Raptor UK canoe sailing

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16 - 21 May 2010

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arrived. Previous visitors had left a lot of trash behind. My Molly carts weren't suitable for the pebble beach so once I had offloaded my Raptor the others helped me carry it above the high water mark. The headland was a more spacious camping area than Meikleross Bay, so we ended up pitching our tents some distance apart. Andy and John again built a bonfire after their evening meal.

Fourth day's track.

Video clip: Large/small

Thursday, 20 May
Daily journey distance (approx.): 26 km (16 miles)
A still, misty morning. The mist started to lift slowly as we were striking camp. Andy reported

Tent separation.

Loch Goil campsite.

Loch Goil beach.

Loch Goil mist.

finding several tiny ticks on his body when getting dressed, too small to be removed with his tick comb. Not very pleasant and one of the dangers of camping where cattle have recently been grazing. I never did find any on myself, so maybe they'd crawled up his legs while he was sitting at the campfire the previous evening. We were finally getting quicker at packing up and were ready to set off by 10:20 a.m., more than 1 hours earlier than the previous day. John opted to omit the trip to Lochgoilhead so we left him to finish his loading while Andy and I set off north. John planned to start heading towards Arrochar and said he would wait for us along the way. Low water at

Lochgoilhead was at 11:15 am and we wanted to time our arrival at Arrochar to coincide with high water, which would be at 6:11 pm. Conditions remained very calm and we arrived at Lochgoilhead after an hour's paddling, passing some seals along the way. One of them remained lying on a rock watching us as we passed by, which was surprising, as normally they will slip into the water as you approach.

Loch Goil departure.

Loch Goil seals.

Lochgoilhead is obviously a popular outdoor activities centre as there was a large group of youngsters and their instructors on dinghies, having fun but making little progress in the windless conditions. Andy and I beached our boats on the eastern shore and ate our lunches before taking a walk up to a nearby store. We set off again at 12:15 p.m. and luckily the wind had picked up enough for us to set our sails. I

Lochgoilhead walk.

Leaving Lochgoilhead.

wanted to check out our planned camping spot near Stuckbeg and, as I passed by, saw that it would not have been feasible. Although there was a small beach and a grassy area for tents, these were too close to the house (of the same name) for comfort, so we had been better off camping on the western shore. My maximum speed for the day (6.2 knots) was achieved as I approached Stuckbeg. Soon after passing it the wind died and I had to paddle to the next headland, Rubha na Beithe, where the wind picked up again. Luckily this time it remained until we had left Loch Goil, since the incoming tidal flow was strong as we passed through the narrows between Ardnahein and Carraig na Maraig at 2:40 p.m. (HW-3.5). It died again however as we rounded Dog Rock (Carraig nan Rn) and entered Loch Long 20 minutes later. We therefore had to paddle for the next 50 minutes but a wonderful southerly breeze came to our rescue as we passed the MoD's Glen Mallan Jetty and gave us an easy run all the way up to Arrochar. We kept to the western shore of Loch Long until we had passed the oil storage depot and Glen Mallan Jetty, both on the eastern shore and both subject to restricted access. Andy pointed out a beach, which is apparently popular with the Song of the Paddle crowd, where the western shore of Loch Long kinks between the oil depot and Glen Mallan. This was noteworthy because there are few suitable places along upper Loch Long to beach a canoe and camp.

I caught up with John about half way towards Arrochar, just after 4 p.m. He said that he'd taken a long, relaxing lunch break before continuing on his way. I wanted to make the best of the breeze so kept going and arrived at Arrochar 50 minutes later, about 1 hours earlier than planned. I had booked the family room at a guesthouse in Arrochar, Fascadail House. There was a convenient

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