Scottish Canoe Routes
Thursday: terrible weather forecast for Scotland - 1 degree; windy; snow. Our annual Easter trip postponed.
Friday: possibly the most dramatic forecast inversion in living memory. Sunny and warm. The trip is back on again! Frantic packing ensues. The plan was to canoe up Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, carry through to Loch Affric and camp at the top, ready for an assault on Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe.
There is easy access at the foot of Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin by the side of the dam. We left the car here which seemed to cause no problems. The loch has several interesting islands to explore and many good places to stop for a snack. At the top of the loch we pulled in on the left of the river inflow, at the mouth of a little gorge and followed an interesting "traditional" portage on the left side around the river and falls. You can also take out on the right and go up the road, or if adventurous, continue up the river. We put in above the river section onto Loch Affric just above the bridge on the righthand side, next to the road. After Affric Lodge, the loch opens out - a beautiful place. The exit point for the route up Carn Eighe is marked by a stream flowing into the loch on the right. We camped near the mouth of this.
There was still some snow on the ridges of Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe, which added a bit of excitement to our climb. We needed to kick steps up a very steep snowbank to gain the ridge leading to Mam Sodhail. Because this exit would be very difficult to spot on the way back, we balanced some rocks at the top as a marker.
The following day, we paddled back down the lochs in a luminous mist, which in time would burn off to give another brilliant blue day. Returning, we varied the route by taking the portage on the other side of the river.
A great trip. If only Scottish weather was always this kind.