Today we set out to kayak the isups but weren’t quite sure where we were headed. With over 30,000 lochs in Scotland, we aren’t exactly short of a place or two. Add to that beaches, canals and rivers, well, we really are spoiled with choice.
We quickly decided to aim for Loch Drunkie. This is one of the lochs on the 3 Lochs Drive near Aberfoyle. It seemed the perfect location, small, quiet (hopefully) and scenic. The drive from Aberfoyle cannot be rushed. The road, whilst in fine condition, is winding, with hairpin corners and steep ascents through the Achray Forest. The views are plentiful, every tight corner reveals another stunning sight.
Before long, the road to the 3 Lochs appeared to the right. We took it, anticipating our afternoon on the water. Those hopes were soon dashed. The gate was closed. It turns out the road is closed for winter. We shall return after 1st March when the road reopens.
With little choice, we rejoin the A821 and soon discover Loch Achray. This small, sheltered freshwater loch is popular with fishermen, photographers and walkers. The fishermen enjoy catching brown trout, sea trout, pike, perch and salmon. The photographers love the stillness of the loch with stunning reflections and the walkers enjoy Ben A’an and Ben Venue. It really is a spot for all.
We inflate the isups, with our new pump and tightened valves. Thankfully there is no unforeseen hitches, except the heavy wintery shower which hits just as we are about to hit the water. We know the day is filled with showers so we retreat to the car, enjoy a little food, before it quickly passes, and we can take to the water.
The water is still and peaceful, an easy paddle. We hug the shoreline, heading round clockwise. As we progressed the beauty soon presented itself. The view of the snowy hills surrounding the loch was breath taking. There was little choice but to stop and enjoy it. We really are blessed to live in such an amazing country.
Like much of the country, there is flooding in this area too. This allowed the exploration of some spots which would generally be on land, the flooding creating some short-term islands. Soon though, it was time to head back to shore and pack up the gear. Again, the short days in Scotland playing their part. The boards deflate very quickly and are easily rolled up and stowed in the boot. Getting changed was a chilly experience, but the only time I had been cold all day. Thankfully, there was a handy flask so hot chocolate could be enjoyed before heading home.
To head home, we drove towards Brig o’ Turk where there were some stunning signs by a cottage to remind you to look out for red squirrels. This area is still a stronghold for them! Eventually we reached Callander before heading towards the motorway for home. This route forms part of the “Kick up the Trossachs” route by Martin Dorey in his book Take the Slow Road. He writes beautifully about it and I would suggest buying this book if you enjoy a wee adventure. It shall certainly be used plenty in this year of adventure. Now, we are only on 12th January and already I am 4 adventures in for the year! I cannot wait to see how it will pan out!
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