Saturday, 30 April 2011

Loch Leven and Ballachulish Bridge

When I was on Loch Leven with my inflatable, several times I looked at the Ballachulish bridge trying to pluck up the courage to go under it. The loch narrows at this point and a strong current flows under the bridge when the tide ebbs and flows. It is like a flowing river and even on a calm day, the water surface appears to bubble and boil, especially at inflatable boat level. I had never plucked up the courage to go through the bridge before.

The tide had turned and was now coming in. However it was still too early to go back to the campsite ramp so I went for another look at the bridge. This was about as close as I dared to go in the inflatable.

My confidence was boosted by the boat and having survived the waves earlier in the day. I also knew that because the tide was coming in and I was trying to get out, if the current proved too strong, the boat would just get swept back into loch Leven with no harm done. I moved slowly forward. The water started to flow towards me like a river.

The boat took the current easily, all I had to do was keep her in a straight line when the larger boils tried to know it off line. Looking back, the water was slightly agitated. I knew if there was a wind against it, it would be a far different story and the water would be very rough.

I got a good view of the launch ramp on the north side as I motored passed at around half throttle.

Then I was underneath the bridge. I felt a feeling of accomplishment as I took this photo, another lesson learned.

Then the old ferry ramp on the south side of the loch came into view. It also looked a reasonable place to launch assuming the tide was not in full flow and the wind was calm.

I was rewarded with a lovely view of the hotel at the bridge, with the mountain of Beinn a Bhithir in the background.

And a view of the bridge from the west. This time illuminated with the evening sun.

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