The best laid plans of mice and men…

One of the few things that I’ve learnt is that nothing in life ever really goes to plan.  Another is that the best adventures tend to happen out of the blue and are rarely planned.
I have spent the last month or so planning on attending Brimingham Canoe Clubs meet on Loch Awe in Scotland. The plan was to drive the >360 miles there on Friday night and spend 3 days traversing the length of the loch with 2 nights spent out wild camping along the loch shore. Loch Awe is the longest freshwater loch in the UK at approx 36km in length.  My family was going along: 2 adults and 2 kids with all of their assorted paraphernalia, tents, sleeping kit, food, packed into a single open canoe. I guess I wanted to introduce my 2 daughters (Aged 9 & 11) to new experiences and plant a seed for the future.  I’m sure it would have been a trip that my kids would have remembered for the rest of their lives, hopefully only for good reasons.  A small fortune had been spent on kitting them out, a second tent, new sleeping bags, additional cooker, blah, blahh, blahhh. The key to this of course is the weather. Get it right and they are hooked. Get it wrong and they will never want to come again…  tents, rain, young kids with nothing else to do simply don’t mix.
It’s been the dryest April on record (>300 years) in the UK.  True to form the forcast for May Bank holiday over Scotland was for Rain and 60mph winds…  I knew by the middle of last week my plan would have to be abandoned, factual proof of sod’s law…
Time to salvage something for the weekend. I was banging my head off the wall and just needed to get out.  Thankfully some guys from NWSK were planning a trip to Puffin Island off the coast of Anglesey and I was able to join them for a day. An excellent consolation it was too!  I drove across to Anglesey on Friday evening and bivvied down for the night, spending an hour beforehand just staring at the stars and Venus which was setting in the west. The following day, Saturday, the weather was perfect before the arrival of the front coming down from Scotland.  An elderly couple emerged from their (very) early morning stroll along the beach at Llandonna to find me frying up bacon and eggs in the carpark. Smiles and a friendly hello were exchanged. I ate, sorted my gear and as dawn turned to day the other paddlers started to arrive.
Five of us from the NWSK forum met and paddled up on the flood tide from Llandonna beach and returned from Puffin Island on the ebb later in the afternoon. We got to see the local wildlife icluding an inquisitive seal, razzorbills and the local chavs out on their jetskis.
A fab time was had by all…

About Andy Harpur

Interests : The Scottish Highlands, The Pennine Alps, The Milky Way, Abbot Ale, Mountaineering, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Canoeing, Sea Kayaking, Astronomy, Guitar, Penny Whistle. I live and breath for the outdoor lifestyle. New places, new faces, new adventures....
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