My wife and I have been cruising
around Loch Lomond on a recently restored classic Boat, a thirty year
old Freeman Cabin Cruiser. Loch Lomond is 45 minutes away from home but
this is the only way to really appreciate the wonderful landscapes
around this very pretty area called the Trossachs. Svieta bought this
boat as she comes from the region where the River Volga flows and she
missed the water.
This area, The Trossachs and
Loch Lomond National Park was recently designated our first National
We were away for the weekend, my first free weekend this summer as I
have been running workshops every weekend. We spent three days away,
beached the boat onto a lovely island where a 50 strong breeding colony
of Wallabys stay. Loch Lomond has a number of islands and all have
wonderful beaches of soft sand. We set up the barbie, cooked some lamb
chops in mint marinade, turkey kebabs in a Mexican spice and consumed
reasonable amounts of cold Chardonay and then lay down and watched the
stars in the clear sky. A unique experience in normally cloudy Glasgow.
I saw my first satellites whizzing across the sky which was wondrous.
Svieta had bought some new binocs that stabilise the image so she could
remove the shaking effect (of the Chardonay of course) After this we
went to bed on 'The Little Lady' only waking up with the bird calls
around 7.30 in their case. Very civilised birds around here don't you
We pushed off and headed up
to the 16th century village of Luss for lunch.
After that we cruised the 20
miles to the top of the Loch and moored off at the Ardlui Marina at the
tip. Most of the loch is quite shallow at 70 feet maximum around the
islands but heading further north we encountered regular depths of over
690 feet. The water dead calm and the running was smooth. We cooked some
tender beef fillets marinated in a teriyaki sauce, smothered in a
Dolcelatte cremosa sauce on some crusty fresh bread. Followed by some
fresh mangos and grapes and all washed down with a few cold beers. We
were obviously roughing it on the Loch.
Soon it was getting dark. The rest
of the little convoy we had started with arrived (their lunch at Luss
took a lot longer than ours, but then we were having solid foods)
The Drovers Inn is a 13th
century Inn near Ardlui that was restored in the 1750's. We gave them a
call and they sent down their mini bus for us pleasantly driven by the
owner. We enjoyed a few more drops of the cold amber nectar, quite
necessary on a day where we broke all heat records in the UK with a
temperature of 37 degrees recorded. We sat outside under the satellites on a
comfortable 18th century swing bench and bantered with our fellow
boaters, flotsam and jetsam. We slept really well that night-especially
flotsam and jetsam.
The last day I had three disasters. Very early in the morning I asked my neighbours at the
moorings in Ardlui Marina, to push the prow put while I started the
engine. They were waiting on my signal. I started the engine which was
unfortunately in gear. I slammed into the boat in front and cracked his
new bathing deck. Neither he or me was happy. I was really upset at
doing such a terrible thing, but obviously he was also less than happy.
Sorry Sorry Sorry Derrick.
Then the fan belt broke on
the boat and I did not have the right sized spare and despite completely
re setting the alternator with my neighbouring boaters helping to try
and fit the smaller belt, we could not get it to work. Quite a few of us
had ripe expletives about all that. None of the other boats had a fan
belt to fit as these were all new boats and the Little Lady was a
classic. (something like its owner!) I only needed the alternator to
charge the batteries and as Little Lady has three batteries in a set on
the boat, I decided that it was probably ok to start up and go. We had
to cruise slowly at 3.3 miles an hour back down the 26 mile long Loch.
Finally, mooring at our own
marina at the bottom of loch, having taken many hours to get there. I
pulled the dinghy in and in the process of fighting with the damned
thing, my trousers, which had slid down my waist and had arrived
precariously at my hips.
I got my leg on the jetty
and then disaster. My trousers had got caught on the corner of the boat
as I stretched a leg to step on to this floating jetty. The Little Lady
then decided to drift away slightly from the mooring and I lost my
balance, my trousers fixed solidly to the boat now caused me me to turn
upside down off the end of the boat in an elegant belly flap losing my
pants in the process as these became a fixture of the Little Lady's butt
while I bared mine to the world.
I think I may have waived something
to the crowds that regularly line the bridge above to watch the boats
below and who seemed to enjoy this bonus spectacle of a large naked man
tumbling upside down into the water.
I finished up underneath Loch
Lomond. (Which is cool and green coloured incidentally from three feet
below the surface)
The echoes of cheers reverberated
around the Marina as I sheepishly climbed back on board the Little
Lady's bathing deck.
Guess who wasn't wearing his
safety belt!!. Anyway I will get a new fan belt, a new trouser belt and
a belt round the ear from Svetlana for not wearing a lifebelt and fan
mail from my many new admirers on the bridge.
Svetlana thinks I should belt
up my mouth now.