Sunday, 28 July 2013

An alternative to the Beaufort scale

Our Lady of Knoydart
When we looked out our tent in the morning, our lovely sunset had once again changed into a grey, wet, windy morning!
Heading round to Inverie
We decided to have a wee daunder over to the islands in Sandaig bay. There was no point going any further, it was going to be even windier past the islands. It was here we sat and watched Golden eagles flying high over the hills. We turned and followed the coastline round into Inverie Bay. Surprisingly, the wind was slightly behind us here blowing us straight into the shelter of the jetty in Inverie, a perfect spot for lunch and a stretch of the legs which just so happened to take us via The Old Forge pub! I should possibly have had a pint of hot chocolate, but opted for a nice refreshing cider instead. Unfortunately the ladies loos were out of action, it's amazing how a wee treat like a real loo and hot water is greatly appreciated after camping wild! At least the toilets on the pier were working, my consolation here was that there were no mirrors!
Inverie bay was now looking exceedingly grey(er)! It was also getting chillier, a good fast paddle over the bay soon heated us up. After a breather at Creag an Eilein, we set off in the direction of Wester Stoul and the ruined village.
Weather's not too bad, the hoods down!

It was at this point I decided, having watched Hubby dear and his hat, how to tell how windy it really is! This hat has travelled far and wide and even stays on when under water!
When aforementioned hat is sitting loosely on, it's a lovely day.
When it's pulled on a bit further, it's getting breezy.
When it's jammed on, it's getting seriously breezy.
When the chin strap goes on, it's now officially blowing a hooley! It's time to think of using your paddle leash! or abandoning the trip!!
And when the hat is jammed on, plus chin strap and the hood is up - well, it's summer on Loch Nevis!
Even in this weather we managed to spot a porpoise quite far up the loch. We did eventually get over to Wester Stoul where we decided against camping, a bit too many sheep and barbed wire fences. After a hot drink and more guzzles we carried on along the loch in relatively sheltered water - this was more like it!
As we approached Sgeir a Ghaill, we were accompanied by an otter busy fishing. This was the last of our pleasant sheltered waters. As we rounded this corner, the hat was pulled down, the chin strap went on and the hood was pulled up! We paddled between points, grabbing breathers often. It was good to see the start of the houses of Mallaig. We did think about landing at Mallaig for an ice cream (it's never too cold for ice cream!). We also thought about pulling out here and busing it back to the car, however, we sat for a while outside the harbour getting tossed about while we waited for a fishing boat to pass and decided to carry on to Morar. Having come in through some large surf waves, it was good to be back on dry land and crash out in the tent after a well earned tea.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Plans! They're just made to be altered!

Heading out from Arisaig
After my trip out on the Forth, it was a dash back home to get the kit dried, Hubby dear's kit dried and ready for the next day.
Our original plan was to head up to Barra on the Friday evening, but the 4* training meant a Monday start. I was due at a first aid course the next Saturday. All this meant our holiday was getting shorter.
Plan B, Monday morning we'd head up to Arisaig, out to Eigg, across to Muck, then onto Ardnamurchan, when the wind direction was due to change and we'd be "blown" back up to Arisaig! Perfect!
Nearing Eigg
Across to Rum
Monday arrived with perfect conditions. After a rather delicious lunch in the Arisaig hotel we left to paddle over to Eigg. After being escorted off the skerries by the seals we had a lovely paddle over to Eigg having a welcome breather half way across to watch porpoises. It was the back of 6 by the time we reached the island. After another breather, OK, chocolate! we rounded the top of the island with wonderful views over to Skye and Rum, then onto the "Singing Sands" to camp for the night. It was a beautiful view out of the bay when we closed the tent for the night.

Oor wee hoose!
Next morning when we stuck our heads out of the tent someone had stolen Rum! Our beautiful view was now obliterated with mist and choppy water! Well that was the shorty cag getting packed away! The wind which was due later in the week had arrived earlier.We were heading across the Bay of Laig in a strong head wind  with Hubby dear promising that there would be shelter round the corner. Two reasons I didn't believe this. 1, I could see the weather and I can read maps. 2, we've been married over 25 years, I know when he's blethering!
Our campsite!
Can't see wind!
 At this rate I didn't fancy the crossing over to Muck. Plan C. We decided to make a run for the ferry terminal. Coming along the bottom of the island as we were passing the caves we could see the ferry coming over from Muck. We had a good, fast paddle round the corner (still no shelter!) in front of Chathastail trying to beat the ferry. It won! A good handbrake turn and we were sitting next to the ferry where the ferryman said just to get the kayaks loaded. I never thought we'd move them, they were still fully loaded but the thought of the wind we'd just been in must have given me the strength to help lug the boats on board.

After getting our tickets, we found ourselves "waterproof" seats as we were still in our damp kit. The ferry headed back over to Muck (so I guess we did still get there!), before turning and making it's way up to Mallaig.
Loch Nevis
We unloaded the boats, waited until the ferry has gone, then launched ourselves from the slip before the Skye ferry was due in. We had decided on paddling up to Loch Nevis, thinking that we would get shelter from the wind - we did to a certain extent. We were now getting a bit buffeted from the downdrafts from the mountains!
Who needs a dishwasher when you have a Husband!
A very Scottish stone
We found ourselves a pebble beach to camp on. The one consolation with the wind - no midges! The weather cleared up nicely in the evening and it was rather nice sitting having a plastic tumbler of wine with our tea, watching the seals and an otter fishing in "our bay"!
Playful otter
Beautiful sunset

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Will we?, won't we?, will we?, won't we?, yes, we will!

Our sunny start under the bridge

The SCA trip to the Forth had been due to go earlier on in the year, but like so many of our earlier trips, had to be postponed due to our rotten weather. Mike had rearranged it for June, hopefully with some nicer weather.

I thought I was only going to manage the Saturday, so you can imagine I was a bit disappointed when word came through that the Saturday paddle was cancelled again because of yet more blustery conditions. After a bit of rearranging, I was able to still go on the Sunday which turned out to be a glorious day.
Puffin spotting
Afore mentioned Puffins
Hubby dear was away on his 4* open canoe training, so Niall had come round to collect me. We set off from South Queensferry, heading up under the rail bridge before rounding Inchgarvie and heading down to Inchcolm for a lovely sunny lunch. After a while exploring the island and the abbey we cut across the river via Inchmickery, close to Crammond Island, the back up to South Queensferry.
A lovely, sunny paddle and a chance to have a great natter with Julie and Lara!
Abbey view
Setting off after lunch
Passing Inchmickery

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Bass rock 9/6/13

A very small looking Bass rock
We were looking forward to another jaunt out to the Bass rock with FSKC. Last time we were there was back in 2009 when we still had our old blue Carolinas. Unfortunately this trip was cancelled as the organiser couldn't manage that day. I suggested to Hubby dear that we could still run the trip if the rest of the club were happy enough with that. I duly emailed all concerned and was pleasantly surprised at how many were wanting to go, especially as we were new to the club and didn't really know that many members yet.
Passing Tantallon
12 of us met on the shore in North Berwick on a lovely sunny day and set off along the coast towards Tantallon Castle. It has been almost a year since our trip out to St Kilda where we met Mike and his lack of hat. This was the first time we had paddled together since so there was a lot of catching up to do.
On the way round we stopped off in the hidden harbour at Seacliff, a tiny little harbour which was a tight squeeze with 12 kayaks manoeuvring carefully so we could all get in.
Rounding the rock

After this we cut across to the Bass Rock. Everything was going well until one of the guys decided to take a photo - underwater! Unfortunately it wasn't a waterproof camera and there is now some cool dude of a flounder sporting a pair of sunglasses which was lost during his swim! Rounding the rock was a bit bumpy and before long same guy had swim number 2, just glad it wasn't me!
What was surprising was the amount of Gannets flying and still coming away unpooped on!

Mike with his new hat!
Friendly seal
Me 'n' He
We then made our way over to the lovely, sandy  Canty Bay for lunch before heading back towards North Berwick where some of the group headed back to the cars. The rest of us carried on down to Craigleith  where we saw lots of my favourite Puffins, then on to Lamb with lots more Puffins before battling back into the now increasing breeze to North Berwick, a hot chocolate and a large slice of well deserved cake at the Sea Bird centre.

Craigleith's Puffins