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Bristol Balloon Fiesta and The Red Arrows

The Red Arrows On Saturday I headed off to Bristol for the day to attend the annual balloon fiesta in Bristol. Unfortunately I missed the early morning mass launch as there was not an early enough train. I arrived at Ashton Court where I looked around the site. The Armed Forces were obviously on a bit of a recruitment drive with numerous recruitment vans attending from all three services. In the afternoon I went back across the Clifton Suspension bridge where I met my sister and Tim. Over some food and a  beer we watched the spectacular red arrows before waiting patiently for the evening mass releas of the balloons which began 45 minutes late. Definately worth the wait – the ballons are a great spectacle.

In Search of the Source of the River Thames

Thames PathToday (Sunday) I took the train to Kemble to go in search of the source of the mighty river Thames. From the station I walked into the village and soon picked up the Thames Path – a nationally recognised path that follows the entire length of the river. After traversing through numerous fields (including a cow field) I finally came to the stone that marks the source. The source marker stone is most disappointing – not really fit for purpose as you can’t easily read the inscription. I headed back to the station where I ate some Sunday lunch at the pub, before heading back into Swindon. Just in time as the hoards from the Womad festival were beginning to congregate at Kemble station.

Inverness Photographs

Canoe Trip Photographs

Canoeing Day 4: Loch Ness to Inverness

Towards InvernessWe set off towards the north-eastern end of Loch Ness on the final day of our canoe trip hoping for a glimpse of the elusive Nessie. Passing out across the front of the village of Dores we headed out of the Loch ness and past Aldourie castle where we spotted a Red Squirrel – hte first I had seen in th wild. The rest of the trip took us along the caledonian canal, first passing a beautiful wier before reaching Dochgarroch Locks where we rested for a few hours.The final paddle took us to the swing bridge at Tomnahurich where the hire company picked us up and then dropped us off at our accommodation in Inverness.  Our Canoe trip was definately the highlight of our Scotland trip – definately recommended if you are fit and don’t mind a bit of a challange!

Canoeing Day 3: In Search of the Loch Ness Monster

Loch NessAwaking at 4am we had the wonderful of experience of witnessing the mirror state that contrasts with its normal appearance. We set off into good conditions anddidn’t spot another craft until about 9:30am. We passsed the old hydro electric power station and Foyers, all the time taking in the magnificent scenery. The water became more and more confused as the wid picked up and the tourist boats began to ply their endless trade in search of the Loch Ness Monster. We continued for a few more hours before finding a sutiable camp and called it a day. Distance paddled: 27.5 Kilometres in 5 hours.

Canoeing Day 2: Loch Lochy to Loch Ness

Loch NessWe set off from the Northern bank of Loch Lochy at about 6:30 in the morning into much more favourable conditions. The last stretch of Loch Lochy was a truly beautiful experience before we pssed into Loch Ceann and made the portage around Laggan Locks. Passing along another man made section of the canal we passed under the swing bridge at Laggan and into the beautiful Loch Oich. After this truly wonderful section we passed into another sheltered section with two more protages around the Locks at Cullochy and Kytra. A further hours paddling brought us down in to Fort Augustus where we portaged around the flight of Lochs for our first glimpse of Loch Ness. After a short break for some grub we set off on to Loch Ness. We opted for the isolated southern bank away from the busy road. Lisa spotted a tiny landing sutiable for camping which is where we made our camp for the night. Distance paddled: 25 Kilometres in 5 hours.

Canoe Trip Day 1: Neptune’s Staircase to Loch Lochy

Lisa TolhurstLisa and I set off on our Canoe Trip at about 10 O’Clock. We hired the Canoe from Boots n Paddles who dropped off the boat at the top of Neptun’s Staircase. After quickly packing the boat we set off towards Loch Lochy along a sheltered stretch of the Caledonian canal. At the end of the stretch of canal we made our first portage around the locks at Gearlochy. We continued on into Loch Lochy where we met some more challanging weather. After a couple of hours of hugging the northern bank of the Loch we came to our first campsite where we set up camp. We dried our clothes on the open fire and enjoyed a hard earned meal. In total we managed 20 Kilometres which was reasonable considering the conditions. A truly wonderful day.

Fort William Photographs

Edinburgh Photographs

Jonathan Tolhurst

About Jonathan Tolhurst

Based in London, my interests include photography, kayaking, paddle boarding, electric unicycling, teepees, robotics, programming, databases, informatics and pharmacy.

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Jonathan Tolhurst