Stromeferry. Queensferry. The Ferry in Inverness (now known as Merkinch). What do they have in common?
Well they all used to have a boat to take people and goods across a body of water. I think the word ferry comes from the Norse “to carry” and I love seeing the word and finding out all about the old boats and routes that allowed the crossing of water from one landmass to another.
As we arrived at a parking spot at Lochindorb on the Dava Moor, we spotted a motor boat. Small and inflatable, it brought to mind a ferry as we watched the white rips of water in its wake. Was it the Lochindorb Ferry?
Talking excitedly, we had made our way north to Lochindorb with the intention of camping in the ruins of the castle of the same name, which sits on an island about 400m from the shore road. We planned on using an inflatable kayak to transport our gear across the loch. With me paddling and Dave swimming, we knew we’d still need probably two trips to get our tents, wood etc onto the dry land of the island. The sun shone as we packed the boat and got ready to cross the water.
Each of Dave’s strokes, helped by a large tail wind, propelled him across the water at speed. I had to paddle to stop my boat sailing away from Dave towards the island.
On reaching the island we found the motorboat from earlier and realised we would be sharing the island that night. We walked our stuff up from the rocks through the old, metre thick castle walls.
Already in situ were three tents and a gazebo. After some chat with our fellow islanders, we set up our own camp near the centre of the ruins, not far from the blackened fire pit.
One hour/beer later I had a dip in the loch.
Old rooms, windows, towers and fire places gave shape and life to the walls as we imagined what living would have been like here.
Steak and potatoes cooked in butter and a few beers were followed by drams around the fire as darkness fell.
That night the wind battered off my tent, the strongest wind and the heaviest rain I can ever remember when camping.
The next morning we packed up in a dry window and paddled/swam back across the loch, leaving the motorboat and its owners still sound asleep. We cooked breakfast rolls in the van and by the time we left, there was still no sign of the Lochindorb Ferry. After all the beers, maybe there wasn’t a Sunday service all.