Not the Caledonian Canal

Sep 23, 2023

With (again) forecasted 50-60 Kt winds on the South Coast in Mid September, I rescheduled my ‘attempt’ on the Caledonian Canal in the Seal (my trusty grey Northshore Mariner 17 sea kayak) and set off to do half of it before I had to be back in Exeter for more dentistry! Fort William forecast was for sunny spells and drizzle with 5-8 kt winds. By the time I arrived, 24hrs later, it was perpetual rain and a 10-15 kt chilly wind. After a recce of the Clyde end, the 6- locks staircase and the day ! and 2 accommodation options (none), the next morning I postponed my plans until better weather and set off back to Loch Lomond which had caught my eye on the way up. 24 miles long, the UK’s biggest lake by area and a 10-20 kt SW wind with light rainy spells forecast. Paddled the middle first from Tarbet to Luss (very pretty) but on the way, over-relaxed, got hit by a katabatic which almost blew my paddle out of my hands and the following waves eased my rather too loose a fit spraydeck up behind me! Wrong spraydeck for the Seal! (pun). In true lake/loch style, conditions were – winds – SW.W.E,N,SE, F1-3, waves flat to moderate, Vis 100yds to 3 miles. Not boring then!