A weeks holiday: Three bite size adventures for our pint size adventurer! Part I: Canoe & Wild Camping
There’s nothing like looking forward to a weeks holiday! Just having that freedom to go anywhere and do anything is so intoxicating, if you know what it is you want to do, that is. A beach holiday? Camping? Canoeing? We couldn’t decide, we were ready for a bit of adventure and wanted all three. In the end, we decided to have a week split in to three different adventures, each one thought out to make good use of the weather forecast and to hopefully ensure enough giggles were had along the way without wearing out our little one too quickly…That was our hope anyway… This first blog of three details the first bite size adventure: canoe and wild camping.
With the weather looking good, and us eager to try out our new lightweight tent and down quilt, we asked our son if he’d like to go wild camping. “Only if we can go canoe and wild camping!” was his reply. We all giggled at that, what a little adventurer he’s growing up to be!
Early on the Saturday morning, with the car already packed the night before we drove the four hours to the North West of Scotland, to a little hidden loch that my husband and I canoed a few years back. That time the weather turned quickly and we had rain nonstop, but this time looked more hopeful. We arrived with the sun shining and wall to wall blue sky. We packed the canoe on the trolley and headed down the ‘track’ to the loch. About ten minutes in, with the mud and boggy sections making progress slow, the canoe trolley snapped in half! Brilliant! It’s funny what your brain blocks out from things that happened in the past isn’t it? Now, we both remembered this bit…and the easier way of getting to the Loch…must remember it for the return journey! It all added to the adventure…we supposed and so unloaded the canoe and my husband had to hoof it as far as he could get carrying it. Our little boy was eager to help so carried his paddle down to where his dad had put the canoe on a grassier section. From there we were able to make a few return trips to get the rest of the gear, threw everything in the canoe and reached the Loch shore, finally.
The wind was minimal, the sun blazing and conditions were great. After a quick lunch, we paddled around the edge of the Loch looking at overhanging cliffs and little beaches before exploring a few of the bigger islands. We found the one we had pitched our tent on a few years back, but with the water level being so high due to snow melt etc there was hardly any place to put our tent this time. We had fun on the beach, our little boy enjoying playing with the sand and water. In no rush to head off, we let him have that time to himself.
Later that afternoon, we found a lovely little camp spot. There was an already established fire pit, complete with fallen trees that had been pulled across to make seats. We pitched the tent and went exploring a little more, finding another little beach, this one with small rocks that made perfect throwing and skimming rocks. We enjoyed a bbq, and found a rocky little outcrop that we sat on and watched the sun go down for a bit, enjoying the scenery.
We climbed in to our tent and snuggled down for the night with our little one fighting sleep even more, now he could see it was still a little bit light outside. Finally, he crashed out and slept through the night. The next morning, the wind had picked up and we could see some white horses on an exposed part of the Loch. This wasn’t forecast, so we packed up after breakfast, not wanting to risk waiting it out. We walked around the island a bit, spotting the best route back trying to take advantage of any wind breaks that we could. Thankfully it was a direct route back, along the back of the biggest island we were already on, and then straight across with the winds at our backs making it a quick return journey. Once we were in a sheltered part of the bay, we eased up on paddling and were able to enjoy the scenery more. We noticed a couple of other canoeists following our route who we had met the previous day, presumably thinking the same thing about the wind. Good old UK weather! On the return trip to the car, we stayed well away from the boggy trip back, deciding instead to portage to a small lochan that ran alongside the road. We should’ve done this before! From that lochan we were able to canoe diagonally across it, and carry the canoe up to a handy little parking spot. My husband legged it back to the car, while my little one and I got everything ready to throw in the car and go.
It was such a beautiful day, still windy but early enough that we didn’t want to drive straight home. Instead, we headed to the beach and did a bit of rock pooling, finding a little flatfish, some anemones, and crabs! Another little detour for ice cream to finish the adventure, and we headed home, all with smiles on our faces and ready for the next adventure!
On the next blog of ‘Three bite size adventures for our pint size adventurer! Part II: Walk & Wild Camping’
***Please note: This is a blog that was previously published on another of our blogs Adventurous Little Legs, and linked to an online store we also had. We have closed these both down. All content and pictures remain those of Stacey and Keith at Adventurous Little Legs and An Outdoors Family