3 Day Canoe Trip to Knoydart

IMG_0938This was trip that had been in the back of my mind for a number of years, adding a bit of adventure and variety to a multi day walking trip.

Find a loch or river somewhere, canoe up/down it with all our gear, camp out where we had canoed to and then, using the camp as a base, do single day walks.

Neither of us had canoed much before, I’d done a few days here and there in the Army, I don’t think Dougie had done any.

Anyway, I had found a Canadian canoe for sale in Felixstowe and had picked it up while on a customer site up in the Ipswich area.

We spent a good few hours planning things over the phone, Dougie had bought the life vests and made himself a paddle (the canoe had only come with one), we worked out the food, fuel and kit, what walks we’d do and scheduled some tentative dates.

Saturday 21st May 2005 was the day we were meeting up in Scotland, and we had a week of walking in front of us, three days of which were to be the canoe trip.

I drove up after work on the Friday evening, getting to Crianlarich Youth Hostel very late, we met up on the Saturday and, after stopping from breakfast and a wander around Fort William picking up last minute provisions, we drove on up to the North side of Loch Quoich.

We parked in a small layby, where there were a bunch of fishermen tenting, unloaded the canoe and carried it down to the edge of the loch. As we were loading our kit up, one of the fishermen was telling us how the week before they had watch a couple of guys doing the same as us and when they got 50 feet out they had capsized and had to dive to to the bottom to retrieve it – nothing like a bit of pressure for two amateur canoeists !!

It was a beautifully still evening and we left around 4pm and it took us around 2 hours to paddle the 8Km to the end of the loch where we dragged the canoe ashore and set up camp.
As the canoe was pretty large, we had taken a good amount of kit – the kind of luxuries a normal walking trip would not have allowed us – things like camp chairs, two tents, a small table and the like.
All this made for a very comfortable camp.

We then met another group of 5 who had come in a couple days previously on Sea Canoes and had done this for the past few years, each time bringing in bags coal – so we joined them for a couple of beers and sat around their blazing open coal fire well into the evening.

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The next day, we had a late start (around 11:30) and headed West to the munros of Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe, this was a long day, wet in the afternoon and it was 10pm before we returned to the camp. Read the day 1 trip report here…

The second day we did the three munros (Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr nan Coireachan)to the South of the camp, again in a wet, cloudy day. Read the day 2 trip report here…

On the final day we canoed a little way back up the loch, dragged the canoe ashore and then did Sgurr Mor. When we finished it we jumped back in the canoe and paddled back to the car at the head of the loch – the loch was like a mirror, completely calm, no wind and excellent weather for paddling. Read the day 3 trip report here…

Without question, one of the best trips we’ve had.

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