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Old 06 February 2011, 17:47   #1
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Safety Boats Wanted: Loch Etive 04/06/2011

70 Wild Miles - LOCH ETIVE 4TH JUNE 2011

Regular "readers" will recall a request for safety boats for this event last year. Myself and 9d280 ended up there and the request has gone out again for this year! 9d280 is making bold claims about his engine rebuild being completed in time and intends to be there - and I hope to be (subject to other commitments that weekend letting me go) - however the organisers have asked for any extra boats we can drum up.

About the event:

Participants cycle from Glencoe to Taynuilt, then Canoe east along the length of Loch Etive before running a half marathon over the hill back to Glencoe.

Why? Partly because the participants are a little crazy but mostly because they are raising money for Clic Sargent - the charity that supports Children with Cancer.

Safety boats:

With around 80 canoes in the water of varying abilities and speeds there is obviously a requirement for several safety boats. All the canoes start at the same time so all the safety boats travel the length of the Loch (spreading out along with the fleet) so you won't just be bobbing up and down in one place for the afternoon! Last year there were around 14 "rescue" boats of all sorts - if it floats and has an engine it seems to be considered acceptable!

Is my boat suitable / what experience do I need ?

If you can get your RIB or SIB on the water at the Taynuilt jetty then it probably meets the expectations! You should have a VHF radio (handheld is fine). If you are planning to launch at Taynuilt then (1) the road access is narrow, (2) the "slipway" is only suitable for smaller boats. It is possible to Launch and recover at the other east end of the loch but this does involve towing down a single track road. Larger boats with local knowledge may prefer to come by sea (taking account of the warnings Ian made last year about the Falls of Lora).

There are no formal requirements for crew competence, but obviously your main role is to pluck out any unlucky canoeist who ends up in the water - so some experience of recovering people from the water would be wise and you will probably find yourself in amongst a load of canoes at some point so you need to be comfortable maneuvering in this environment. Medical type expertise is not expected as the organiser will have one or more designated "medics" on a RIB which will float between vessels to where they are required.

What is expected of me?
You'll be expected to attend a short "briefing" on the day (I think it was 12ish last year but times will be confirmed). Your boat needs to be afloat by this time. You'll be assigned a call sign at this point. The organisers have been running this for something like 20 years and actually seem to have some quite complicated logistics well thought out - last year their communication prior to the event was a bit ropey but the stuff on the day seemed to be the result of several years of having done this.

The competitors will leave about half an hour later - and depending on weather and fitness etc could take 2.5-3hrs to reach the other end of the Loch. Obviously if you are not recovering there you'll still need to make it back to where you started. Its summer so daylight won't be a problem, and if the weather is really bad the canoeing will either be shortend to a local loop at Taynuilt or cancelled completely then most RIBs should have not problem - unless they are crossing the Falls of Lora.

Will the organiser pay my fuel?


NO, they are trying to raise money for charity; but last year they did provide a packed Lunch for helms/crew. And I believe there was a wee "do" afterwards (in Ballahulish?) for participants and supporters - but I'd headed home by then.

How to volunteer:

If you can help then please email Kirsty Mason: ytsrik_1 (AT) hotmail (DOT) com including details of your boat, your contact details (email address and mobile phone number) etc.
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Old 07 February 2011, 02:38   #2
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For anyone thinking of launching at Dunstafnage or the Lochnel slipway, Oban tides for June 4th are:

HW 0810
LW 1425

I have a provisional booking in the diary for that day, but if it isn't confirmed I'll take a RIB along
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Old 07 February 2011, 08:02   #3
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Well, the engine is now at an authorised dealer getting tuned, (60Hp strapped to the side of a wheelie bin was never going to work! ) so I'll be there, hopefully with rib!

To elaborate on Pol's info, people like the Oban Sea Cadets & other local boats motored round from wherever they keep the boat. The canoeing usually starts at lunchtime-ish, so clever choice of launch site could give some cruising as well. The two main "event" launch sites are at the head of the loch (Pebble beach at the end of a long winding single track road), or at Taynuilt, which is quite a shallow beach with easy road access off the A85 although at Taynuilt you have the potential problem of being stuck behind 200 bikes if you are driving up via Tyndrum & get the timing wrong....

Yep, there is a "do" in Ballachuilish town hall, which also doubles as the event prizegiving.(assume it's there this year?) Last year there was free food for helpers & sensibly priced bevearges to accompany it.

For more info:
http://www.70wildmiles.org/GlencoeHome.htm

I have a spare handheld should anyone want to borrow it for the day.
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Old 07 February 2011, 09:05   #4
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...or at Taynuilt, which is quite a shallow beach with easy road access off the A85 although at Taynuilt you have the potential problem of being stuck behind 200 bikes if you are driving up via Tyndrum & get the timing wrong....
I thought that last year - but actually by the time they get to Tyndrum they are quite spread out so will slow you a little but not enough to be a headache. They all arrive in time to recover, get changed, eat something, get a massage and launch their canoes - so there's no mad rush.
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Old 07 February 2011, 11:41   #5
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Any reasonable RIB can get through the Falls of Lora except in storm conditions, no matter what the tide is doing. We actually play in it with the canoeists on spring tides.
Not quite sure what the prohibition is about?

Its the IOM weekend so won't be around but the BIL and SIL will probably be in the event so look after them.......
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Old 07 February 2011, 11:45   #6
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For anyone thinking of launching at Dunstaffnage or the Lochnel slipway, Oban tides for June 4th are:
Do you have access to the Lochnell? It used to be free and easy to use for Loch Etive but since the new houses have been built there has been a locked pole in place a a grumpy B***td who comes out and gives you hassle.
The council can't decide who owns it so its been hard to use for a few years
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Old 07 February 2011, 12:51   #7
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Not quite sure what the prohibition is about?
Bruce, "prohibition"? The organisers suggested last year that they were looking for smaller boats. This was apparently to do with launching (which most people seem to do at the east of the loch (down a single track road and ropey "slip").

When I suggested last year that people could come from further afield by sea, it was pointed out (by people far more familiar with the local waters than me) that this would involve crossing the Falls - there's no prohibition and anyone can come that way - but obviously it would make sense that they familiarise themselves with the best time / route through if they aren't already. A couple of boats came this way last year including 9d280 in a Dory with a ropey Engine!
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Old 07 February 2011, 14:55   #8
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Do you have access to the Lochnell?
Ask at the Lochnell Arms for the key
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Old 07 February 2011, 17:32   #9
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Ask at the Lochnell Arms for the key
Last time I went there he tried to charge me 10 for the launch but I think this was the hotels previous owner.
Pol, prohibition is probably too strong. The falls are passable in any decently powered RIB without much hassle except in bad weather, just keep to the south side in the channel where the depth is at least 10-11m.
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Old 08 February 2011, 06:49   #10
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crossing the Falls - <snip> A couple of boats came this way last year including 9d280 in a Dory with a ropey Engine!
Ropey is a bit of an exaggeration.... it was "just" down on power due to the roller on the cam follower having fallen off (who decided an O- ring was a good way of holding it in place?! ).

Anyhoo, back to the falls. As Bruce says, stay on the south side. For reasons of not loosing canoeists, they tend to run the event around high or low tide, so you won't be running through there at the full flow of mid tide anyway. For those of you navigating electronically, if you keep to this route N56 27 19.9 W5 23 42.5 (Sea side), N56 27 20.8 W5 23 27.9 (Under bridge) and N56 27 22.1 W5 23 17.6 (Etive side) you shouldn't come to grief on the solid stuff. Usual warnings about safe navigation amnd use of someone else's waypoints apply!


Another thought for those of you with premix 2- strokes. Bring an Aux - then you can give it some exersise, still keep up with the canoeists & won't spend the trip home doing impressions of James Bond's DB5.
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