Couldn't have been more glad that the outings were in this order - because this one was lovely from start to finish, with additional hilarious aspects.
We set off on time, in a single coach; checking in etc. was calm, with the main organiser's husband in charge; and we had a lovely, friendly, funny Scottish driver in charge for the whole trip up to the Loch. He gave us a commentary on interesting things to be seen to our left and right, and pointed us at some Highland cattle; he gave us historic background on the towns we passed through, and made everyone laugh at some point; and then he announced he was going to spend the evening having dinner with his wife. Aww.
We got to the loch and were divided into two groups - the first noticeably larger than the second, but it seemed to work. I was on the second group, and we did worry that the sun might have gone down before we got onto the boat. But then we got to eat first; and after two quite intense classes with Jared Flood and Nancy Bush, I was pretty hungry! Nice, simple, tasty, barbecue meal - cooked in the pavilion on the top level of this photo.
with good home-made coleslaw which is just about my only requirement with a burger and chicken and green salad - and then shortly afterwards it was our turn on the boat, the Lady of the Lake.
With her very amusing and informative guide. He was great.
One of the snippets of information he provided was that we were putting along largely powered by second-hand chip fat. There were surprisingly few deep-fried Mars Bar jokes.
Loch Katrine (pronounced without the final "e", like CATT-rin rather than Ka-TREEN) turns out to be the main water supply for Glasgow; it's always been a lake, but was turned into a reservoir in the 20th century.
Walter Scott was very familiar with the area and wrote the poem The Lady of the Lake around Loch Katrine; the paths he walked are now underwater.
Until recently, there were many sheep grazing on the banks, but after it was discovered they carry crypto they had to be removed because of the threat to the water supply. I gather some of them make their way back because sheep have homing instincts...
It really was a lovely boat trip.
The flags were particularly pretty as we came back into dock.
I don't quite know how to describe what happened after that... except for one word.
I grew up with them, in the north east of England; and when we set off they were starting to group; on the lake, they weren't all that much in evidence... But when we got back into the restaurant/bar, they were certainly happily flocking around in hordes. Generally the whole Swipe gesture was used to attempt to get rid of them, with no success whatsoever...
We were called down to the coaches, and as ever people got in gradually; the poor driver was trying to keep as many flying menaces out of the coach as possible but was having to open the door every minute or so to let more people in, with accompanying clouds of ickletinybeasties... I suspect the various threads on Ravelry worrying our across-the-pond cousins didn't help either...
Apparently, what you do when confronted with midges, as a knitter, is to to get into your seat and then develop your very own personal ethnic clapping dance. The Katrine Knit Tangle, maybe? It involves putting on one's seatbelt, and then a gyration including the destruction of any small flying insect in the immediate vicinity...
I was sitting next to someone who was suffering badly from coach-sickness throughout the return journey, (and who womanfully controlled it) - which was the only thing which stopped me weeping with sheer amusement at the Sound of So Many Hands Clapping to So Little Effect.
The noise made by it sounded like someone doing strenuous Creative Play with a class of 50 or so children with auditory difficulties. Later on, Nic and I re-enacted this for people on the Saturday night. (I haven't listened to her podcast yet - I wasn't aware of it before the weekend- ; I'm hoping she'll do the description better...)
Just for a change, nobody could possibly blame the Management for the beasties; we were absolutely and totally warned.
We had enough time for everything, it was relaxed; it was a really lovely evening.
And just for the record; as someone prone to slightly extreme histamine reactions to bites, and someone who gets bitten really badly; I'd been taking the vitamin B1 tablets for a good month before the event, and had sprayed myself all over with Jungle Formula before setting out, and had antihistamine tablets with me. I got away more or less unscathed. I had a couple of annoying bites on my scalp for a week or so, but that was about it. B1; highly recommended!