Having canoed a few times on Loch Sionascaig, one of my favourite places in the world, and hearing only good things from fellow paddlers about one of its neighbours Loch Veyatie, we decided to head over there to canoe camp and see what the fuss was about.
There are two different entry points to the Loch, both of which can be, well let’s say bothersome with a full canoe of gear that’s busy trying to giddily launch itself off its trolley, perhaps a bit like our 3 year old who was eager to get on his way in the canoe.
The first option is to get in to the river just past Elphin into Loch Cam, portaging past a waterfall and down in to Loch Veyatie. The second option is to get in at the fish farm, avoiding the river, portage and waterfall. The farm is accessed through a gate and is a short walk down to the Loch. We parked the car further along the main road and made our way down to the Loch. When we went, the gate was unlocked though we have heard that sometimes it can be locked, so we were lucky this time!
We had a quick bite to eat before getting on to the water. The wind had picked up by this point, so we huddled in to the edge and made our way along to where would be home for the night. It was a bit rocky, and we even got some water over the front of the canoe, giving it the rollercoaster ride feel!
Looking at the map, we had decided to stop at a beach which had both a little spit on it as well as some trees which we thought would be good options: shelter if it was needed and open air on the spit if the weather was calm.
Unfortunately the beach was a bit more sloped that we had thought so we had to pitch the tent a bit further back, in between a clear patch of ferns. The beach already had some established fire pits on it but we used our small stove that cost us about £14 from eBay I think it was, and you can burn smaller bits of wood that other people never want for some reason. It’s also a bit more manageable when toasting marshmallows with our son who really enjoyed them! Can you tell?
After dinner, the wind died down and we were welcomed by thousands of little midges. I’m not joking. There were thousands, possibly even gazillions of the little biters! So we ran screaming, dancing and wildly flailing our arms about in to the tent. We kept on looking out thinking it was raining but it was only the sound of the midges on the tent. It was surreal, such a massive swarm of midges and when we woke up the next day, and saw once again how still it was it was a unanimous vote to get out of there!
I packed everything away while my husband took our son out to show him the basics of paddling. Our son specifically asked to go canoe camping, and was specifically asking to be shown how to use his paddle – I think he’s a fan!
Once everything was in the canoe we headed out to the middle of the loch and enjoyed the more flat water paddle back to the fish farm. There was a fisherman on the shore who was going through the kit in his car, so taking a leaf out of his book, my husband ran to get the car so we could pack up by the Loch shore rather than pulling the canoe etc back up to the road.
We had set off with the aim of going for 3 nights, so we had loads of stuff with us to entertain our son, keep us fed, keep us warm etc. The weather forecast had been good but there was also wind forecast so we weren’t really bothered by the thought of midges. What we didn’t count on was the wind actually dying down and there being masses of midges, and now well fed midges!
We didn’t mind that plans change, they kind of have a way of happening sometimes and what’s the point of staying out if no one was having fun? We had nothing to prove and just wanted some family time, so we headed to the coast, hoping for some wind and no midges! What do you know? As soon as we got there it started to rain, there was no wind and plenty of midges…. We changed our plans again and headed for home and an early night….those little blood suckers really know how to take it out of you…