Finally a Break in the Winds – Canoeing on Loch Tay and a Stretch of the River Tay

After two brilliant (if you like snow and ice) winters, this past one has been dominated by almost unrelenting wind and occasional storms which has caused much frustration with frequently cancelled or altered plans over the past two months.

Finally a break in this weather occurred and coincided with two days of planned canoeing on Loch Tay and the River Tay. Nine of us set off for a very pleasant few hours of paddling on a chilly and still day from Kenmore out on to Loch Tay.  We managed to practice a few skills but any notion of sailing was abandoned straight off and poling with cold aluminium poles proved to be less than pleasant for fingers and so was short and sweet.  Just three hours or so on the water but in the low temperatures and with little traveling being done, this was enough for the Loch paddle.

After a pleasant and cosy night spent as a guest in someone’s tee-pee, equipped with a wood burning stove, it was perhaps karma that my breakfast was a non-event due to the cold temperatures affecting my stove gas.

A jaunt, paddling from Kenmore down the Silvery Tay to Aberfeldy was our aim for the day and after a good hour and workout practicing ferry gliding and breaking in and out of eddies beneath the bridge in Kenmore, we started the 12km or so descent down to Aberfeldy.

I’m really starting to like the Tay a lot despite having seen comparatively little of it.  There is just such a nice big-river feel to it and a sense of remoteness despite being actually close to roads and towns along the way.

Not many rapids on this stretch but a few ripples and waves.  The one actual rapid we had to inspect and discuss before running was the one beneath Chinese Bridge.  A few, being very new to canoes, chose to portage and the rest of us got a bit splashed making a run for it down the middle. Great fun!

The lions share of the journey was still ahead and a slight concern about the amount of daylight hours reaming had us focused on the destination at first, rather than any more skills practice but we soon realised when passing walkers and checking the map along the way, just how fast we were traveling along.  A gorgeous day for a nice relaxed but interesting section of river.


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