Monday, 7 May 2012

What a wet, weary, but wonderful weekend.

After a lovely meal out with Hubby dear (Cold pasta salad eaten out of a plastic tub on the dual carraigeway in a traffic jam) last Friday evening we arrived up at Stanley for a bit of park and play. Paul was going to meet us up there.  The Tay was about as low as the last time we were up there, but enough to give us a wee play on the Linn before Paul arrived. This is the first time he has been back out on the rivers for ages, but obviously feeling confident there would be no swimming as he's out in shorts.
Paul tailying
Me at the weir
Hubby dear showing Paul how it's done!
 After a bit we made our way down to the weir without stopping for long at the wall, not much going on here. The weir had a couple of nice waves to play on, which even I managed to get on. Paul hasn't lost his surfing technique, or his rolling technique, just as well, remember the shorts!
It was getting fairly dark by now, so we started back to the car. I decided to have a practise roll. As soon as I went over, I knew disaster had struck. My drysuit zip had split and I was now filling up with freezing cold water. It's amazing how quickly cold water can run right down below! Every time I took a paddle stroke, my right arm would slosh about causing another stream of cold water to pour down into my increasingly damp breeks! Thankfully we were close to the car.

We were a bit late off the water
On Saturday morning, we had arranged to meet Kevin and head up to Fifeness with the sea kayaks. We had already done a shuttle and after a slightly large launch we made our way up towards St Andrews with some fairly large waves.

Me, without the dry suit
Following Kevin out
Oops! Kevin's gone!
Kevin's such a good paddler, doesn't even need a boat!
There were times I felt as though I was solo paddling as I'd be sitting in the trough of the wave all on my own, making the most of the crest to have a wee look around. After about 10k we stopped for lunch at Buddo Ness.

Buddo Ness lunch spot

Hubby dear and Kevin

Sporting a new style of back hatch cover - mini me
 After this we headed out across St Andrews bay for about 16k, cutting the corner as we went, before arriving at the Tentsmuir sand banks. There were big breakers coming in over the banks, but we managed to cut in up the channel accompanied by numerous large Gray seals. There were even more sitting on the sandbank having a whale seal of a time singing and generally having good fun in the surf.

Cutting through the channel
Turning into the Tay
 By now my back, which has been well jiggered for a couple of years, was now seizing up so I was glad to be turning into the Tay, or so I thought. We were a bit later getting to this point than we had planned and the Tay can have quite a strong flow, about 4kn, against us. It was like paddling on an exercise bike, hard work and going no where. I'd be lying if I said this section was good fun - it wasn't! Once we arrived back at the car in Tayport, I managed to creak and groan my way out of the kayak and put up absolutely no objections to Hubby dear and Kevin insisting on carrying my boat up the ramp, cheers guys, it really was much appreciated.
I had been running on empty for the last stretch and managed to massacre umpteen jellybabies on our way home. After a mad dash, quick shower, we were out with friends for an Italian meal. I was so hungry, I could have eaten a scabby horse, but after perusing the menu, that particular delicacy wasn't featured, so settled for yummy mussels instead.

Raring to go again at Tayport
Next morning, with my back easing off, we met up with Kevin again, dropped a car off at Newburgh, then made our way back to Tayport, where we got out the previous day. This was done like this as Kevin has been determined to paddle round the Fife coast, this was also going to cover a new bit for us as well. The spring tide was working with us today and it didn't take long to reach the Tay road bridge.
Clang, clonk, ping.
Perfect conditions and a flow
There is construction work going on at the base of the bridge with a pile driver hammering massive rods into the water. It sounded a bit like a defunk church bell when it went clang, then the sound bounced off the houses at Newburgh with a clonk, the vibrations then hit the backs of our boats with a ping. It was quite a good paddling rhythm - clang, clonk, ping. With the tide flowing fast, we almost flew along and after about 16k reached a sunny spot for lunch. As it was still reasonably early and the tide still flowing at its fastest, we decided to make the most of it and carry on to a castle next to the river that Kevin had spotted on the map.
Think the rain is on it's way
Kev's des. res.
 Once we had arrived, the weather had changed from lovely, warm sunshine to being cold and wet. The castle was across some rather muddy banking and as we could actually see our destination, we decided to have some energy bar and nuts sitting in our kayaks, then keep going on to Newburgh.
Although we didn't paddle that much less than the previous day, with the tides, we did it in a fraction of the time (and effort).