Bob Law: River Falloch and Loch Lomond, Photography and Kayaking
As I fancied trying something different outdoors at the start of the summer I purchased two inflatable kayaks from Amazon for £59 quid each, including paddles, pump and repair kit. I already had the life-jacket/ buoyancy aids as I used to have kayaks years ago… but the rigid fiberglass kind. The beauty of inflatable kayaks is that two can fit in a boot or back seat of a car without needing a roof rack and space to store them back at the house. They are fairly sturdy, stable, and faster than you would expect. As it’s hard to Eskimo roll with them due to an open body space if you capsized you would probably have to swim to shore- something to bear in mind in open waters- but I’ve been out in them half a dozen times now in flat good conditions and you would have to do something daft to capsize them- like messing about, going out in choppy waters or going down rapids. All things they are not designed for anyway.
If used properly and aware of their limitations, and more importantly, your own… you can have great fun in them. Kayakers should never go out alone just in case something unexpected happens,like a sudden boat or jet ski wake but if you use them properly it’s amazing the places you can visit safely.
Loch Lomond and the River Falloch
We parked just past Ardlui at the top end of Loch Lomond and found a layby on the A82 with a faint path through the trees to reach the River Falloch near the Geal Loch. The Falloch is a lovely river to explore with several backwater tributaries that remind you of the everglades in the USA. You can paddle upriver almost as far as the Inverarnan Hotel. In the opposite direction you can visit Doune Bothy, across Loch Lomond for a full day’s paddling while still keeping a safe distance near the shore. Obviously, you should be able to swim- just in case.
On the plus side you usually get a breeze in hot humid summer conditions, you leave the midges, sheep ticks and biting clegs behind out on the water and enter a peaceful unhurried realm.
Two hundred yards away the busy A82 was the usual tourist log jam with caravans, souped up hatchbacks and delays while we paddled in serene seclusion that is increasingly rare these summer days in the Scottish Highlands.
As long as you wear a buoyancy aid at all times, can swim, kayak with companions, pick settled conditions and remember not to go too far out into open waters or strong currents I would say that cycling on a busy cycle track is far more dangerous as a sport. I’ve hill-walked, rock climbed, backpacked through the Alps, scrambled, kayaked etc… but all my injuries I’ve received so far have been out cycling. Either the public walking straight into me without warning, dogs biting me, holes dug in the track, inappropriately parked cars across cycle lanes, or other hazards like racing bikes speeding past from behind without notice. Often it’s all about false public perceptions of different sports and using common sense. Kayaking doesn’t need to be dangerous if you follow these simple rules.
This section: Bob Law: photographer, walker and writer, Travel
- Bob Law’s Blog: Musselburgh, walking and photography
- The Steeple. Lochgoilhead. December 2018
- Open Studio Lodestone Art Bowling ‘She Sits and Watches Sinking Ships’
- Bob Law Photography and Walking in Scotland: The John Muir Way
- Talks at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
- Shaping Their World, Thistle Gallery
- The Great Big Mackintosh Bus Tour, Glasgow
- Bob Law: a selection of photos taken around Glasgow city
- Charles Rennie Mackintosh Design: House For An Art Lover – Photo Gallery
- A Day Out, The Lighthouse
- Still Moving: Films and Photographs of Ulrike Ottinger, The Hunterian
- Bob Law: The Pentlands Gallery
- Unbuilt Mackintosh, The Hunterian
- Bob Law Photography: Winter in Scotland, Cnoc Coinnich Day Out
- Kelvin Hotel, Glasgow – at the heart of the Real West End
- Bob Law’s photography: The Colours of Autumn in Scotland
- Temporary Closure of Mackintosh House
- Christmas Art Show, Lillie Gallery, November – December, 2017
- Archifon IV, Cryptic Sonica, University of Glasgow Chapel 1 – 5 November, 2017
- Scotland’s Own Coinage, The Hunterian, From 3 October 2017