Tay Day 1 – Loch Tay

One of the members of The Crankies served us breakfast, it was a bit odd, we were catching up on the election results when there was a comment (I wonder who?) about all those SNP MPs from Scotland sitting on an English Parliament. Hmm, we were in Stirling, which is north of the border and there were locals around us. A swift exit was made to the van and off we set off for Killin.

It was about an hours cross country drive with some great scenery enroute. We arrive at 10.30ish and got ourselves sorted, unloading and sorting all the kit, get the boats sorted ready for the next few days on the water. We were all looking forward to it.

Matt R and I set off for Perth, liaising with the Taxi company enroute to confirm they will be at the pre arranged parking. An hours drive, we arrived and before we had finished sorting the trailer the Taxi arrived and we were on our way back to Killin. The journey was….. ‘interesting’. The Taxi driver was not sure of the way, the Taxi was ready to fall apart and the suspension was non existent. As we drove back past the lake it looked tranquil and calm.

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We arrived back in Killin, the others had been to the shops and sorted access, as arranged, and they were already on the water. We started the trip on the River Lochay, which feeds into Loch Tay. As we paddled we agreed to stop on a regular basis and have target landmarks to aim for. Paddling on a Lake/Loch is very different to a river, and Loch Tay is 14 miles long and a mile wide. We entered the Loch and pick our first marker and set off. It was indeed a great start; clam, blue sky with some clouds, not too cold and beautiful scenery. We paddled to a few stops and had lunch.

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Just before lunch we noticed the wind had changed direction so afterwards we started to sail, not huge progress but some. After a break (by the waterfalls) we got back on and the wind had changed again, it was against us and blowing quite a bit. By this time we had gone from the south side of the Loch to the north side and it was agreed we should head to the south side for a variety of reasons.

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After quite a challenging paddle we gathered on the south side for a break before heading on. After another mile or so we had another break. We were making very little progress given the strength of the head wind. We decided to change the plan and camp where we were, not ideal but we knew we would not make the island that night without significant effort.

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We set up camp in a tight spot for the 6 of us and then started to cook tea, which we were all more than ready for. After the cooking we sat and talked for a while, checked the map and plans for Day 2, drunk some whiskey, drunk some more whiskey, talked about the days events and decided to call it a night.

Day 1 Summary
From – Killin to opposite Fearnan on Loch Tay
Duration, including stops – 6h 26min
Distance – 12.6 miles
Ave Speed – 2 mph

Day 2 report to follow soon.