed close by while the passengers watched my struggles with interest. Fortunately I managed to stay upright and hence avoid public humiliation.

After reaching the western shore I settled on a long and easy port tack that took me back between

Inchcruin and Inchfad. Conditions gradually moderated and as I approached the islands I was joined by a fleet of boats from the Loch Lomond Sailing Club that were in the middle of a race. I tried to stay out of everyone's way and while they turned east towards their clubhouse, I turned north towards Cashel, where I arrived at 4:30 p.m. My total passage time for the day was 4 hours and the distance travelled was 34.1 km (18.4 nm). I did see some other sailing canoes on the water as I approached Cashel. Roland took photos in the afternoon as some OCSG members practiced capsize drills.


Video clip: Large/small

That night I joined the others around Ann & KeithM's van. One of the 'hot' topics of conversation within the group at the meet was the heavy-handed application of the campsite rules by the staff. I think this might be explained by some anti-social elements that seem to be attracted to the southeast corner of Loch Lomond (hence the police presence at Sallochy mentioned above). They have caused a "no wild camping" rule to be proposed for this area of the loch by the authorities (see these articles posted on The Great Outdoors website and on Rob Edward's website) and have no doubt been a nuisance at the campsite in the past also, leading to the staff being less inclined to give anyone any leeway on any of the rules. For example, no wood bonfires are allowed but charcoal-fuelled fires are permitted. This is probably to prevent yobs from arriving with their chainsaws and cutting down trees (which happens).

My experience has been that OCSG members are very environmentally-sensitive, considerate individuals, who strive to leave no evidence of their stay after departing from a campsite. Therefore some members felt aggrieved that we were not allowed to gather driftwood from the beach and build a small fire on the rocky shore. Cashel seems to have positioned itself as a family-oriented site, so I imagine they wish to discourage large gatherings, particularly at night, which might disturb other guests. While Wayne and Julie said the staff at Milarrochy Bay was very friendly by comparison, at least one visitor has complained of noise during the night at that site (click the 'Reviews' tab). It's difficult to provide a peaceful environment for everyone and still allow group gatherings late into the night, especially once alcohol is involved (which it invariably is with OCSG gatherings). Wild-camping provides one solution but this isn't easy on Loch Lomond and anyway wouldn't appeal to everyone, especially for more than one or two nights.

The light winds at the end of Sunday continued through to the next morning. KeithM took advantage of the conditions and went for a swim to Inchlonaig and back as part of his training for

the Great North Swim, which was scheduled to be held at Windermere the following weekend but unfortunately had to be postponed, due to the prevalence of blue-green algae in the water. RobinC provided safety boat cover in his kayak. Later it was decided by the group to sail en masse to the south of the loch. I had arranged to meet up with Roland at midday so waited behind whilst the rest of the group headed off. PaulL had to be back at work on Tuesday so missed out on Monday's group sail. I helped him and his friend TimW carry his boat as far as the footbridge over the

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