Scotland Sea Kayak Trip – June 2021 Day 5 Thursday 01/07/2021 by Ian Bell
Lismore east coast and crossing to Camas na Croise (About 24Km) by Ian Bell
Having spent the night at the south end of Lismore, we had plans and aspirations of crossing over to Mull for a night before starting to wind our way back to Oban.
However the fog had rolled in and following some debate as to how long we could delay departure and still take advantages of slack water to cross passed Lady’s Rock we decided on a cut off time or we would revert to plan B,C,D,E whatever. As the time approached, we saw the fog lift only to descend again. There was some doubt in group as to the whether we should chance it and play Russian roulette with the Cal Mac ferries so we decided we would leave Mull for another time and paddle up the east side of Lismore and spend the rest of the trip exploring up into Loch Linnhe.
Of course, as we set off, the fog lifted again and soon we were commenting on the heat of the morning sun. However, we were now committed to paddling north. As we paddled, we commented that this part of island was less inhabited than we expected and identified several other possible camp sites. It was also noted that at some point some of the group would need to find and top up water supplies. This noted I suggested as the ground was dry, we would be best calling in at the ferry terminal as it was the most likely option for a tap. On the way Andy suggested exploring Eilean nan Gamhna and its siter Eilean na Cloiche, so we headed out to them for elevenses or lunch.
We found a suitable spit linking the two parts of the island and sunbathed and ate. We then head north again to re-join the Lismore coast just south of the Achnacroish Pier. It turns out the old “big boat” pier is no longer used and there is a new ramp to allow the small roll on roll off ferry to visit. However, the morning service that day had been cancelled due to the fog and the Cal Mac timetable was out of sync; the waiting passengers were hoping that the boat would come, or they would be staying an extra night on the island. We did find water in the public convenience which looked fine although it said don’t drink on the taps, so those who needed it where then committed to boiling it first or using sterilising tablets. No one seemed to have any ill effects.
After this stop we paddle the next 6K or so of coastline observing the rock formations and wildlife. Just as we arrived at the northeast point of Lismore, we encountered the wake from one of the tourist boats or the passenger ferry to Port Appin. Timed to perfection just as most of group were passing over the shallow sand bar so they got splashed! (What Ian has missed from his account is that he noticed the ferry, sped up and didn’t get wet). As we rounded the point, we saw a touring Wayfarer dingy travelling in the opposite direction, this became a talking point for some who have also sailed and the ability to rig a tent over the boom and live aboard the dingy was discussed
It was then decision time again. Do we find a camp spot on the west side of Lismore or cross to the Kingairloch peninsula to find a campsite? We chose the latter as none of us had been over to that area before and we had now completed a full circum nav of Lismore. So, off we set for about 6k of open crossing the biggest of the trip; with slight wind against tide causing a beam swell. Which for most mean wet armpits by the end? As we approached the coast we started to try and identify potential camp sites. Finally deciding that Camas a Changinn was a possibility Ali and I landed to recce. It would have done but we were sure we would find better, so we started to move north exploring, Andy did a quick recce into Loch A Choire, again, nothing special so off around the headland to Camas Na Croise just inside Rubha nah-Airde Uinnsinn. This turn out to be a 5* site on the sand bar formed by the back of beach and the river off the hills behind. Although some houses were visible across bay Ali (our local expert) assured us that it was ok as they were far enough away and as we were on common grazing land it would be no issue. It turned out to be a perfect evening with no midges until bedtime and then only one or two starting to appear so at about 9:30 we called it a night and retired to our tents. End of another good day’s paddling.
Andy on the campsite recce and the view to sea.