Well having picked up the new kayak on Sunday, a test was well overdue. Loch Eck was the ideal locus.
An 8 mile paddle, first paddle in a year. Never tire of Loch Eck!
An unplanned route taking full advantage of the low water level at the reservoir allowing the full circuit to be completed.
On arrival at the larger than normal shore, the recent prolonged dry spell was evident – the flow from the inlet pipe at minimum in comparison to previous visits.
The water line had dropped enough to provide sufficient foreshore to allow progress without the usual restrictions of rocks, vegetation and trees.
Raised platforms and diminishing fence lines that disappear into the water perhaps signs of the Glen prior to flooding.
Rugged terrain easily negotiated although 1ft less of water would have made progress easier.
Something completely different that can’t be undertaken normally. It’s not often it’s so dry for so long in the West 👍
Loch Tarsan; is a freshwater loch and is an impounding reservoir located 13 kilometres Northwest of Dunoon, on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. This three-armed Reservoir extends into both Glen Tarsan and Glen Lean. It supplies water to the Striven Hydro-Electric Scheme (also known as the Cowal Hydro-Electric Power Scheme). The larger of the two dams is 17.6 metres high and was completed in 1953.
Eager to get on the water, after a stormy few days, Sunday provided a favourable forecast. The choice of route was to set off from Dunoon and head to Loch Goil or to the top of Loch Long.
An 8am start allowed time to get fuel and be on the water by 08:30hrs. Parking at Port Riddel and wheeling the boat down the ramp to the slipway, some of the concrete slab that forms the running surface blown in past storms easily negotiated. The slipway, was exactly that! Due to the low tide the full length of the ice like slipway had to be conquered, resembling Bambi on ice the boat was not so gracefully launched.
Leaving Dunoon behind we passed by Kirn and Hunters Quay before passing the mouth of the Holy Loch.
Onwards to Blairmore, passing the refurbished pier we headed for Ardentinny
From here the coastline changes, swapping the C9 road that ran adjacent to the shoreline for a rocky coast laden with forests on the steep slopes. There’s some old buildings hiding in the woodlands, highlighted by the remainder of a pier on the shoreline.
The buildings, one of wooden structure the other of concrete lie open to the elements. The buildings were there to house (ironically) the workings of an anti submarine boom circa WWII .The large winches and associated workings partially remain today. Click HERE for further detail on when I walked to the station from Ardentinny.
Turning left to enter Loch Goil, we passed a seal on the rocks, it like the Police showed no interest in us. Another point of interest is Carrick Castle. It’s been under restoration as a dwelling, however there’s been little progress in the last decade.
After acting like the the paparazzi we made our way to the head of the loch, checking out the local pontoons. One at the foot of Corrow next to the boat storage with Beinn Bheula in the background, the next within the Lochgoilhead Village, handy for a stop off at the Goil Inn or Post Office should you wish to send a postcard.
Heading out on the eastern coast, the scenery was fantastic, flanked by the sheer forest slopes perched on rocks. We had planned to return to Dunoon from here, but lunch time was upon us, so a trip up Loch Long to the Bothy was in order.
Once we’d had lunch we headed back to Dunoon, roughly taking 45mins at a leisurely pace.
With the kayak sold,a replacement sourced, a family outing was on the cards. There was no better choice of location than the calm water of Loch Eck for the first family voyage.
Being fortunate enough to receive a voucher for a Sea Plane tour leaving from Loch Lomond let me see Cowal (and beyond) from a totally different perspective.
The weather was dry, with a cloud base down to 400 mts in some areas. The flight route we took was Loch Lomond over to Loch Long, passing over the Waverly for some aerial photographs. Followed by a tour of the Holy Loch then heading through Glenlean to the Kyles of Bute, passing over Tarbert, Crinan and out toward Jura and Islay.The return route was via Lochgilphead,Portavadie , The Kyles of Bute, Colintaive, Toward Point then north taking in the Firth of Clyde before returning to Loch Lomond.
A fantastic way to see Cowal and it’s surroundings, West is definitely the best.
Below are only a few pictures taken on the day…………….
Did this trip a while back and forgot to Blog it !!
Decided to take the bike for this one,but it can also be walked in one day or alternatively split into two days/sections.
21 mile loop of Loch Eck. A great trail giving a scenic tour of Loch Eck. Ground covered is mostly on wide forestry roads, there is a section of hardcore hill path above Inverchapel.
Starting from Benmore Gardens in a clockwise direction. Heading up the West side to Glenbranter then returning down the East side via Invernoden and Inverchapel.Can also start/finish at Glenbranter. The West side offers mostly Loch level walking, with a slight climb at the North end. Of course, what goes up must come down. The East side gives the chances if some fantastic elevated view points, so some bigger climbs on this side…..but worth it.
West side,never strays to far from the edge of the Loch. Benmore to Glenbranter.
A few points of interest on the West side.
– Small burial ground/cemetery.
– Bernice farmhouse, used as outdoor centre.
– Stuck Farmhouse ruin.
East side, climbs away from the main road high above the Loch. Glenbranter,Invernoaden, Inverchapel and to back to Benmore.
Of course, a huge incentive to complete this loop is a well earned treat at the Benmore Cafe .
For a fully interactive map with more photos and stats , CLICK HERE
Below is a basic route card.
Curiosity got the better of me. Seeing these buildings a while back and more recently from the Waverley…..a bit of exploring was well overdue.
Two buildings at the location, one housing two large winches, the other empty, both exposed to the elements.
I stand corrected, the winches were to deploy an anti-submarine boom across the Loch during WWII. Thanks to Scott Adams for the info.