The Inaugural Otter Canoe Adventure
When Loch Sunart is completely still, it makes it easy to spot the otter that regularly fishes near the jetty. Right on cue for the very first canoe adventure of ‘Otter Adventures’, he appeared. Just as we were getting our waterproof jackets, buoyancy aids and paddles sorted by the jetty, he popped up.
We sat watching him feed for a while before remembering that we too wanted to enjoy this beautiful day from on the water.
And so, the first canoe adventure on Loch Sunart as ‘Otter Adventures’ began.
Getting the canoes on and off the trailers is a job that requires teamwork and one that we ask every capable adult to help with. However, once they are on the trolleys we have, they are pretty easy to move around and children can wheel them on short journeys as this twelve-year old boy (above) demonstrates.
Our aim for our first half-day canoe adventure was to see how long it would take to get from the office, to the jetty, past the mouth of the Strontian River (Abhain Sron An T-Sithien) and along the loch to Ardnastang beach. We also hoped to see a seal (or two), another otter and possibly a pod of harbour porpoise. However these are not usually seen until early evening and during the summer months.
A Perfect Start
While we set off in perfectly calm, if cool, conditions before light rain came in spattering growing concentric rings across the loch. this was followed by a rainbow above Strontian:
So many things we love about open canoeing are captured in this picture: the peacefulness of the journey, the reflections (both in the water and in thought), the time to soak in the surroundings, and so much more.
(Natural) Treasure Hunting
Ardnastang Beach is the closest one to Strontian and is best approached from the water by canoe or kayak (or even wild swimming!)
Here you can find all sorts of treasures: muscles, oyster catchers, hermit crabs (below). We even found a fish new to us, what we think was a Long-spined sea scorpion (Taurulus bubbles)!
The little rain we had added to the experience by providing mesmerising texture to the otherwise flat water surface. It certainly never dampened our enthusiasm! Otter Adventures had provided us with high quality waterproofs designed for canoeing and our welly boots kept our feet dry and warm.
On the journey home from our canoe adventure we looked towards Garbh Bheinn (The Rough Mountain). From on the water we really got a sense of just how big the landscape is! We are spoilt in this part of the Highlands of Scotland with mountains, forests and ample water to paddle . Most of the routes to the summit require some element of scrambling – it is not generally a straightforward walk!
It also started thoughts of land-based adventures that are yet to come…