Sunday, 28 June 2015

Aunty Betty - Hmmm!


Our SSKEG group of the day
 A couple of weeks back Ian was good enough to organise a trip out from Stonehaven for SSKEG. The previous trip from Montrose had to be cancelled due to our rather breezy weather so I was extra pleased this trip was going ahead. Although I'm from the East coast, I don't often seem to get the opportunity to paddle this area.

Massive caves
Awesome arches!
7 of us met up at Stonehaven harbour on a beautiful sunny morning. We paddled out from the harbour and headed south. The coast line round here is so different from our Fife coastline, lots of caves and cliffs.
Big caves

Long caves
 The last bay must have been my favourite, friendly inquisitive seals and a freshwater shower.
We headed back after this, a whole 4km down the coast - that's how interesting the caves and cliffs are!

Fresh water showers
Our friendly seal above

And below!
 Just as well we started back then, the head wind had really picked up and it was quite a slog getting back. We were cheered up with the appearance of a pod of dolphins.

This was all rewarded by the most extravagant icecream cone ever! I would highly recommend a visit to Aunty Betty's, whether you've been out for a strenuous paddle or a gentle daunder!
Now that's what I call an ice cream!!!!
 A huge thanks to Ian and SSKEG for organising this trip, I'm already looking forward to the next one up there!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Knoydart 2015

In case I forget who I am
Once again it seems ages since I visited this page, it's not been due to lack of paddling - quite the opposite possibly!
Since the last time, I've been off having a great old time up at a very blustery "Big Bash" at Onich with LSKC.
 We had our annual night time paddle/Easter egg hunt - a lovely evening for it!

Photo courtesy of Fiona Shaw Ainslie

Photo courtesy of Fiona Shaw Ainslie

Photo courtesy of Fiona Shaw Ainslie
 Then there was the CVC up at Glenmore - as always a great weekend, great company, great food, great cake - oh and lots of learning! 1st day was WWSR, spent hurtling down white water minus our boats - think I'm probably better doing it that way than in my boat! 2nd day was improving kayak coaching, then onto the event management thing.
The beginning of May had us having a wet rescue session and in between all this, there's been the usual club pool and loch sessions.

This was a bigger beach when we started

It now seems taken for granted that I'll organise a weekend camping trip for the end of May, this year was no different with Knoydart being the destination of choice!

We started off with 13 on the list, however in the long run a group of 9 met up at Mallaig in time for a chippy before stuffing all the kit into our boats just as the beach disappeared under high tide at 8pm.
Heading out from the harbour, our destination "didn't look too far away!". Unfortunately, not everyone was sitting comfy in the slightly bumpy water and before long we had a wee incident to sort out. That duly done, off we set again. Our pace wasn't too fast, so the "not to far away!" destination took quite a time to get there.
We were staying the first night at the campsite at Inverie, but as we hadn't been before and the fact it was getting fairly dark, it took a while to find it. There were a few knackered paddlers by this stage, so we literally hauled the boats up and camped right behind them.
Can you hear the groans?
Ah!That's better!

 Next morning our plan had been to tidy away the tents and head round to my cousin's at Samadalan, however, the forecast wasn't playing fair, the wind was forecast to increase the next day. We left the tents at the campsite, still to paddle round, but to return back to Inverie. As we passed Mary's Point the waves were getting a wee bit bigger and again our pace wasn't too fast. Those who relaxed their grip enough even spotted the eagles flying beside us.
 We hauled into Doune bay to have lunch, deciding at that point just to phone Eilidh instead of carrying on round to Samadalan, before about turning and heading back to Inverie.
Once again we had a few knackered paddlers, so much so that some of them didn't really notice teatime, in fact some of them didn't even realise that some of us had headed over to the pub, thanks to the Pit and Eilidh taxi!
Next morning the aforementioned knackered paddlers eventually emerged from the cocoons of their sleeping bags - or was it just that they were probably blown out of bed - yes, the wind had arrived!
We all met in the wee hut on the campsite and decided that a dry day (in this rain?) was needed. Eilidh had come back over and was giving us ideas as to where we could go and a few stories of the area.
No Young Trevor, it's not firewood!
 We all got ready, me in my 2 piece suit (packamacs) and reclaimed holey wellies which were borrowed from the reuse box on the campsite. Hubby dear in his cheap mismatched Asda bag socks and Graeme in his expensive matching bags for life Asda socks! Judging by some of the looks we got, we must have looked a right motley bunch!
Another wee squall heading in
 We had a wee walk through the village, dragging Dan past the pub - it had only just opened!, however we did keep him company on the way back, well it was warm and dry inside and this was it turned out, the coldest and wettest May on Knoydart since the records started. We sauntered back to the campsite, now in the sun via the Knoydart in a Knutshell walk.
Fetching footwear

A new pal?

The motley crew

Those 2 kept following us!

Next morning the fore casted better weather had arrived! Hurrah! The camp was packed up. Eilidh and Pit arrived with their kayaks planning to paddle over to Mallaig then get the ferry back.
All loaded and on the water, we hadn't even got out of the bay when Pit spotted an otter, happily diving and munching, not really in a hurry to get away from us.
My holey wellies

Inverie deep sea diver
Eilidh and Pit


We cut across Loch Nevis keeping out of the wind as long as possible before making our way along the coastline to Mallaig. There was a bit of a mad dash paddle at the end to make sure Eilidh and Pit were there in time for the ferry back.
Back on dry land, after the kit was sorted, one of the most important tasks of the weekend was still to be done -icecream!
Another great weekend, weather could have been better, but on the plus side, we weren't bothered by the midges! It was also great getting out with Eilidh and Pit, hopefully we'll get back up again later in the year - when it's warm and sunny!
Think Janice was pleased to survive her first trip away