Once a year, my big sister and I head off to a remote cottage in a remote loch in the West Highlands. It’s an adventure just getting there, west along a single-track road, then a very pot-holed road, down a series of hairpin bends on a 1:5 gradient and arriving finally at the Lodge, to pick up the cottage boat, a tough Pioneer 12. With us, our gear, and food for a week it’s only got about 6in of freeboard. We chug off two miles down the loch, curve round into the bay, and there’s our beloved cottage, just the same as it was when we spent summers there as children.
Our boat then was a lightweight wooden dinghy, kept on a running mooring, and moved up and down the beach when necessary on rollers. This one’s a bit heavy for elderly ladies to haul about, so once we’d got our stuff out, we got it up the beach with the high tide and left it there till going home time.
Instead, we got out the paddle-boards or, more properly, the sit-on kayaks, and spent the week charging all round the loch on them.
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