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Loch Tummel, Scotland

November 2017

A challenging paddle with a déjà vu is end!

After our first sub-zero night in the bus this winter, the first job of the day was to clear the ice from my new 25” 14’ Elite Red Paddle board. (It turns out that my last Elite was 26” wide and not 25” as I’d thought, so this board should be even faster, if a tad more tippy!)

With almost no wind predicted, I reckoned a new Tummel PB could be on the cards. I also reckoned my Palm rash vest and Tsangpo gilet should be fine, keeping my core warm, but my arms free. However as soon as I got around the corner from the launch point, I knew the forecast was wrong, again.

20 minutes after starting, I reached for my Camelback to take my first fuel intake. As I flipped the bright yellow valve to open, it fell off into the loch. After 5 minutes of fishing leaves and other yellowish objects out of the water, I decided I’d better forget about taking on any fuel, and get the paddle done, as the tailwind was already hitting double figures, and getting stronger.

By the time I reached the halfway point, (Pablo’s Hideaway), the wind was wild.

Paddling back down the loch into a strong headwind, with white horses crashing over my board, my balance was really tested. On several occasions I battled against the wind, just trying to keep moving forward.

To cap it off, 10 minutes from the end my “lava lamps” returned, again on every blink. Not quite as large as on the 11 City, but increasing. The light was dim, and I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since my small bowl of porridge over 4 hours earlier.

It was time to get out my “emergency jelly sweets”. Although stopping paddling to get them meant that I would be blown back up the loch, I had no choice. They did the trick!

One heck of a paddle on Tummel!


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