8am Sunday 26th March 2023 and five club members and St Baldred were tightly packed in/behind Robbie Wightman’s car as we headed north via Callendar and a bacon roll stop at Loch Lubnaig, turning right at Lochearnhead onto the A85.
Two miles further on the north side of Loch Earn we arrived at Drummond Trout Farm where Robbie had found a slipway to launch the boat. Stuart our contact there was very helpful in showing us how best to launch St Baldred off the slipway. We paid our £12 slipway fees (for boats less than 10hp) and off we went onto Loch Earn.
Conditions were a chilly 4 degrees centigrade with a light wind from the north blustering occasionally in spots and the chance of some snow flurries in the forecast. We decided to circumnavigate the loch turning to starboard and going through our warm-up exercises with our first cox of the day, ‘Medium’.
Making good progress we came across our first crannog and noticed what looked like evidence of beaver activity (see photo) which was confirmed by Stewart on the slipway when we got back.
We then turned east and followed the south side of the loch landing on the shore to change cox and sample some rather nice fruit cake (thanks to the Wightman household) with our flasks of tea. Snow on the top of Ben Vorlich and other munros in the area against blue sky set the backdrop to fantastic scenery and we were soon down at St Fillans at the eastern end.
Here we had intended to lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel (older members may be interested to know The Beatles once stayed here). However, it belied its name by not offering food until April. We sat on the shore and remarked on how well balanced the new oars were and how the smooth conditions on the loch aided swift progress.
Wondering whether we had spotted an osprey earlier, we were soon back at Drummond Trout Farm and packed ready to return to NB. Our slipway man told us the loch would soon be very busy for the season, so our timing was good to sample the loch minus hordes of jet skis etc.
(L to R: Robbie, Ann, Dave, Duncan & Medium)
‘Why Loch Earn?’ we hear you ask. Well, Robbie had put a crew together to take part in the SCRA’s Lochdown 2023 challenge - devised to encourage clubs to go out and row as many lochs in Scotland during 2023.
More details here:
Thanks to Robbie for organising and towing St Baldred & crew.
Where will you do your Lochdown?