New Year at Loch Lomond 2004

Hope everyone had an ace Christmas and New Year.

Loch Lomond 1 For New Year me, the parents Kieran and Mike (brother and lodger) tootled off to a scottish castle for a package holiday thingy. £124 for 4 days breakfast and dinner. for pics and details, this was the third wildfling to be organised.

Of course as its Scotland all but dad took our kayaks. The first day was dark dreary with rain, but we spent 8 hours in a car with 5 ppl and 4 boats so we were going paddling dammit.

We met up with the local scottish canoe club to paddle the river Teith. The guidebook said "If the car park is flooded then the river will be stonking". As the river was 1 metre away from the sedge of the car park after swamped the footpath next to it we were in for a fun ride.

Most of it was grade 2-3 bouncy rapids with a few kayak munchers dotted around, so for the most part it was good fun...................Until..............Mike tried to eddy out through a hole and was thrown out and swept into some trees and half capsized while pinned and clinging on the a branch. Dispite the situation he was very polite in asking for help.

I tried to get to him but was proppelled towards his head so I had to dodge and then ended up in the same tree but a couple of feet past mike. Great. Fortunately I was able to reach over and pull Mike up only for him to untangle himself from the tree and then capsize......Bastard..... I myself had lost my paddles to the evil clutches ot the tree and was half capsized myself while trying to pull myself up by the tree against the current. But luckily I saw Mike's paddles drift past and decided he didn't need them any more so managed to get up, sling Mike's boat and then get to a well placed rocky bit in the middle of the river to empty boat and insert occupent. Some other kind soul had picked up and delivered my paddles.

That's the end of adventure one.

Loch Lomond 2Until the end everything was fine and dandy and then as I was just about to drag myself onto the bank Anna (scottish beginner) tried to edd out sideways and got thrown over. I was in hot pursuit but hit a submerged tree branch and was squirted over and was then pinned to the tree upsidown, rolling didn't work against the current but the worst part was that I had gloves on and when I went for my spraydeck handle I couldnt feel it. I had seen that everyone else had gone after Anna on land and river (except my Mum who was looking after the boats) so knew that I was completely stuffed in every sense of the word which didn't help my concentration. I tried to take off the gloves with my hands and teeth with no luck and tried to pull myself up with the tree (I had let go of my paddles as they were no use) I managed to unpin myself and was holding on to the tree with one hand keeping me away from the next rapids which I would not be able to hand roll in. Again I couldn't pull myself up on the tree and I still couldnt get the spraydeck off with the other hand so I reached the decision to let go of the tree which is the scariest thing I've ever done. And then I was scrabbling at that bloody spraydeck with both hands. Luckily a finger got caught in the loop and nearly broke it by yanking at it and then I was free. Ooh the gloves came off very fast after that after I finished lying on the bank like a drowned rat.

Anyway what did we do the next day??? Sea kayaking. We were again with the Scottish canoe club in their snazz sea kayaks paddling off the Clyde.

Loch Lomond 3 They took us a couple of miles out to a 30 year old ship wreck stuck on a sandbank on its side, it was about 400 feet long and half submerged in 30 feet of water. It was transporting sugar and had got caught in a gale and swept on to a sandbank 3 miles from its destination. I was quite spooky paddling around that (got a video). After exploring the wreck we paddled round the bay catching a bit of surf and then went back to the cars for chips. Not a lot I can say for that but we were out for over 4 hours.

Then we had the practise for Scottish country dancing to look forward to back at the castle. They had organised various activities fo us to do, no extra charge. That was quite fun except that as there was a significant lack of blokes (funny that) our species didnt get a chance to rest.

The New Year's dinner was superb, they had brought in professional caterers for the four days. And then it was the dancing. It was great fun as you get to throw people around and make them dizzy. I would go into detail but if you have reached this point then you must have some cramp somewhere so I will finish and fill you in later.

One more thing STAY AWAY FROM TREES!!!!!!!!

If I see anyone near them I may well scream at them, nothing personal mind.

- Simon Terry