Woke early enough to see a newly-risen sun set about dispensing morning mist from the Loch and the surrounding hills before setting off for the water’s edge, laden with fishing tackle and high expectations.
Come 9:00am, Leonie cycled off into the village where Joules-Lady opened her shop to provide the obligatory fishing permit, monitored – we were told – from a Warden’s boat passing by on the Loch, counting the numbers of anglers espied and tallying this against the number of licenses sold – only going ashore to check if the numbers didn’t match.
Licence or not, we fished unsuccessfully first from a shallow-watered point then moved back close to the van alongside – surprisingly – a camped-out body slumbering in nothing more than a sleeping bag on a waterside rock.
The sun shone, the mist disappeared and a truly warm and wonderful morning evolved, sadly remaining fishless until about 11:30 when we repaired to the van to pack up in preparation for our 12-noon pitch departure.
However, after moving the van beyond the campsite barrier and thus, officially, offsite, we carried on fishing until small boys took it upon themselves to start stoning the waters whence, having had no joy, we loaded up the van and set off again for another Canadian-style journey through amazing scenery.
We passed through Tarbet again, then across to Loch Long, stopping at Inverary for a spot of late lunch at a thrummingly busy but still capably hospitable George Hotel for delicious smoked hake (big chunky meaty boneless fillets) atop mashed potato with a light cheese sauce and spinach – spot-on!
A subsequent quick walk around the tourist-thronged main street (a far cry from our previous visit to the deserted town when we fished Loch Awe) and then onwards through more woodland and mountain scenery with a pit-stop at Loch Fyne Smokery where we acquired the much-lauded Stornoway black pudding and a jar of smoked mussels before heading onwards along a strangely flat valley floor to Kilmartin, from where we felt our way around vaguely-remembered lanes, eventually arriving at the private estate of Ederline – our predetermined and overnight stop – to find The Big House all locked up and no sign of our hosts.
We parked the van and availed of a brief sunset cast into the Loch, until the bailiff Mike arrived on his quad bike – eventually engineering a meeting with our elusive host Angus with whom we then enjoyed a brief spot of van-based hospitality; were introduced to Nettle, the pet Roe deer and a couple of sheepdogs and negotiated for site fee, fishing rights and boat-hire over a glass of wine before Angus retired to his palatial lakeside home and we enjoyed cheese and accompaniments for supper, excited to have arrived and at the prospect of a full day’s pike fishing on our own private Loch for the day.