With a return to more seasonal and unsettled weather, Saturday’s paddle was perfectly timed between the storms of Friday and Sunday. Snow had fallen overnight but the winds had died down and the cloud broken to reveal blue skies and bright sunshine.
We met at the canal side at the Bridge of Oich, with plenty of parking and used the pontoons on the canal to launch the boats before passing under the A86 road bridge and entering Loch Oich. With 21 of us, we split into three paddling groups, choosing the North shore, enjoying the warmth of the sun in preference to the slightly more sheltered but colder south side of the loch.
Loch Oich is the narrow loch lying between Loch Ness (to the Northeast) and Loch Lochy (to the Southwest) in the Great Glen, artificially raised; it provides the highest point on the Caledonian Canal. The views of Ben Tee above Laggan and the Creag nan Gob ridge to the south, both covered in fresh snow, provided fine backdrops.
We paddled passed the Eala Bhan, stopping to explore and photograph the wreck of what had been a lovely old 50ft herring drifter from the Western Isles, converted to ferrying passengers on the great glen but now half submerged and succumbing to the elements just outside Invergary.
The water park at Laggan Bridge and the end of the loch marked the half way point and a natural lunch stop. For most the warmth of the Café and hot soup proved too tempting to resist, although the picnic tables and sunshine were surprisingly pleasant for those staying outside.
The increasing wind speed forecast didn’t materialise, and so with the gentle breeze behind us, the 6.5km (4 Miles) return, provided a relaxed and quick return to the day’s starting point.