Blackwater Hostel Sunday 16th April
Day three saw nine of us make the 60 mile drive to Arisaig, with the sun beginning to make an appearance as we left the rain-soaked hills behind. The harbour nestles at the head of the short Loch nan Ceall, sheltered to the south by the Rhu peninsula and a collection of small islands and skerries guarding the entrance just a few kilometres to the north and west. The coastline provides lots of interest and intriguing navigation as the changing tide opens and closes waterways.
The plan was to first explore the islands to the north-west, have lunch and then swing south around the peninsula.
Not long after leaving the harbour, the group split with half of us following an ever shallower route between the islands on a falling tide, while the remainder sensibly sought the certainty of open water (ie, deeper than 6 inches). After some shuffling along the bottom and a little manual labour we eventually made it through to open water, albeit a kilometre or two away from the other half of the group. However, radio communications and basic paddle waving saw us reunited for lunch overlooking a sandy beach warmed by the hazy sun.
The afternoon saw us in more open water as we made our way around the peninsular. The clouds cleared to leaving us in light winds and full sun. With the cliffs of Eigg, mountainous Rhum and the pinnacles of Skye providing the backdrop, it was turning into a great paddle with a lazy Sunday afternoon feel to it – in contrast to the challenging conditions of the previous day! Next stop was the stunning cove of Port nam Murrach. This is a natural harbour with a small island at its mouth giving added protection. With its white sandy
beach topped by a grassy lawn, green-blue water, and a small yacht anchored a few meters offshore completing the picture, Peter’s earlier comment about the area’s Caribbean-like qualities was starting to make sense.
With the weather being kind to us, the return journey continued in similar relaxed style, soaking up the scenery being more important than physical effort. We didn’t see any otters or basking sharks, for which the area is known … but, maybe next time.