Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Loch Rannoch and the Kayakey Kid!

Loch Rannoch
Well, it was that time of year again, Loch Rannoch time of year that is. I always consider our wee jaunt up to Loch Rannoch as a peaceful, lazy (if we want it to be)well chilled out week, one that we always look forward to - except this year Hubby dear suggested taking the Kayakey Kid for a few days - so much for chilled out peace!
Red deer
Our first day there, we went for a walk up the hill past Craiganour Lodge, hoping to get as far as the wee bridge, quite a step considering, the Kayakey Kid just has short legs. He kept himself going by serenading the Highland coos and playing on every tiny patch of snow he could find. Once at the bridge, we had our picnic whilst watching a herd of Red deer, however, the burn was much more fun, chucking stones in it.

Next day, we made our way along to Rannoch station to get the train up to Fort William. It must be the prettiest train journey I've been on, up over the moors and down past Loch Treig.  We had a walk along the waterside, where surprisingly the Kayakey Kid managed to rearrange the shoreline of Loch Linnhe.
Rearranging Loch Linnhe
On the Sunday, we had decided to go for a paddle.
Hubby dear and the Kayakey Kid
Solo paddling?
 We took the car down to the carpark next to the Rannoch power station where we launched the boats. I took the old Mystic whilst Hubby dear took my red boat,  with the Kayakey kid fitting in the front hatch - minus the hatch cover.  The water was beautifully calm. We headed out and past the crannog Eilean nam Faoileag to the other side, a bit of a paddle around before going back to the crannog for lunch - oh and to rearrange the island shoreline. In the afternoon, it was over to Pitlochry to meet up with No.2 son so he could collect the Kayakey Kid - peace at last!
Full moon over Loch Tummel
Don't get me wrong, it's great having our grandson around, I'm just not sure where little people get all their energy from, but the next day was a lazy recuperating day!
Chilly Dall burn

Tuesday was when we went for a walk round the Black Wood with our walking buddies. One of them was Tracey who we've met on previous holidays. She was telling us about her previous paddling trip, Canoeing down the Yukon. Her next planned trip, paddling along the Mexican coast. Was I a little jealous? not at all - I was enormously jealous!
Even the ducks found the paddling hard
Tracey had tried to hire a kayak on Loch Rannoch, but to no avail, so the next day the three of us headed back down to the carpark where Tracey took the Mystic, pogies and Hubby dear's yelly wellies (a first paddling in wellies!)  and I was back in my own boat. Hubby dear was off for a wander with his camera. Our plan was to head west along the Loch to Bridge of Gaur, paddle under the bridge and round where the barracks are, a really pretty area. Once on the loch, we soon had to change our plans. The water was even calmer if that was possible - and frozen! We made our way along the edge of the ice to the opposite side, had a bit of a paddle around, the back to the crannog and generally pottered around putting in a bit of time before heading over to Crosscraig where Hubby dear was meeting us with lunch.

Checking out the ice edge
Our UFO!
Because the day was so nice, after the pair of them had, had a stone chucking play, Tracey and I decided to paddle back home.
It was a fair paddle back, but the miles went by quite quickly as we discussed important things such as UFO's which turned out to be a big foil balloon, and our shared love of ice cream, chocolate, beer and which good whiskies would be at that evening's tasting session.
Our wee selection of rather fine whiskies


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Spring is here!

We had a wonderful 2nd trip out with FSKC, putting in at Lower Largo. We had originally planned on going to the May Island, but one of the paddlers was coming out on the water for the first time. The May trip isn't exactly a beginners trip. A trip up to Elie was arranged with the chance of a bit of rock hopping for the rest of us, hence the plastic boat was stuck on the roof. We arrived in Lower Largo in beautiful sunshine, flat calm seas, perfect starter conditions, pity no starter turned up that day!
Ray and Lara at the start of the chainwalk

5 of us set off across the bay amazed at what a wonderful day it was and we were still in February. We soon arrived at the rocky section which gave us a chance to have a bit of a play in the rocks and try to check out some of the caves. The tide was very low, so we couldn't get into all the caves. The chains on the chain walk have been replaced fairly recently and were still nice and shiny (and still there!) We even managed to find one of the caves we knew about, but had never found before. When we saw it we realised just how low the tide had to be to get in.
No way through
Found the cave at last
Low water entrance
Just past here, we had 3 porpoises swimming very close by. I think having the water so calm meant they were easier to spot. Although we're out on the Forth regularly, this is only the 2nd time we've seen them here. I have seen a large pod of dolphins in the Forth before, but not while I was paddling, just from the beach.
Lara porpoise spotting
Climbing frame?
With a bird's eye view

We then headed out to West Vows where Hubby dear insisted on getting out for a clamber. No wonder the Kayakey Kid can't sit still when his Grandad is just as bad!
It was then over to the lovely sandy beach at Earlsferry for lunch before heading back the way we came.

A simply superb day for paddling with great company again.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

My maiden paddle with FSKC

Alan going clockwise or is it anti clockwise?
After meeting up with Mike and TG on the St Kilda trip, we had intended joining the local Fife Sea Kayaking Club, but had taken until now to actually get round to doing it.
After canoe polo training on Friday evening with FCAG, we met some of the members of our new club during a pool session on the Saturday and decided to join them for a paddle on the Sunday going out from one of our usual put in points, Silver Sands. Some things never change! It seems that Alan goes out on more or less the same route most Saturdays or Sundays, or even both days (rumour is, he sometimes does the trip anti clockwise!).
Passing Inchcolm
6 of us left Aberdour and headed out round Inchcolm before having a gentle paddle up the Forth to North Queensferry to stop for a bite of lunch.
After lunch we headed into Inverkeithing bay. We've paddled this stretch of the Forth many times, but have always avoided going into the harbour here. Seeing it from the road, it's always minging looking, piles of scrap metal and generally grotty. I was more than surprised to see that, that part of the harbour is away off in the far corner and the rest of the area is lovely. It has a real wee community feel about it and I admit, it was my favourite part of the paddle (other than paddling with some new paddling acquaintances).
Inverkeithing Harbour
Admiring a new boat?
Watch out for cows!

 We carried on past St David's bay with a breeze picking up against us, then past Haystacks with a bit of a breather at Braefoot Bay. It's great having new folks to have a natter with while paddling. Most folk that know me will possibly be surprised that I think Ray from the club natters more than me, telling me about previous club trips and what other members have been getting up to. All good stuff!
It wasn't long before we were back at Aberdour to see a familiar figure walking down the beach. The aforementioned TG had been in the area and had come down to see who was out paddling.
I look forward to many more trips with this club.