|By the gate to Taymouth Castle.|
Loch Tay is simply beautiful. Under blue skies and a fresh breeze, the waters glistened, and the gentle waves broke on the sandy beach by the village of Kenmore. The Loch is located in the central highlands, in the district of Perthshire. Just over fourteen miles long and a mile to a mile and a half wide, it's the 6th largest freshwater loch in Scotland with a depth to almost 500 feet in places. Despite the warm sun, it was reassuring to be wearing dry suits...the water was very cold! Loch Tay has a south-west to north-east alignment, and the prevailing winds were forecast to stiffen by mid-day to provide some nice "bumps" for the test paddle.
|On the beach at Kenmore.|
We'd looked forward to testing the Étaín (a composite) and the low-volume Scorpio (a roto-mold). En route to the Loch, we realised we had picked up the wrong Valley, the 17'7" model instead of the 17'5" one. It was going to be far too big but no worries, it would still be possible to get a sense of the boat.
|We should have noted the "17.7" decal - a bit much volume for "short" paddlers!|
|The roto-mold P&H Scorpio LV.|
|You don't get into a kayak...you put it on.|
The LV felt like a comfortable sock.
Having never paddled a roto-mold kayak, we both expected it to feel "heavy". It didn't. In fact, it felt quite quick. That may be why its composite cousin, the Cetus, is so highly regarded.
I loved the look of the Étaín, with its swept up bow and stern and despite its size, it was fun to paddle, as was the Scorpio. Hmm...seems every kayak is fun to paddle when your own boats are thousands of miles away!
|A snow-capped Munro (one of seven) in the distance.|
After the noon hour, the wind did pick up and there was a good opportunity to splash into the waves...
and then test the skeg with wind and waves abeam. Both boats felt great, again, despite one being way too big and neither having a spray skirt to keep the water out.
Checking the stats afterwards, I discovered that my own Atlantis Spartan VI (in Canada) is very similar in size to the Valley Étaín 17.5. That, of course, means another "demo" day to see just how closely related they are. The Valley will have a stiff challenge!
|Simply lovely out there.|
It was great to be on the water again, and the first time on fresh water for a very long time. All too soon it was time to get the boats back on the roof racks, and drive them back for their 1730 hrs curfew at the paddling store.
|The loaded MTOPKTV and a fond last look at the Loch.|
As my cousin MG Mike reminds us, "every day's a school day". And, well, that's a really good thing. :)
*What appears to be a 2003 Ford Focus is technically a Moderate Terrain Outdoor Pursuits and Kayak Transport Vehicle (MTOPKTV). ;)
There's a very beautiful video on the home page of the Taymouth Castle site. You can watch it here.