Sunday, 23 November 2014


Low tide
Half way there!
Back at the beginning of September, a group from FSKC met up at Ratagan youth hostel. 

It was great to meet some new faces and also to get out with folks I've paddled before with. A first time back in a youth hostel since I was a youth (quite some time ago now!), Hubby dear's first time altogether. 
Coral beach lunch spot

On Saturday we had a lovely paddle, putting in at Plockton, and then coming under the Skye bridge before a long paddle back to Dornie via Eilean Donan. We stopped on our way to pick a large bag of the biggest mussels I've seen, which meant we then had to stop off and buy wine to cook them in, which then meant we had to drink what  wine we didn't use for cooking. They were the best, biggest, juiciest mussels I've ever had, delicious!
Our afternoon paddle
Tea and cake!

Heading for a pot of gold
Eilean Donan castle
Sunday saw various groups go their merry ways. David and Lorna went to clamber up some Forking (?) ridge, Fran and Jonathon had a leisurely (!!!) pedal up the hill behind the hostel, over the ferry at Glenelg before cycling via the Skye bridge back to the hostel
. More went down to Sandaig, either walking or paddling.
Hubby dear thinks he can stop the flow!
Hubby dear, David M, Jeff and I went for a play down at Kylerhea.

 We started off ferrygliding back and forth with quite a blustery wind, then down round the corner for elevenses where we saw evidence of a very recent otter visit. Back on the water, we spotted the tail end of the otter just as it dived down. By the time we crossed back over to the other side, it was lunchtime.
This is the moment I spotted an ENORMOUS red Lions Main jellyfish swooshing through the flow

A selfie taken on the wave!

We stopped for a while as the tide had changed direction and we were waiting for it to pick up to its 6 knot flow. This gave us a chance to practice edging and cutting in and out of the flow. We then popped over to the other side to try it over there, otherwise, we’d only be good on one side resulting in us paddling forever more in continuous circles! Then back again to watch the wave develop.

After playing for ages on the wave, exhausted, we decided to call it a day. All great fun.
A truly wonderful weekend.
Grabbing a coffee in what must be the smallest coffee shop around!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Damsel in distress?

We were recently lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work with the crew from Kinghorn Lifeboat on an evening exercise.
Young Trevor as a Thespian in training?
Getting acting reviews?
 We ended up working on radio protocol, getting feedback on our kit , how clearly they could see us in the dimming light and different ways they could rescue us and hopefully our boats as well.
Young Trevor tried to steal the show by fairly hamming up his "injuries" worthy of an Oscar!
Do I look suitably distressed?

Getting back in with the second crew

Phil getting "rescued"

Monday, 10 November 2014

Easy Easdale? I don't think so!

Rainbow over Mull
 We set off with a mad dash up the road in order to get to the Oyster Bar in Ellenabeich before we were too late for supper. Andy, Alan and Moira were already there, with Alice and Ansgar arriving just behind us.
Setting off for our night paddle!
Good food and a great natter was the start to the weekend, it was now time for our night time, open crossing all the way over to Easedale. We set off in the pitch dark and headed for a light ( thought it was possibly the light from the pub drawing us in), a bit closer to the island and after Alice had managed to bump into the only thing between the 2 patches of land, a big buoy, we found out the light was Alan blinding us with a big torch.
Safely ashore, we set off for Andy's to stay the night.
Hubby dear collecting juicy Brambles
Next morning the weather was mingin', it was blowing a hooley!
We opted for a wee walk up the hill on Easdale to have a better look. As we looked at all the whitehorses, it was decided if we could get over to Cuan Sound, we'd then get a bit of shelter. After a bit more humming and hawing, the sudden gust that nearly blew us off the top of the hill decided for us, that another cup of coffee was needed before we made any rash decisions like going out paddling!
Back down at Andy's, after watching a yacht struggle to get from Easdale down to Cuan, we thought we could do a shuttle down to Cuan and launch from there. Decision made, we set about loading the boats to get back over to the other side to where the cars were. Once in our boats, we reckoned we were just as well keeking round the corner to see how it was. It had calmed down a bit, so we decided just to head down and through Cuan Sound. The waves were fairly big, but really more swell than breakers.
Ansgar catching a lift in Andy's back hatch!

We stopped for a bite of lunch in the shelter of Ardinamir Bay before we headed down between Luing and Shuna. Another quick stop before battling into the wind again and across to Scarba, where yet another wee stretch of the legs was required.
Down by Luing
Crossing to Scarba
Next we headed north and past the opening of the Grey Dogs, not somewhere to get sucked into, it was boiling mad! We carried on up the side of Lunga and on towards Belnahua with it's crazy currents. Just as we were a few meters from landing, I realised I was paddling like blazes and still going backwards! I wasn't quite sure where I would end up or whether I would just paddle right round the island and come in from the other side, somehow I don't think it would be that easy. A last minute burst of energy gave me the oomph to cross the current and safely land.
Grey Dogs from a distance
Heading to Belnahua

Once there, tents up, we went off for a wee chat with the owners of the island who were busy working on one of the houses. They were quite happy with us taking bushes from the pile they had accumulated for our fire, really friendly folks. At least the breeze was keeping the midges at bay!
Next morning, Alan and Moira decided to head back home whilst the rest of us set off for the Garvellachs. We paddled down the outside of the chain as we hadn't managed the year before due to bumpy waters.
Hubby dear with a Mull behind
2 posers!
Bubble baths
The way through
Ansgar on the other side
Me, made it!
We cut through the rocks at the bottom of the chain, where the water was fairly lumpy once again. We rounded the corner and were back in the shelter of the bay below the monastery.

After lunch, we set back off with a gentle swell pushing us back towards the Grey Dogs, but not before we spotted a couple of dolphins. Thankfully the Grey Dogs were in a better mood today, more like little puppies!
Approaching the Grey Dogs again
Once again we headed back up the side of Lunga, deciding to have a wee visit to Fladda.
 When we arrived, there was another small group of kayakers there. We had a wee wander around and met and had a nice chat with a young gentleman, who, it seems was staying on the island doing a bit of work. We were enjoying a seat in the sunshine and another blether, when the gentleman's brother appeared (not the owner of the island), asking us quite brusquely to leave the island. There were no signs to say anywhere was private, we hadn't even realise anyone actually stayed on the island until we spoke to the first brother. We explained we were just having a rest before heading on and wouldn't be long. Off he went to tell the other group to move, coming back to us to ask why we were still there!
 We were only a few hundred meters from where we had started out that morning. On Belnahua, the reception was completely different, very friendly and chatty, unlike the nasty, unreasonable bloke on Fladda!
Heading back to Easdale
A fairly speedy paddle / surf back up to Easdale finished off yet another excellent weekends paddling, with as usual, great company and a great laugh as well!
A huge thanks to Andy once again.