Dolphins and sunshine off Glenuig

March 27th-29th 2017

Had an opportunity to paddle with new acquaintances at Glenuig and Arisaig in this recent period of glorious weather. Very relaxed time with just "day-trip" kit and great food/company each evening. Indeed I had the luxury of the 9-bed bunkhouse to myself so nobody noticed any snoring.  
Steve's Cairngorm Brewery ales probably helped things along.

The paddling group evolved day to day but everyone was welcoming and pretty well-matched for the trips.   Cheers to Douglas, Ian, Donald, Mike, Phil, David, Allan and Lorna.

Day 1: Sound of Arisaig

Glenuig north across the sound spending loads of time watching a dolphin pod playing with our boats.  Up to the skerries at Arisaig for another lunch on the empty sands (it was a spring low tide) and a toast to each other for being so fortunate with the dolphins.  The return leg wasn't too much different from the way out.  And the dolphins were still around.  Altogether 30 kms and no more than a Force 2/negligible swell.

They seemed attracted to Donald's phut-phut


another lunch stop

On the last leg south, the sails appeared...

Day 2:  Loch nan Uamh

Another day and another paddle,...  this time a party of 6 boats set out due north in another fine settled weather window. We stooged around the north coast of nan Uamh checked on Carlotta's Bothy, and headed in a steady loop to the east just casually exploring things.  Then along the coastline of Ardnish before a quick foray into Loch Ailort and back to the Glenuig Inn.  27kms for the day.  Benign conditions at all times.

Meant to mention my new Epic Touring paddles - first trip using them and they were excellent.  I have the hybrid shaft with the carbon blades so still pretty light weight but enough of a spring in the shaft to add a comfort factor.  Adjustable in length & feather so suits all conditions.  A great buy (thanks to Ivan Lawler for these).

Setting off after a Glenuig breakfast

Allan & Lorna

Day 3:   Round to the North Passage

Just half a day available so a shorter aim, and a reduced team - just 4 of us left. Weather had started to deteriorate with some substantial gusts from the south that tried to take our paddles away, still no swell to worry about.  Hugged the shoreline and did some simple rock-hopping.  Landed to see the fantastic little grass site opposite An Glas-eileen, then went round to the North Channel entrance (of Loch Moidart).  The tide was racing out by this stage and stranded poor Allan on a sand bar whilst those at the front had sneaked through in 2" of water.  Retraced our path up towards Glenuig for the cars.  Also lucky enough this time to see an otter just seabord of us on the way back.



Composite GPS track of the 3 days

A great convivial break with some pleasant paddling, cheers to all.  Great to see the Spring arrive and we can look forward to the season.  I managed 2 days whitewater boating, a walk, and 3 days seakayaking one after the other - just brilliant. 


Wandering in the dry at Ardnamurchen

March 26th 2017

A refreshing brew in Glen Coe village and then I had a lovely evening watching the sunset at Ardnamurchan Point.  In the clear crisp morning that followed I went strolling round the headland and to the coast again at Sanna.  Just me and my mates the cooo's.  The machair here is very springy and a delight but there's no clear path on the actual headland so it also involved frequent bog-hopping. Muck, Eigg and Rum were clearly visible, as were the Cuillins some of the time.

Afternoon stroll at Tioram Castle in the entrance to Loch Moidart.  Very low water (springs) so lots of folk wandering across to the ruin, a party of canoe-campers were waiting for the evening tide.  All very pretty.