Sunday 16 October 2016

Paddle on Loch Affric

A couple of weeks ago, we had canoed west along Loch Affric to the start of a three Munro walk, Mam Sodhail, Carn Eige and Beionn Fhionnlaidh .

Whilst it was a lovely paddle (especially paddling back in the gloaming!), it was a means to an end, transport to the start (and from the finish). 

Setting off from west of the River Affric Bridge - views west

From the start of that walk, we had spied a new building on the beach at the western end of the loch - we couldn't see any details and we were a bit iffy about the loss of wildness, of the presence of man's hand in a previously unspoiled spot.

We had decided to go back and investigate at the earliest opportunity...

Reflections of autumn - River Affric

So today was the day.

The forecast was for light winds from the north west - perfect for Loch Affric.

River Affric widens into Loch Affric

We trundled the canoe down the track from the end of the public road in Glen Affric to a spot on the River Affric where is was easy to launch.

And we paddled west through the reflections of early autumn.

Loch Affric reflections - views west

Here are a few pictures...

Bridge at Affric Lodge - views west

An Tudair above Loch Affric

South shore of Loch Affric

Last time, we had paddled hard along the north shore. This time, we idled along the south shore, ambling in and out of the bays, below boulders and trees and around rocks and tiny islands.

South shore of Loch Affric - An Tudair and Sgurr na Lapaich

An Tudair, Coire Leachavie, with Mam Sodhail in the mists

But as we neared the western end of the loch - the beach and new building in sight - the wind suddenly changed! Strong and blustery from the east - waves pushing us on, increasing in height as the loch narrowed...

Loch Affric - views west

New building on the beach at the western end of Loch Affric

We pulled into the shore at the south end of the beach and wandered along the sand for a look at the new building - It was a substantial construction, definitely a permanent addition to the landscape! A fishing hut or a stalkers bothy... Mmmmmm....??

Lunch by the River Affric, West Affric

The wind was still strong, the waves riding up the beach.

We went up the river, out of the wind, for a spot of lunch - hoping that the blustery weather would pass over as quickly as it arrived.

Rafie by the River Affric

No such luck. The wind was still strong as we tried to paddle out of the river. There was no chance of us paddling back along the northern shore - in fact we couldn't even paddle against the waves pushing us back up the river. We had to head to the southern bank of the river and pull the canoe round and along the beach to it's southern end. Here it was a bit more sheltered and we could make some headway.

Second lunch on the south shore of Loch Affric

We kept into the southern shore, until the loch widened and the waves subsided - and the wind dropped off as well.

It was a relief to pull in by some handy boulders, and have a second lunch! There's nothing like a cup of thermos tea to ward off the wind and weather.

Returning along Loch Affric

Time was getting on... we continued east, back to our start point. Back to work tomorrow - ugh!

River Affric Bridge

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