The club has been in existence for over 125 years, during which time we have accumulated an extensive photo-archive. Here is a short selection, compiled with the help of Roger Hancock and Liz Mowat.
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In 1873 a group of enthusiasts for the newly popular sailing canoes formed the Clyde Canoe Club, and built a club house on the shore of the Gare Loch at Rosneath (upper photo). Activity centered on adventurous cruising (any cruising was adventurous in such tiny craft !). Visits to neighbouring lochs were favourite weekend jaunts and the lower photo shows a member from this period resting on a beach on Inch Cailleach during a visit to Loch Lomond.
The Lomond Round, otherwise known as the “three lochs cruise” was a popular longer trip, following the route shown on the left. Starting from Rosneath, the voyager rounded the point into Loch Long and followed it (upper photo) to its head at Arrocher. Here, a local carter (lower photo) was engaged to haul the vessel to Tarbert on Loch Lomond. The homeward route zig-zagged through the islands of Loch Lomond as far as Balloch, followed the river Leven to its confluence with the Clyde and finished with a brisk passage down the Clyde back to Rosneath.
The move to Loch Lomond took place in 1898, following a short period when the club fell into abeyance. Following an influx of 11 new members, the reinvigorated club built an elegant club-house near the steamer pier at Balloch and recommenced activities (upper photo). Loch cruising and camping trips were still the most popular pastimes, but occasional races were also held (lower photo).
During the early years of the 20th century the club introduced more formal design regulations for canoes (including compulsory buoyancy in 1909 !!). Members continued to make adventurous canoe cruises (upper photo), but increasing age made some think of more stable vessels, and in 1925 the first “canoe yawl” was introduced. One such vessel, Minna, is shown in our lower photo. Although relatively small (25ft overall) she had two berths and, by virtue of her shape and light construction, was fast by the standards of the day.
By the 1950’s the club had moved to its present base at Blair near Cashel on the eastern shore of the Loch and racing had become its main activity. The new lightweight dinghies becoming available as a result of wartime advances in sail-cloth and wood technology provided exciting sailing. Our last two pictures show Jim and Liz Mowat demonstrating the seakeeping qualities of the YW dayboat (upper photo) and Dr Alex Rennie and crew achieving ramming speed in their jollyboat (lower photo).
If you are interested in the history of Scottish water exploration, you may be interested in Roger Hancock’s book:
Over the sea to Skye: Early travels by canoe to the Scottish islands and West Coast, 1874 -1886
Edited by Jan Poskitt, published by Solway Dory, Grange-over-Sands, 2002.
Available from Roger Hancock, Loch Lomond Sailing Club Archivist, for £8 + £3 p & p.
Contact Roger Hancock on 01360-860312; or at firstname.lastname@example.org; or at 6 Menzies Crescent, Fintry, Glasgow, G63 0YL.