Orca fright brothers want their kayaks back

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Terrified brothers who had a close encounter with killer whales on Loch Long are appealing for the safe return of the kayaks they had to abandon after a frantic paddle to get away.

The sight of two huge orca fins threw 10-year-old Ollie Campbell and his brother Lachlan, 14, into  survival mode and instead of paddling back across the loch to their parents on the far side, they headed for the nearest shore.

It happened just as a storm hit on Saturday afternoon. The boys pulled their blue sit-on Riber kayaks up onto the beach, just to the right of the old torpedo testing station pier.

Their dad Ali had seen the boys paddling at speed.

‘It turns out that half way across the loch, they had turned round to see a huge fin following them. Then they saw another fin. One was bent over, but still enormous. Based on recent sightings of orcas in the Clyde, we can now only assume that they were being followed by orcas!’ said their mum Fiona, who has four other children.

When the boys’ parents drove round from their lochside home at Arrochar to pick up the boys, the kayaks were still there but the barefoot brothers had disappeared.

Their dad managed to move the kayaks to park them up properly before keeping up the search for his sons.

‘Instead of walking six kilometres home barefoot they had decided to head the other way to a friend’s house so they could ring us,’ said Mrs Campbell.

However, when they went back to collect the kayaks, they had disappeared.

The kayaks could be seen from the Campbell’s home at Mansefield House across the loch and were last sighted at 3pm on Tuesday but the family had to wait to pick up a  car, big enough to carry them, before going to collect them. When Mrs Campbell was finally able to set out on Wednesday she discovered they had gone.

‘I’m completely gutted, we desperately want them back. The boys are devastated and feel guilty, but they made the right decisions at the time. Whoever took the kayaks knew they had not been abandoned because they were parked up. They would have known they belonged to children, they were cherished. It’s so mean.

‘No one will get into trouble over this. We just want them back. Whoever took them can either put them back where they found them, drop them at our drive or get a message to us. What started as an exciting adventure has turned into a very sad tale.

‘The boys genuinely think they saw orcas. At first we said it must have been porpoise but when they described the size of what they saw, we believe them. There have been sightings of orcas down Dunoon way, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they have come into the loch,’ she added.