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The Healing Power of an Island Camp

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

OK...what a horrendously corny title for a blog post. But you'll have to bear with me, because I was feeling soooooo unbelievably ill in the lead up to this camp, and so much better afterwards that, on a personal level, it was something of a miracle (insert: a science-based miracle...SCIENCE-based, d'ya hear me?!)

In the lead up, I'd lost a stone in weight, was permanently tired and run-down, and drove my poor friends mad with my "will I/won't I?" during the planning stages. And even on the day of packing, I kept wailing "I can't do it", to the point where all were advising me to just stay home, get to the doctors in the subsequent days, and leave the goddamn camp in peace!

But a well developed sense of camping FOMO saw Graeme and I pack minimally and deposit ourselves on Luss pier where our friend Allan was due to pick us up by motor boat and power us over to one of the smaller islands in Loch Lomond.

Waiting on Luss Pier

Looking 'gruntled on Luss....no idea of the fun to come!

How many islands surface in Loch Lomond isn't as cut and dried as one might think: according to the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park website there are over 30. The independent conservation and heritage charity, the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, states rather more usefully that it depends on the water levels, but that there are 22 islands with names plus at least 27 islets. The latter resource also informs that "most, but not all, have the ‘inch’ prefix, from Gaelic innis – island."

Travelling over with Allan was one of the best bits of the whole camp. In order to manage all the kit we needed to inflate my kayak and have it towed behind his power boat. Xan and I were in the main boat with camera literally howling with laughter at the sight of my dog in his life jacket being towed with Graeme in the kayak.

We arrived early evening and had enough time to pitch our tent before the subsequent arrival of the midgies which we fought with liberal amounts of mosiguard* and nets. My formerly greatest midge-related achievement of drinking beer through a midgie net was surpassed by that of managing to keep one on my 2-year-old!

* If my friends have to hear "suitable for babies and pregnant women" one more time, I think they'll disown me...

Some of our friends were already pitched when we arrived that evening, but I was really stoked to have Katie and her family turn up for their second camp with the group later on that night. She brought Elliot aged 11 and Scarlett aged 2 with her, and my tot Xani was absolutely made up to see his little playmate again.

The first evening saw us barbecuing food and playing guitar; as soon as the dusk descended and the whole island was wrapped up in an utterly beautiful evening, I knew despite feeling like shit earlier it had been the right thing to get out there.

The next day was just fab for the kids: whoever had kayaks to bring brought them and shared them out and as a result even those of us without our own boats had a chance to pop our kids on the water. The kids paddled, the parents did stupid "Baywatch" recreations and generally a wonderful time was had by all. So much so, that within a couple of weeks we found ourselves back there for Loch Lomond Camp, part ii....blogpost to come ;-) )

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