Saturday, 7 August 2010

Loch Leven and the Ballachulish Bridge

Having experienced the tidal flows in the narrows of the Caolas nan Con, and found them fun rather than fearful, I felt it was only a natural progression to head for the Ballachulish bridge where Loch Leven narrows before entering Loch Linnie. On previous visits to the bridge I had watch the tides flowing under it in huge twists and turning boils. I admit that I was a bit apprehensive as I passed the church that stands beside the road to the west of Ballachulish village.

I could see the flow of the water start not far in front of me and close to the shore. I glanced over at the slate quarry on the hillside behind the village and remembered the slate tomb stones on Eilean Munde. I moved the little inflatable close in to the far bank as I passed the point of Rubha Charnuis. I estimated the tide had around an hour to go before it would be fully out so the flow under the bridge would still be of considerable force.

The water had a little wave on the surface as I looked over to the smooth flast flow on the far southern bank. Suddenly a large boil of water appeared directly in front of me. As it spread outwards its surface smoothed the small wind blown waves. It was too late to avoid it so with heart in my mouth I opened the throttle a bit and motored into it. It was like hitting a wall of thick treacle, the boat instantly slowed and started to rotate. I swung the outboard tiller to counteract the rotation and the boat held course and came out the other side of the boil. Once back in smooth waters, and after I calmed myself, I got the camera out and took this photo of the bridge.

I then breathed a sigh of relief and headed for the sheltered waters of the natural harbour behind the loch Leven hotel. That’s when I decided I would need a little more experience before going with the flow and following through with the bridge.

No more boils appeared as I made my way back round the point of Rubha Charnuis into the main loch. Perhaps the more experienced boater will be laughting at my cowardness, but as I retraced my path back past Eilean Munde, I was glad it wasn’t going to be my final resting place.

No comments: