Reflections on Loch Ba

A good forecast midweek had been deteriorating as the days drew nearer to a planned trip on Loch Ba on Rannoch Moor. However, the drive up was stunning, a starry sky brightening all the way and a full moon acting like a beacon, drawing me northwest through misty glens until it eventually set ahead of me. As I drove through Tyndrum the view in my side mirror caught my attention with the Crianlarich hills behind me poking through mist and the sun just rising above, gorgeous but I was too focused on getting up the road on time to get out and enjoy the view.

I had been planning to meet Chris who has paddled in the area with me here earlier in the year on Loch Laidon to explore Loch Ba and fulfill long standing intentions, but to my (nice) surprise it was not him I saw first by the car as I arrived, but another friend Sean, who I have not seen or caught up with for 20+ years.

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It was a bit more overcast than expected but still bright and we had a lovely light on the water, and in such an open setting with views of mountains all around us, it really was not disappointing at all.

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Soon the three of us headed of, at first through channels between islands, then across a bigger expanse of water. At times there was barely a breath of wind and the surface of the water had nice reflections of the trees, rocks and mountains in the distance reflected on it. Our destination was the top of the river draining Loch Ba in to Loch Laidon, the Abhainn Ba.

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Lunch here and a little play on the first section of the river for me, but I decided not to run the whole thing (next time!) as it would have meant Chris and Sean would have been waiting around longer, and of course, what goes down must come back up, which would entail hard work dragging the boat back to Loch Ba over 2.5km of heather and that didn’t seem appealing either.

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On the return leg, with arguably better views ahead of us, we stopped at Eilean Molach to explore this idyllic, tree and moss covered island which offers plenty of options for camping and easy landing on little sandy beaches. The only downside is the surprising volume of the traffic noise from the A82.

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Arriving back at the bridge, Sean got out and Chris and I decided to head up the river, pulling and scraping our way up small rapids, to try and explore the body of water lying closest to the Black Mount, Lochan na Stainge. It was not to be though, rounding a bend an ominous rumble suggested harder work ahead and sure enough a fall of about 1m height barred any further motivation in pursuit of this. Perhaps another day!

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This piece of water is still appealing to me and a loop involving a portage to somewhere else I paddled previously, Lochan na h-Achlaise, could be done with some portaging of boats. Maybe one to do when snow on the ground would make dragging easier, I do fancy a camp beneath the mountains there even though I know with the A82 so close, it will not be a quiet spot.

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