This years’ crop must have been a good one, because as I paddled towards Marijuana Mansion I was so busy looking out for their little orange and white marker buoys, that I totally missed their latest purchase, a great big bright pink one. It only came into my sight a metre from the nose of my SUP, and I had to do some rapid manoeuvres to avoid hitting it. Hopefully the hordes of fishermen and geese sitting along the south shore were too busy doing their thing to notice this dozey paddler almost doink the big bright pink thing!!
I was back on Loch Tummel, and I was hoping to do better than last week. The paddle is 20km long, and my goal is to do it in less than 3 hours. Last week I missed this target by just 6 minutes, but I was feeling good today.
Apart from almost hitting the big bright pink thing, I was off to a great start. As I passed Fake Island, I had gained 1 minute on last weeks’ time. Then passing Sunken Island I gained another. After body-swerving Oo Er Missus, I passed Hello Sailor over 3 minutes faster than last week. Things were going well!
For the next 10 minutes the water was glassy calm. However, 6km into the paddle, the wind picked up. It was coming from my 11 o’clock and was making life a tad harder. By the time I passed Tarzan’s Lodge, I had lost my 3 minute gain, and another 2 minutes on to that.
The wind picked up, and for the next 30 minutes I would do 30 right strokes to every 4 on the left, to stop myself from being blown onto the north shore. By the time I reached Pablo’s Hideaway, (my turning point), I was a full 6 minutes behind last weeks’ time.
As I stopped for my 2 minute fuel break, in glorious sunshine, I thought to myself, at least I’ll have this wind behind me on the way back and this should make up for lost time. I stripped to the waist stood up and got ready for an easy downwind back home. It was not to be.
Over the next few minutes the wind changed direction. It was now a chilly cross wind, blowing from my 8 o’clock and trying to land me on the south shore.
For the next hour I mainly paddled on my right. Every 10 minutes I would do a couple of left strokes to give my arms a change, but then it would be back to right strokes again.
The wind was so strong that I couldn’t even stop to put my t-shirt back on, as in the 30 seconds it would take me to do that, I would be blown ashore.
The last 20 minutes was a sheltered paddle, so back to the normal alternating strokes.
Unfortunately I failed in my mission to beat the 3 hours, and finished with a time of 3 hours and 11 minutes.
Loch Tummel, I’ll be back!