Sunday 25 August 2013

Weekend Canoe on Loch Assynt - Friday, 23rd to Sunday, 25th August 2013.

Stac Pollaidh

A great way to spend August Bank Holiday weekend (not that we get August Bank Holiday up here) canoeing and wild camping...


We set off after work on Friday, arriving in the beauty that is Assynt at sunset.

Sunset over Assynt

Whilst this gave us a great send off, it did mean that plodging through the bracken to the loch shore, laden down with canoe and kit, took place at maximum midgie time - not nice.

First night wild camping on the south shore of Loch Assynt

We made for the southern shore away from the road, then paddled west along Loch Assynt as gloaming gave way to full dark, looking for a suitable wild camp place. We paddled into the wind, bouncing over the waves, which probably seemed bigger than they actually were, watching for a beach or a grassy patch amongst the trees and the rocks. Eventually we found a pebbly beach and made camp by torchlight.

Wild camping on the south shore of Loch Assynt

Morning came, grey and cloudy, with little wind - excellent midge weather - so little time was wasted having breakfast and breaking camp.

South shore of Loch Assynt

We continued west as the weather gradually improved...

Eiliean Assynt

Along with the views, although Quinag remained moodily in the clouds for most of the day.

On Loch Assynt

Looking west on Loch Assynt

We carried on exploring Loch Assynt's many bays and little islands.

Quinag in the clouds

Road bridge at the western end of Loch Assynt

Lunch spot at the western end of Loch Assynt

We had lunch on another pebbly beach at the western end of the loch.

The River Inver from the wier on Loch Assynt

Before moving on to the south, where the River Inver runs over a weir and on towards the sea.

The south western end of Loch Assynt

The south western end of Loch Assynt - Rafe

Quinag from the south west of Loch Assynt

Before paddling back up the Loch, enjoying the views, the cloud base slowly rising on Quinag.

Quinag and Loch Assynt

Quinag from the south short of Loch Assynt

We were lucky enough to see an otter, swimming quickly away from us and then diving, near Rubh' an Alt-toir on the south shore.

Looking east down Loch Assynt from the south shore

Rafe by Loch Assynt

We found a wonderful wild camping spot on the south shore near Eilean Assynt, so we pulled ashore and pitched camp and enjoyed another cuppa.

A good place to pitch a tent on the south shore of
Loch Assynt with views to Quinag

Ardvreck Castle

Later we paddled on to the east, stopping to explore Ardvreck Castle...

Ardvreck Castle

Ardvreck Castle

Rafe from Ardvreck Castle

Ardvreck Castle and Jim

and Calda House nearby.

Calda House from Loch Assynt

The weather was taking a turn for the worse, low cloud and light rain moving in from the west. We paddled off, back towards our campsite hoping that it would clear...

Quinag and Loch Assynt

Looking west down Loch Assynt

The water was glassy calm...

Wild camping by Loch Assynt

Quinag from our camping spot

Once we had returned to the campsite, settled in and lit a small campfire, the weather cleared out.

Views east from our wild camp

It was a touch midgy - but there was enough wind to keep the worst of them at bay.

Wild camping on the south shore of Loch Assynt

We had a walk up to Torr an Eilean, a little hill above the campsite...

Views west on Loch Assynt from Torr an Eilean

to watch the sunset

Sunset over Loch Assynt from Torr an Eilean

Rafe on Torr an Eilean

Before returning to the campsite to enjoy the evening and the wild...

Sunset over Loch Assynt from Torr an Eilean

Rafe and Quinag by Loch Assynt

Sunday morning brought clear skes and sunshine

Quinag over Loch Assynt

Wild camp by Loch Assynt

Conival from Loch Assynt

A swim was in order...

A bit of a dip in Loch Assynt

before packing up and setting off into the east.

Looking back at our wild camping place on the south shore of Loch Assynt

Looking ease along Loch Assynt

The Loch was like a mirror - it felt like we were floating through the skies.

Conival and Inchnadamph from Loch Assynt

Quinag from Loch Assynt near Inchnadamph

Creag Mhor Fuaran nan Each from Lub a'Mault

We paddled past Inchnadamph and on up the Lub a'Mault, the river reflections perfection.

Quinag and reflections on Lub a'Mault

A young red deer stag was standing watching us on the shore. As we neared, he lay down in the long grasses. We floated on by, silently on the water, pulling in close to the shore, trying to get a good photo. Without warning, the stag leapt up, making off into the distance... we felt sorry to have disturbed his lunch.

Crouching red deer by Lub a'Mault

The river gradually narrowed and shallowed - eventually we turned downstream, back towards the Loch.

On Lub a'Mault

Back on Loch Assynt, the wind had got up, blowing against us from the west. Waves were increasing and white horses appearing. I moved back in the canoe, but I was still getting a bit of a wetting. We spent the next hour doing a Hawaii 5 0, battling against the wind and waves.

Once past Ardvreck Castle again, we found ourselves in a calmer bay and paddled on to where we had left the car.

Conival, Loch Assynt and Ardvreck Castle

We'd had a great weekend. We'll be back...

I know, we keep saying that !

Beinn Bhrotain and Monadh Mor

Setting off from Glen Feshie - it was chilly - before the sun had a chance to peep over the hills...  Off we go! Jim - Setting off near Auch...