Day 3 and last day

I was back on it so we were back to the famous 3.
Due to the prevailing northerly winds we adjusted the route so we headed to Muirtown locks to do the final day in reverse. John dropped Carl and I off and went back to what would be our finish point to drop car off and hopefully hitch back. Luckily John got a lift from a very entertaining truck driver – who was another keen outdoorsy type – thanks for the lift.
We started in pleasant conditions but would be hit with hail showers during the day. We headed along the canal to Dochgarroch which was going to be our overnight camping spot. We also took lunch there as there are no berthing opportunities on Loch Ness.
We continued after lunch to cross Loch Dochfour which would eventually open up to the expanse of Loch Ness which is where we realised the magnitude of the forecasted winds. We’d enjoyed the tailwinds in the morning but it was a different story on loch ness where the waves were huge (for canoes) which would push you down a roller then spin you sideways and therefore be in the precarious position of being side on to the wind and the waves.
This turned into a war of attrition calling for support strokes galore. We headed up towards the Clansman Hotel where Carl our inexperienced paddler decided he’d had enough of the dangerous conditions and decided to bail and walk/run back to the car awaiting our return.
I must say he deserves all the plaudits for completing 52 miles out of 60 in very testing conditions which in my opinion would test even experienced paddlers.
So then it was down to 2, so off we set, next stop the finish and the car passing Urqhart Castle on the way which seemed to make the swell huge and testing in most ways. I almost went over and managed to pull off a very deep support stroke – I knew I’d not forget the skills I’d learned 25+years ago.
We plodded on and eventually reached our arranged get out and finish (for John).
Well done John, a great achievement !
Car loaded up we headed back to the Clannsman to pick Carl’s boat up.
Then there was a Nigel epic as I wanted to view the dolphins on the black isle. So off we headed to Fortrose all the while saying they weren’t guaranteed. We arrived for the turn of the tide and it was bitterly cold so John got to use his survival tent in anger as we sat on the beach waiting for the dolphins who unfortunately didn’t show 😦 don’t know if I’ll ever hear the end of this.
So back to the informal composite at Dochgarroch lochs and whilst Carl and I pitched the tent John returned to Inverness to pickup takeaway pizza.
Caledonian Canal Done 🙂

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