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Loch Etive - Easter 2011

Seven of us met up on a glorious morning in Glen Etive at the head of Loch Etive. After an hour of packing and repacking boats to make sure we had everything we needed we headed off on our 4 day cruise around the loch. The first thing we noticed was how unseasonably warm it was. This was Scotland in April and we all had shorts and t-shirts on.

Scottish weather being as it is, soon we were paddling hard into a strengthening headwind and the cruise looked like becoming slog. A snap decision to stop for late lunch saw us taking shelter out the wind and soaking up the suns warmth. A short paddled followed and a fabulous camping spot found for our first night on the lake. Great views of snow capped mountains and with the wind dropping the loch becoming a giant mirror. Tents up, fire lit and evening meals cooked.

The weather changed over night with some heavy rain and a strengthening of the wind. Day two on the water was a colder affair and a little more damp with the odd short light shower. That said, the Loch was still stunning and the cloud and rain showers only helped to create wonderful atmosphere. After a long paddle we were blessed with a total change in weather when we found a spot for our second nights camp. The sun came out and wind dropped. Our second campsite was near the sea end of the loch and although the mountains were smaller than the first night, our views were none the less impressive.

Day three on the water was a mixed day. Wind and rain, sun and warmth. We had it all. Today we came across a number of seals that followed us for some way, playing in the shallows and hiding when they saw the camera! We also took a little walk up to a ruined crofters house to take in the amazing view up the loch right up to the high mountains of Glen Coe and Ranoch Moor. Our final nights campsite was probably the best of all. Views up and down the Loch. Mirror flat with the wind having died to nothing and hills clear of cloud. We managed to have a big warming fire and really relax into camp life. Great food and Great company. A couple of our more adventurous paddlers took a night time paddle using the fire as their navigation tool.

Day four saw a gentle paddle the last few KMs to the cars, empty the boats and off on the long drive home for some and onto the next Scottish adventures for others. Fantastic weekend had by all.

Thanks to all those who paddled for making a fun Easter break - Gerry, Jo, David, Claire, Karin & Chris.

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