No fishing in the title, and little in reality, but I’d a superb weekend kayak camping on Etive earlier in March. Sunshine over snow capped mountains, sea ice on the lochs and perfect kayaking conditions. Fishing can happily take a back seat at times!
I popped the yak in amongst the mini ice-floes surrounding Glen Etive early on Saturday morning, before most of the inhabitants of the surrounding campervans were even awake. Just a very thin skin, but ploughing through it whilst pretending to be an icebreaker was good fun.
A couple of miles later I came upon this rather lonely little sheep. I’ve not seen any within many miles of here so I’ve no idea how it arrived on this solitary patch of grass. My initial thought was it had been washed down river in a flood, but I can’t recall seeing any up-river either. Luckily for it there aren’t many wolves or bears around Etive!
Shortly afterwards I stopped ashore for a quick coffee brew, near Aird Trilleachean. The sun was out and I felt almost too warm in my cag as I surveyed a flat calm loch and snow capped mountains all around.
The twin peaks of Buachaille Etive Mhor and Bheag dominated the background as I relaunched my little plastic log, laden down with camping gear and wood for my campfire.
I glided along steadily, surrounded by silence and and the mountains of Lorn. Only my clumsy paddling disturbed the mirrored surface of the loch. Pure magic!
I’d no great plans or need to be anywhere, so enjoyed just mosey-ing along and taking my time.
By mid-afternoon I finally reached my campsite for the night, so I headed ashore to set up the tent.
Since I had a bit of space on the kayak I’d hauled along my mini-hot tent and stove. More for fun than from any great need to avoid frostbite, but it’s a fairly spacious setup too. I pitched just above my chosen beach and then offloaded my remaining cargo from the yak.
Heading back out again for a little bit of fishing, I didn’t really have high hopes. Just as well, as they’d have been dashed! Plenty tiddler spurries around but nothing better showing.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really care, and just enjoyed my surroundings. Eventually the sun headed for the horizon so I took the hint and headed ashore for the evening.
I’d taken wood in with me and supplemented this with timber provided by the winter storms. Supper was venison steaks and mushrooms cooked on a hot slate, coupled with baked potatoes. Pretty tasty, and better than many of my efforts!
I sat out watching the moon and stars for a while, slurping a whisky fortified hot chocolate. Calm and cold, but in a lovely, lonely place.
Sunday dawned cloudless but very cold, with a frozen beach and heavy frost over everything. Even the water in my bottle froze as I poured it out to brew a morning coffee. Very pretty, but it felt more like January than March!
I hadn’t bothered with the tent stove last night, but it suddenly seemed a very attractive option. Fortunately my wee titanium friend was set up ready to go, and it wasn’t long before a cheery glow appeared. A few minutes later and frost was steaming off the tent. Warm indeed – and time for some breakfast too.
I dutifully chucked out a bait from the shore as I waited for my bacon and eggs to cook. I’d only taken in a light carp rod so didn’t really get the distance to hit deeper water, not that I expected anything sizeable anyway.
Finally getting to munch my bacon roll, I hovered around my fishless carp rod. Etive remained motionless whilst snow capped mountains seemed to encircle my camp. A rising sun started to obliterate the frosty overcoat on my kayak and I could hear the occasional drip of meltwater. Nothing much else happened, which suited me just fine as I sat and just absorbed my surroundings.
By late morning, and rather reluctantly, I decided I really did need to start moving. Reloading my old Perception didn’t take long, having scoffed most of my food and consigned the wood to last night’s campfire.
Reluctant Return to Civilisation
Out on the loch I spent a while fishing a couple of features, picking up more small spurdogs, as I’d expected. I pootered about in my kayak, hauling ashore to explore a couple of spots as I meandered back towards the head of the loch.
However, all good things come to an end and I made a final stop on the far side of Aird Trilleachean for yet another coffee. Really, just an excuse to delay arriving back at Glen Etive for another little while.
Winter is coming to an end now and other opportunities will soon open up, so I’m not sure when I’ll be back to Etive. However, I reckon this little trip was a perfect way to finish one season and set me up for spring.Share this: