Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 6 and 7 (Catriona Hare)
Day 6 Camas na Croise to the island that shall not be named (about 22km)
We set off about 9:30, after breakfast which came with one of our few midge experiences of the trip, although still far less than I could ever have dreamed of. Andy was developing a new habit of being on the water before the rest of us and looking disapprovingly at tardiness. He needs to practice his disapproving look for it to be effective.
Like the rest of the week, we set off in glorious sunshine and flat calm conditions, I am still not convinced we were in Scotland.
The day before we had decided not to cross over to Mull due to fog in the shipping lane, looking back towards Mull this morning it looked like it was foggy again and the risk averse decision for a change of plan the day before seemed more justified than ever.
We headed up the western shore of Loch Linnhe which gave us some very different scenery to the rest of the trip, with the larger mountains of the mainland running into the loch.
Before long it was time to stop for food and a philosophical debate on the timing and meaning of the words breakfast and lunch. Elevenses, brunch and possibly “linner” were considered superfluous. Anyway, it was our first relaxing meal stop in the sun of the day.
We carried on up the coast getting some really good views of a golden and a white-tailed eagle and lots of wild goats. Roger was excellent a spotting wildlife. We stopped at Port a Ghearrain, our most northern point on Loch Linnhe, for our meal of choice and more relaxing in the sun. Although it was beginning to get silly, I could feel myself burning despite the daft hat and lots of suntan lotion.
Finally, we decided it was time to move and cross back over to the other side of Loch Linnhe. Like most of the afternoons the wind had got up and the sea had become a bit rougher, although it must have been calmer than the day before as I only got one wet armpit. I was day dreaming about a new sea state scale based on number and wetness of upper body parts, however there were too many variables, like being a splashy paddler or too heavy for your boat. (I think Ian was talking about my kit not me!!)
We crossed over uneventfully to the headland of Rubha Mor to start looking for a campsite for the night. Ali thoroughly inspected all possible sites in the bays just around the headland. We were getting fussy now, and Ali said it was Ok but not up to the standard of the rest of the trip. As it was still quite early, we paddled across to the nearby small island that shall not be named. As we approached, we could see strange structures coming into view. It finally became clear that they were building materials and the small island was inhabited. Some of us waited for the owners to come back so we could check if there were any issues with us camping and the rest paddled round the island. The most respectable members of the trip, well Ian and Andy, spoke to the owners of the island and they were happy for us to camp as long as we were at the opposite side of the island to the house, and didn’t advertise the camping opportunities.
Another lovely campsite with no midges and views across to Ben Nevis. We had a lovely night finishing the remaining random assortment of alcohol, enjoying the company, and in Sheena’s case knitting.
Day 7 a short trip back to Port Appin and end of a lovely trip.
We were on the water by 8:30 to make sure we made the most of the tide down the side of Shuna and missed the forecast lunch time rain. We had a relatively relaxed paddle in the grey hazy light, showing us yet another view of Scotland at its best.
We landed in Port Appin where Sheena treated us with tea and scones at the pub. It felt strange being careful about social distancing again (and cups and saucers) now we were back in civilisation.
Ian then dropped the car drivers off at their various starting locations and some people headed back down south hastily for some football match. I thought my blue car and yellow boat made a passable Ukrainian flag.
This was a somewhat unusual trip to plan due to last minute unavoidable changes in circumstances. When it is your kayaking lead who can’t make the start of the trip you make sure they can join you later in the week!! This became a peer paddle at relatively short notice, and I am grateful to everyone for being understanding about the route choices, and to Roger and Andy for helping with the trip planning in the campsite on Saturday night and in particular for Andy noticing that we needed to get up at 4:30 on the Monday morning. By then I was happily thinking about dinner and sleep.
Thanks, Andy, Ali, Sheena, Roger and Ian for making it a thoroughly enjoyable trip.