Raptor UK canoe sailing

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16 - 21 May 2010

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it was damaged and the plastic frame was distorted. We decided to swap the two carts around since the ama cart was still in good condition, the only problem being that the straps on the ama cart were too short to attach to the main hull. However John lent me some straps and soft line and between the three of us we secured the carts in their new locations. A nearby sign entitled "Cruach Tairbeirt Walks" said "The portage way between Arrochar and Tarbet is only 2.5 km long and rises to a height of just 30m", while Google Maps shows a distance of about 3 km (1.9 miles) from water's edge on Loch Long to water's edge on Loch Lomond, and my OS map shows a high point of 45m (148') on the A83 between Arrochar and Tarbet, to the west of the railway bridge.

My Raptor portage was easier after swapping the carts around, but I didn't want to risk damaging the carts further so continued with the two cargo runs before returning for my Raptor at each stage of the portage, which began to seem never ending. The pavement (sidewalk) running along

most of the A83 was wide enough for the two monohulls but not for my Raptor. However, Andy suggested that I wheel my Raptor along with the main hull cart on the pavement and only the ama cart on the

Straddling the kerb.

Shoulder padding.

Andy leads the way.

road, creating less of an obstruction for the traffic, and this worked well. There were a few short sections where I had to run both carts along the road, either because the pavement detoured away

Tarbet tearoom.

Avoiding wheelie bins.

A83 to A82 turning.

Passing Tarbet Hotel.

from the road or because of obstructions on the pavement. I finally reached the car park in Tarbet shortly before 11 a.m., so the portage had taken us 3 hours 40 minutes. The others probably could have completed their portages about 3 hours earlier if I hadn’t slowed them up, since they both seemed to find it quite a simple process. You can see the complete portage route on Google Maps. There was no tearoom at the Tarbet car park so Andy and John returned to one that we'd passed on the A83, while I kept an eye on the boats. I'd made a thermos flask of tea before leaving the guesthouse and made myself a sandwich for lunch.

Tarbet car park.

Tarbet viking history.

Present-day vikings!

Tarbet slipway.

Tarbet 'steamers'.

When they returned, we wheeled our boats down to a slipway into Loch Lomond, rigged up our masts and set off just after 1 p.m. We decided to head straight back to Cashel rather than explore north Loch Lomond. There was a gentle breeze as we set off from Tarbet but this soon disappeared, leaving us with a 10 km (6 mile) paddle south, with only an occasional break when a breeze would spring up for a short spell. My maximum (water) speed for the day (only 4.9 knots) was achieved just north of the Ross Isles, thanks to a short-lived breeze. Roland spotted me from the western side of Loch Lomond and took a photo as I neared the end of the expedition. I could see the other two had fallen behind so decided to make directly for the beach at Sallochy, where I'd

left my car, so that I could start rigging down my boat immediately. I arrived there at 4:10 p.m. while Andy and John reached Cashel about 1 hours later. I met them at Sallochy as

Rowardennan ahead.

Passing Ross Isles.

The finish line.

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