Canoe Along The Great Glen Past Loch Ness

Canoe Along The Great Glen Past Loch Ness

Paddling Paradise: An Unforgettable Journey Through Scotland’s Highlands

As I sit here, gazing out at the tranquil waters of Loch Ness, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. The towering peaks of the Highlands rise majestically in the distance, their rugged beauty a testament to the raw power of nature. And to think, just a few days ago, my daughter Maya and I had the privilege of embarking on an epic canoe adventure through this stunning landscape.

It all started with a simple question: “Maya, there’s a good forecast for the Great Glen. Do you fancy it?” Her response, as always, was a terse but enthusiastic “Sure.” I should have known then that this was going to be something special. After all, when does a 12-year-old willingly agree to spend five days paddling and camping in the great outdoors?

As we made our way north, the anticipation began to build. I couldn’t help but double-check the weather forecast, eager to ensure the conditions were just right. And when we arrived at our starting point in Fort William, the stage was set for an unforgettable journey.

Navigating the Great Glen

The first challenge we faced was the mighty Caledonian Canal, a feat of engineering that would serve as our gateway to the Great Glen. As we loaded our canoe and set off, the wind was at our backs, and our little sail provided a welcome boost of speed.

But, of course, no adventure is without its hiccups. The boom of our sail began to bash against Maya’s neck, much to her chagrin. “I have a hate-hate relationship with this sail,” she’d exclaim, as I tried in vain to warn her of its erratic swings. Ah, the joys of family expeditions!

Nonetheless, we pressed on, tackling the locks and portages with a sense of renewed determination. And as we reached the calm waters of Loch Lochy, the wind picked up, pushing us along at a thrilling pace. Maya, ever the thrill-seeker, was positively beaming as we surfed down the waves, her trust in me unwavering.

Camping Under the Stars

As the sun began to dip below the horizon, we made our way to a secluded campsite at Glas Dhoire, a wild and enchanting spot tucked away from the world. Maya, with her trusty GoPro in hand, set off to explore the nearby woods, her laughter echoing through the trees. And as we snuggled into our sleeping bags, Billie the dog curled up at our feet, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of contentment.

The next day dawned bright and clear, and we continued our journey, passing the ruins of Invergarry Castle and navigating the gentle currents of Loch Oich. It was here that we encountered our old friend, Kevin, who had spotted us “barreling down the loch” the day before. “He must be either mad or know what he’s doing,” he had remarked. I’ll let you decide which one I am.

Conquering Loch Ness

As we approached the mighty Loch Ness, I made the decision to stick to the southeastern shore, knowing that the terrain on the other side could prove treacherous in poor weather. And what a decision that turned out to be! The views were breathtaking, and the water as calm as a millpond. Maya, ever the observant one, even declared that Nessie must be “away on her holidays.”

The paddle along Loch Ness was long and arduous, but the stunning scenery and the company of my daughter kept me going. We stopped occasionally to stretch our legs and explore the unique features of the loch, including a colossal boulder with a tiny tree growing from its cracks. “Who would put that in the canoe?” Maya joked, her sense of wonder and imagination never waning.

The Grand Finale

As we neared the end of our journey, we were greeted by a familiar face – our friend Russel, whom I had known for years, was out on the water with his twins, Alice and Max. It was a welcome reunion, and we decided to camp together, sharing stories and enjoying the last few hours of our adventure.

The final stretch was bittersweet, as we knew our time on the water was coming to an end. But as we paddled through the final narrows, passing the Loch Ness Shores campsite, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. We had conquered the Great Glen, and the memories we had made would last a lifetime.

As we loaded the canoe onto the car and began our journey home, Maya turned to me with a grin and said, “Dad, that was the best adventure ever.” And in that moment, I knew that the magic of the Highlands had worked its spell, not just on us, but on our souls.

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