Speyside Life: Summer adventures in the Cairngorms

In life before children our summer holidays went spent sailing on the west coast. We’ve been getting our sailing fix closer to home more recently, on Loch Morlich. It may not be the largest loch, but with its southern shore flanked by the Cairngorm’s northern corries, the loch sure makes up for its limited area with its dramatic setting.

I never thought I‘d be in the market for a Wayfarer sailing dinghy, but a couple of years ago, when looking for something big enough to take the family, yet small enough for a cheeky mid week single handed sail, by powers of deduction we settled on looking for a Wayfarer. The boat we eventually found had the added bonus of being ‘cruising spec’, no luxury yacht this though, the ‘cruising spec’ relates to some additional watertight lockers, two bilge pumps (which intrigue fellow sailors), a couple of anchors, one so big I fear it may damage the boat and a boom tent.

Now if you have got a boom tent you’ve got to use it, even if Loch Morlich is barely a mile long. With the family and the dog away, I took my chance, and after a pleasant evening sail, loaded the boat with the tent and camping gear and set off on a mini micro cruise to the southern shores of the loch. I anchored in water shallow enough to wade ashore, unusual practice, but it meant I could go ashore to cook dinner, and thus reduce the risk of setting fire to the boat! Dinner didn’t go to plan though, as I managed to break the camping stove whilst connecting it to the gas, so chilli turned into oatcakes, cold potato scones, and an avocado. As someone commented to me later, its not a proper camping trip if something doesn’t go wrong. Back aboard I managed to set up the tent whilst ‘at sea’ without dropping anything over board, and settled down with a dram of our Angels' Nectar Cairngorms 2nd Edition, a book and a view of the northern corries. After an interesting nights sleep on the floor I awoke early, and with not a breath of wind, rowed ashore, then home for breakfast and a day at my desk.

If there is anything the last 18 months has taught us it’s the pleasure to be gained from exploring the minutia on one’s doorstep. In the Cairngorms, we are very lucky to have one magnificent doorstep.