13th and 14th December, 2009 – SCA Paddle in Loch Etive

I had been looking forward to this trip for a while and had hoped for nice crips conditions with maybe some snow on the hills. As it happened, we got this and it was even cold enough for there to be ice on the loch itself in places and for the gas in stoves not to be able to vaporize properly.

We began at Taynuilt as a group of 18 and travelled up to our intended camp site, where two others were already waiting; one having paddled in the day before and the other having walked in with dogs. Once tents were pitched and lunch had, some of us ventured further up the loch towards the head and it was in this narrower section we encountered sheets of thin ice on the surface as well as great views above and reflected in the water.

Back to camp in time for sunset and dinner as the temperature plummeted. I managed to boil water for pasta but the stove struggled after that and my sauce was a bit cold, warmed only by the heat of the pasta itself.

Chat, singing (not me!) and drinks followed by a toasty fire and soon our numbers grew by one as someone else appeared out of the dark having paddled in on her own.

As the numbers dwindled towards the end the idea of sleeping under the stars rather than in the tent and soon a couple of us were bedding down either side of the fire with shooting stars above for entertainment. A surprisingly warm night despite there being frost on my sleeping bag in the morning but though I was warm, everything else was frozen and the stove struggled to get breakfast going.

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