A MAN who risked his own safety to rescue one of four people who got into difficulty in Loch Lomond has spoken out following the worrying experience.

We previously reported that 999 crews raced to the scene at Milarrochay Bay yesterday after three women and one man got into trouble whilst paddleboarding.

They had been "washed" far out into the water by the wind. 

Paul Richardson, a kayak and paddleboard instructor who runs his business from Milarrochay Bay, had been voluntarily picking up rubbish left by wild campers when he decided to head back to his base for a bite to eat.

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Upon entering the car park in his van, which had a kayak on top, he witnessed “a bit of commotion going on”.

He said: “A lot of people were standing watching out into the water, which was unusual. I then came out of the van and was immediately approached by a male asking me to go out and rescue two women who were in trouble.

“I went to the van to get my binoculars because I couldn’t see them. But they were too far out for me to put my life at risk.”

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Paul, who runs Calamity Kayaking, phoned 999. He was told they had already been informed. He went on to call the National Park to request assistance from the patrol boat.

“They informed me the patrol boat was on its way,” Paul, from Paisley, said. “I was asked to give them the exact location.

“As that was happening, a male who was out paddleboarding went out to try and rescue the two women and he got blown off his board.

“A woman approached me and asked me to go in and get her man.

“I informed her the boat is on its way and is more equipped to go out and get them.”

But, as the boat made its way to rescue the man, Paul explained that a fourth paddleboarder entered the water.

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He said: “By this stage, the patrol boat had picked up the guy and went to get the two females. That’s when I made the decision to get the kayak off the van and get myself in the water to get the third woman.

“She was much closer than the other two.

“There were gusts of wind, and the kayak was getting blown all over the place. The woman was frantically trying to get on her paddleboard, but it kept getting flipped over.

“She was in the water when I got to her, you could see shock and panic in her face. I put my paddle inside the kayak, leaned over, grabbed her by the bouncy aid and pulled her onto her paddle board.

“I then told her to hang onto my kayak whilst I phoned for assistance. I was informed that the patrol boat had left the scene and was heading to Luss with the three others.

“A call was sent out for anybody that was on a leisurely boat ride to come and assist, and 10 minutes later a kind man and his wife turned up in a cruiser. I told him the lady needed help, and we got her on the cruiser along with her paddleboard.”

Paul made his own way back to shore.

He is now urging those visiting Loch Lomond to be aware of the dangers and to always wear life-saving equipment.

“All the paddleboarders yesterday had buoyancy aids on which was good as they ended up in the water and couldn’t get back on their boards,” Paul said.

“They don’t only keep you afloat, they hold in some heat as well. The water was ice cold yesterday.

“The woman I saved couldn’t thank me enough and booked in for a paddleboard lesson. People need to take water sports seriously; summer hasn’t even started and the carry-on has started already.

“There was a wee bit of sun and emergency services were all over the place.

“The National Park is doing more than its fair share; they can’t do any more. They’ve put signs up, and the staff are really good, it’s down to people visiting the park.”