Saturday, 18 May 2013


Sunny Bute
 We recently signed up for an SCA trip round Bute. We were all packed up, boats on the roof ready to leave at the crack of dawn the next morning when word came through that the trip was cancelled. The forecast was for wind, rain and more wind! That was a pity as the Forth was looking particularly stunning, sparkling in the sun, I was really looking forward to a trip like that.

Niall came round early on the Saturday morning and the 3 of us headed over to Wemyss Bay to catch the ferry across to Rothesay. We set off from Ardbeg point to cross the bay in lovely sheltered water, only to get a feel of what was to come as we came out of the bay. We paddled into the wind, before having a breather in Kerrycroy Bay.
Breather at a very uniform Kerrycroy
 Niall had decided before we set off that the distance we were travelling, we would be round the bottom point in a couple of hours - HA! he forgot we were in boats and not the car!  We cut across a very breezy Kilchatten Bay. Whilst we were having yet another breather, we noticed another paddler paddling hard. We hung around to see who it was. Ramsay was another SCA trip paddler who had decided still to have a paddle. He was about to turn back at this point ( he had already paddled across from Wemyss Bay) but joined us to carry on round the island.
Last photo til after the bumpy water!
 The sea was beginning to pick up even more by the time we were passing the lighthouse at Glencallum Bay. We were heading towards Stravanan Bay for lunch - a late one! However as we were passing Barr Point, I was obliterated by a massive wave - no exaggeration! Of course it hit me from the "wrong" side meaning I set up on the wrong side and having had a couple of attempts at a roll and possibly taking in enough water to warrant declaring low tide, my deck had come off and I was out. I knew Hubby dear was right beside me for a rescue, but I just couldn't keep the boat "on" me anymore. It was literally pulled off me. Thanks to Niall for supporting me as I bailed out an oceans worth of water! Later on, Hubby dear was trying to "help" me analyse what had happened. I was somewhat happy with the fact it was such an impressive wave that got me and not a dinky ripple. However, thinking of it, I realised that I had coped with the wave in my mind reasonably well ( ! ). I had a very long, very fast side surf and had I been paying attention to the wave and not the wall of rocks that I was zoomed towards at alarming speed, I would have realised I had survived the wave and fallen off the back of it. It still wasn't into a dinky ripple, the water was a bit mashed up there with clapotis. Oh well, I was needing a stretch of the legs and it was good rescue practise for Hubby dear! We eventually got our much needed lunch/tea/almost supper.
Don't believe this pic, the seas were heaving!!!
Arran in the background
 We then carried on up to Ettrick Bay where we camped for the night.
That night the wind still blew, the rain sill chucked it down however at about 6 in the morning all went quiet. The morning was a bit grey and misty, but thankfully no wind, no rain. Roddy McDowell from Kayak Bute came over to walk his dog, have a chat and offer us coffee when we passed his house on the other side.
Looking down the Kyles of Bute
Passing Loch Ruel
 By the time we were out of the bay, the mist lifted and it was like a different day. What a gentle, peaceful paddle we had up the Kyles of Bute, just a gentle breeze which gave Ramsay a chance to use his sail. We stopped for a sunny lunch on Burnt Islands.
Lunch on Burnt Islands
 Ramsay was going to get the ferry back, but decided just to paddle. We watched his sail get smaller until it was just a dot.
We decided against taking Roddy up on his kind offer. I think if we had stopped, we might still be sitting there! When we got back to the car, the elderly man from the house across the road came out to check we were OK. It seems he gets concerned about paddlers going out and not coming back. It's good to know folks still care. He also recommended a good ice cream shop without us even asking. I must have had that "I'm desperate for an ice cream" look about me.
Back round to Loch Striven

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Paddling - the solution to all sorts of problems!

Glen Coe, don't know what I've done to the photo!
I recently had one of those weekends I dread, lots of paperwork to do for our club, another group I'm with, end of year tax "stuff" and a bit of a disaster of a house, well I do still have No3 son at home!
My solution to all those problems was - make a piece, fill a flask and go paddling - problem sorted!
Hubby dear and I set off early on the Saturday morning and met up with Ray and Eck under the Ballachulish bridge.

Looking down Loch Linnhe

Dare I say it was a lovely spring day. The last time I had paddled in this stretch of water was when I was sitting my 4* sea assessment in completely different conditions! They had even cancelled the ferries as the conditions were so bad, a bit big and bumpy, but what a great days paddling we had, even though we were being assessed.
I headed down the Loch Linnhe, glad to be away from all the stuff still sitting at home. Ray was full of cheer - and the snuffles, possibly man -'flu! As we paddled and nattered, he would recall previous paddling trips, telling us about one of the paddlers who he hadn't seen for a while and declared "He might be deid!" Cheery! Then onto another story about someone who was quite old when Ray declared "He might be deid too!"  Further down the Loch it was mentioned that we'd be passing a cemetery soon when Ray suggested if his cold didn't improve, we could just leave him there (we've got a bit of a theme running here!), however Hubby dear preferred the option of just dumping him on one of the sporadic wild fires which were still burning, less hassle!

We landed on Eilean Balnagowan for a noisy lunch along with lots of geese.
Snowy Ben Nevis

Rain clouds didn't catch up!
It was great just on a day trip, but feeling so far away from my "stuff." Looking in one direction at the snow capped mountains on Mull and a very white Ben Nevis in the other direction.
We headed back up the loch with a nice breeze helping us along giving some good wee surf waves. It wasn't long before we were back at Ballachulish, thankfully with Ray still intact!
Heading home
By the way, I have since got on top of most of my paper work!