The Great Scottish Canoe Trail

By Ian Baker

 Four intrepid explorers with paddle in hand,
Went on a Journey, a trip that was planned,
60 miles on Canals, Rivers and locks,
Five days and four nights to spend with the Scots.

We started with canoes packed to the rim,
With so much kit couldn’t fathom the trim,
In Banavie the rain, was not that much fun,
A punctured air bed and its only day one,

Out of the canal and into the Lochy,
Loch lochy, windy and water quite choppy,
Setting up tarps and tents never boring,
Not easy to sleep when someone’s snoring!

Out of the loch to a place called Laggan,
This is where the second portage began,
Moving canoes took all our strength and our might,
But we spotted a floating pub on the right.
We decided to stop for a bite and a brew,
After all not just a paddle, a holiday too.

Back on the water Loch Oich came in sight,
This is where we spent our next night,
A trailblazer site with a composer loo,
Quite handy, with paper,  when you need a poo.

Day three to Fort Augustus we planned,
By showers and facilities, we decided to land,
Being clean, but still tired in my mind,
I left a wash bag and towel behind.

A look round the town, we bought fish and chips,
Well needed calories, not weight on the hips.
The long portage here a bit of a chore,
As there were five locks, possibly more.

Onto Loch Ness the largest of all,
The one with the Monster curvy and tall.
Being one mile wide and 22 miles long,
could we get our planning wrong,
3 foot waves that can swamp a canoe,
North Shore or South Shore, what should we do.

The North Shore we decided is probably best,
There are places to stop and take a rest.
If we were stuck or capsized and rescues we try,
There’s chance of a pickup with road running by.

Six miles onward we travel our way.
To end another enjoyable day,
We set our tents up on grass amongst trees,
nice when you’ve spent the day on your knees.

Further down Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle we find,
A visit with food and a cupper in mind.
On entering the castle an official looking man,
Asks us to pay entrance fee, which scuppers our plan.

The fourth day not a wave can be found,
Perhaps the wind and the rains not around.
So paddling is easy the surface is flat,
Is the sun breaking through, will I need a hat.
No!  Clouds are grey & and an over cast Sky,
But 7 brightly coloured canoes go paddling by.

A pleasure boat and steamer are travelling fast,
Looks like the mill pond is not going to last.
As You can see the large waves that  they make,
to swamp a canoe, but it’s only their wake.

Soon the end of the great ness we see,
Time to stop for some drinks and a pee.
Bona lighthouse & then Loch Docfour,
After an exhausting day we head for the shore.

Bruno with thoughts of a cub scout aspire,
With twigs and dry wood he builds a small fire.
With stove gas and lighter he starts to play,
At least the smoke and the ash keep the midges away.

10 miles to the end, not a very long way
A finish at lunch time, not the end of the day,
Time to enjoy some tea with the crew,
An afternoon spent in Inverness too.
So after five days with discovery cruises,
Very few bites and much fewer bruises,
If you up for a challenge and can tell a tale,
Go up to Scotland and paddle the canoe trail.

Ian Baker 2015

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