Four Boaties and a Jenny Skylark left the boat shed for Loch Lomond at 8.30 last Sunday. On a morning of dull weather we were still all grinning and gleeful at our ‘gang of five’ jolly….no races just pleasure, and that’s just how it turned out.
We got to the loch side just after ten to see it cheeringly flat, and only the odd breezy scud ruffling the calm surface now and again. The sun had a go at edging through the cloud for most of the day, and eventually after a couple of wee showers, it shouldered its way through, bringing with it a warmth left over from July, we felt blissful and lucky.
Setting off from the Park Ranger’s hut just beyond Balmaha, our plan was to row past and round a couple of the Loch’s Islands; so we had high hopes of spotting a Wallaby, or even a nudist, the latter left over from the island naturist camp in the ancient 1960’s. We would work toward our landfall at Luss (remember Take the High Road anyone?) and the reward of lunch. With a plan in mind we arranged ourselves in the boat, (this was to be a four cox journey by the way) and decided to heck, we’ll just cross over and have lunch first off. Well that’s what you can do on a jolly.
About an hour rowing across one of the bonniest Lochs in Scotland, surrounded by hills and beauty had us feeling; ‘chust sublime’, as Para Handy from the Vital Spark would say. The feeling in the boat was of sheer happiness and pleasure; in the day and in one another’s company.
On landing we made the boat safe and rolled along the tea room lined roads like mariners. Looking to find food for four, and cakes and juice for Stuart, we came across a wee restaurant that met our needs, and sat outside on wet chairs, (we’re pretty hard after all) speaking of, oars and cakes, proper rowing talk.
After scran, it was back to Boatie Rows and the promised tour of the islands. We landed on Wallaby Island and managed to get some great photos, not of wallabies sadly, but the boat was looking great, as was Ali from Rowporty. We marched through the moss sprung interior to the far beach which we reached after about eight minutes, and talked about how fab it could be to have a big camping jolly to Loch Lomond next year. Back on board we made way together, back across the Loch in hot afternoon sun, what a treat, and came back to shore where we had started.
A talk with the extremely friendly and helpful Park Ranger, let us see that there are real possibilities for both casual and competitive jaunts that would be welcomed on this lovely Loch. So it might be worth watching this space.
Back at our harbour around six o’clock, I knew we had spent a ten hour gem of a day together, bonded and happy in the pleasure of the doing of it all. Thanks gang of five, it was a lovely one off.
Martine Robertson for Boatie Blest.