Wednesday, 8 April 2015
I slept well, and despite a marked drop in temperature when the skies cleared in the early hours (the thermometer on my watch registering minus 5 Celsius) I woke warm and well rested. One of the nice things about paddling with Mike and Douglas is that all three of us have similar routines and are naturally early starters; we were up and about at 6am in the pre-dawn making breakfast and packing away our camping kit.
The frigid air wasn't conducive to a leisurely breakfast; breakfast and hot drinks done we erased all signs of the previous evening's fire and completed packing our boats. This was the first time I'd camped out of the Cetus MV and the space available came as a very pleasant surprise.
Unexpectedly, we found our boats a little higher from the water than we had left them the previous evening. We'd jokingly remarked that there was no tide to worry about, but here was indisputable evidence that the water level in a 28 kilometre loch had receded by at least 15 cm overnight. That's an awful lot of water and we knew that our route would follow that outflow later in the day.
Just as we were getting on the water the sun was rising above the hills to the east. While it brought the first welcome hint of warmth, the sunrise changed the relative humidity very quickly, misting camera lenses and sensors. It was some time before things equalised and the DSLR cameras were fully functional.
We paddled out onto the still water of Loch Shiel in anticipation of a great morning's paddling.......
......but we had no idea just how good it would turn out to be..........