QSA Exped Scotland 2003

posted 6 Oct 2016, 08:32 by Dave Tomlin

Expedition Report   
Dates: Friday 15th August 2003 to

Wednesday 20th August 2003
Venue: Onich to Inverness via Caledonian Canal.

Participants: James, Andy and David

12:00 - James rang Dave and told him he was coming to Scotland with us on our exped.
12:30 - Dave arrived at Andy's house to go food shopping for the weekend.
13:30 - Arrive back at Andy's to pack, on to Dave's house for him to pack.
18:00 - awaiting James' arrival.
18:30 - James finally arrives and we pack up our kit into James' car and off we go to the sailing club to pick up the rover.
19:30 - Picked right Rover (one without a hole in the bottom) thanks to help from Martin and Titch. And now off to the scout hut to scavenge for cooking utensils and stuff like the rudder and tiller.
20:30 - Finally leave for Scotland (2 ½ hours later than planned). With a little help from the other Martin and a lot of hinderence from Ben (his dog) we got the boat tied down and ready for the off.
20:30 / 06:00 - Long journey to Scotland including various stops to sleep, get food, utilise the facilities and for Andy to have a ciggie.


06:30 - The fan belt on James car goes horribly wrong and we loose air con, charging, engine cooling and various other vital components(not to mention the stereo). Fortunately we spot a slip way we can launch the boat from. We cook breakfast and make a small fire with lots of smoke to get rid of the damn midges which are biting furiously already. The Boat was packed as best we could do and then it was off to the slipway.

10:00 - We finally got under sail and we were off into the wilds of Scotland.

The first leg of the trip saw us tacking repeatedly into an oncoming wind, progress was depressingly slow considering the following tide. In our favour was the sunshine and a breeze to keep even the strongest midge miles away from us. We rounded the corner and started our run out of Loch Leven into Loch Linnhe. We found ourselves to be making a much better pace until the loch narrowed at Corran. The falling tide caused some incredible rip currents dragging us hundreds of metres back off course before we were able to ferry glide across into slack water. The lighthouse at Corran marked the start of our run towards Fort William.

We passed by Fort William and into Corpach with ease. At the first lock we found the British Waterways Scotland office to be closed and would not be opening until 08:00 the following morning. We set sail for Fort William again, this time tacking against the head wind, making little progress with each turn. Elizabeth seems to be showing the length of her teeth as the ageing rigging struggles to make a close haul cover any distance. The decision is made and the oars come out to help the Rover into port for the night.

The facilities at Fort William are very good. We settled on the Grog And Gruel pub for the evening. Our bellies full of the finest local food and beer (except Andy who was drinking generic lager); we headed back to the boat. After pushing her off the rocks we sculled onto the nearest buoy and settled down for a pleasant nights sleep.