Tuesday 1 May 2012
Glen Etive 25th-27th April 2012
Was up the smiddy at the weekend. Weather came courtesy of a big fat lump of high pressure that arrived friday night and left about the same time we did on the sunday avo.
We woke up Saturday and went for a chilled out paddle down the loch for 5 miles or so. Couple of beginners in tow (literally by the return leg) It's still a bit early for summer so, by the time we got back the temp had nosedived enough to put us off the prospect of the planned rescue and skills session which was rescheduled for the next day.
Had fun. Bit rusty. Lots of things need tightening up. Haven't trained since the last time I had to do it for real. Yeah, that's right - I let go of the kayak (about 50 secs in) Reminds me why we practise these things...
Monday 16 April 2012
Bellhaven round 2
Met up with some of the guys from Lothian Sea Kayak Club for a surf session on Sunday. Found out that using the GoPro armature to raise the camera off the back deck aint the best idea I've ever had. Waves kept blasting it flat against the deck so I missed some a few good runs and a lot of even better carnage. Still, ho hum, plenty more surf in the sea.
One of the LSKC guys, Kev, let me try out his Riot Ninja surf boat. I mucked about in the shorebreak trying to get to grips with it. Was brilliant. I think I'm going to have to get me one of those! Check out Richard grabbing some air at around the 1:30 mark.
Everything was going great until some horrible little foamy gremlin flooded my nicotine stash! Then there was the half mile carry back to the carpark.
Tuesday 10 April 2012
Small Isles and Loch Hourn (oops!)
We arrived at Arisaig campsite just as the last dregs of light were leaving. The plan to night paddle out to Eigg was scuppered about a mile out, however, when a bank of cloud settled over the island, making it invisible in the pale light of the moon. We found a campspot in the skerries and hunkered down for the night.
Next morning we were off and headed for Na Gurrabain campsite on the southeast corner of Eigg. Derek (FNG) was finding the slight following sea hard going and spent the whole crossing backing off waves instead of using them so it took a while to make it over. No big deal, the scenery was nice and we had plenty beer in our dayhatches so we just pootled along, soaking up the atmosphere, eventually reaching the campsite at more or less high water.
We stuck the tents up and cracked open a beer with the mighty An Sguur towering up in the background. Couldn't ask for a better spot.
We decided to skip lunch and have an early dinner before setting off to the pub across the bay for a couple of well earned cold ones. (I didn't kill the baby - it was like that when I got there)
On enquring about change for the pool table we were informed that the coin release was broken and the pool table was effectively free - result!
I was rudely awakened by a tent pole smacking off my head. It was, as the saying goes, "blowing a hoolie" F5 gusting 6's.
We cancelled the Muck crossing (too much like hard work) and went for a walk around the island instead.
Back at the capsite and Hammond's stomach was complaining so we left the invalid to cook up lunch and I took Derek out, round the bay to see if I could get in some rough water rescue practice.
Try as I might I couldn't coax him out into the deeper, more exposed waters (son of a bitch knows us too well)
So we played about in the skerries instead which was almost as much fun
then we headed back in
and found another use for the towropes
Next morning we were up with the sun and heading off to catch the run of the tide, around to Laig bay on the northwest side of Eigg
We watched a ferry winching a small boat on board, then dropping it back in the water and repeating the exercise. We concluded it was either some kind of rescue practice or the captain had been huffing paint stripper.
We got our first good look at the south side of Rum as we rounded the headland. Awesome! Like Skye in miniature.
We stopped for lunch at the foot of a cliff somewhere along the west coast.
The landing was straightforward enough but, by the time we left there was a two foot wave breaking over this rock
I told Derek to time the sets, wait til three waves broke then PLF out in the gap, which he did, like a pro. I watched him break out then, completely forgetting my own advice, I jumped in my kayak and backpaddled out to meet the first wave of the next set. The first two did a good job of filling my cockpit and the third one finished the job. Fortunately none of this indignity was captured on camera, so my cool, calm and collected image remains untarnished.
We arrived at Laig at low water and carried the boats one metric whore of a distance up the beach!
We woke up on Wednesday and decided to leave the tents where they were, paddle out to Rum and check out the south coast, before heading back, rather than the original plan of camping in Kinloch. This would give us more time to check out the caves and arches before heading back for a shorter return leg to Malaig the next day.
Rum was truly stunning! My only regret was not seeing more of it but we were limited by Derek's noob paddling speed. Still, it's not meant to be going anywhere soon so I'll definitely be back.
Yes, it's as cold as it looks!
We headed back for Eigg finding, on arriving, that god had left some easy, mellow surf for us to wind down playing in. Thanks big fella, I owe you one!
FNG has now learned to high brace. Damnit, now we've got next to no chance of dunking him!
Next morning we were up at the crack of stupid to catch high water (ish) It was cloudy...
...really f'kin cloudy!
...and tidey, and a bit swelly
With visibility down to half a mile, we missed Malaig and ended up half way up to Loch Hourn by the time we decided to pull out and check the GPS.
Next morning we took a bearing (and stuck to it this time) back through the mists to Arisiag and home
Another brilliant week on the west coast and (according to one of the locals at least) the first sea kayakers on the island this year - Yay us!