Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Some matters concerning frost, condensation, mist, "evaporation", disappearing water and the golden light of dawn on Loch Shiel.

The skies cleared about 1a.m. and turned into a bitterly cold night on the shores of Loch Shiel. We had planned to rise at 6am and right on cue a timber lorry rumbled down the forestry road on the far side of the loch. It was the first sound of human activity we had heard since leaving Glenfinnan the previous day.

The sun had not yet risen and the frost lay thick on the ground round our camp site.

We rubbed our hands to keep them warm while our water boiled then after breakfast...

...we loaded the boats. At least, being a fresh water loch, we had not had to carry them far due to the lack of tide! However, the "tide marks" on the sand showed that the level of the loch had dropped 15cm overnight. This might not sound much but Loch Shiel has a surface area of 19.3km2! That is a huge volume of water that had disappeared overnight. Since it clearly had not evaporated it must have gone somewhere else and that somewhere is where we were going....!

We launched just as the first rays of sun hit the mountain slopes high above. You will note that I had brought my Aries 155. It swallowed gear and food for 3 nights and 4 days in winter with no bother though it was right down to the seam.

We were still in deep shade when we launched but by the time our cold fingers fumbled with the spray decks...

...the sun had risen above the mountains.

We turned our backs to the sun and aimed our bows... the SW...

...down the long defile of Loch Sheil. A layer of mist on the water began to rise leaving the...

...air crystal clear in the golden light of dawn. Ian and I snapped away with our DSLR cameras but they were so cold and the air was so humid that the lenses misted up with condensation.

The light was so wonderful that I really did not want to miss any shots. So I landed and spent some time with lens tissues and holding the lens to the sun to warm it.

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