2021 Scottish Sea Kayaking Trip to the Summer Isles
Day 06 Friday loch na mols (small bay) To beach next to Glencoul bothy by Roger Morgan
“My alarm went off at 6, which I duly ignored, again. Thankfully it was another day of gorgeous sunshine, marred only by the squadrons of midges flying in tight aerial formation outside the almost fully zipped flysheet; whilst they were waiting for me for breakfast, I munched whatever cereal bar I could find, to make me more nutritious and give me (and them?) energy.
By now we were all slick with packing our tents sleeping bags etc., moving boats to the water’s edge, loading, swatting midges, going back for more gear, moving another boat, swatting more midges, the latter being a continual theme, where do they all come from, and get so much energy (ah!). Promptly on the water by 8, timed so that we could safely pass underneath Kylesku Bridge, where if you get it wrong your battling against 3knots of tide. Leaving our campsite at the small Loch na Mola we all started the gentle paddle eastwards up Loch a` Chairn Bhain. There was hardly any wind, it was a beautiful day to be out on the water. We gently paddled up the loch, passing under the impressive Kylesku bridge and the old slipways where the ferry used to land until the bridges opening in 1984 apparently. We landed on the n slipway where Keith thankfully boiled water for anyone that needed it, and we had elevenses, at about 9.30. (Note to self, STOP packing your cooker away where you can’t find it, duh!)
Our objectives were to paddle to the head of Loch Glendhu, then Loch Glencoul both had bothies run by the Mountain bothies association (see their website for more info) remote huts or houses which offered (usually) a decent roof and sleeping area where you can spend the night sheltered from the elements. With Covid, there was uncertainty whether they would be open. Passing the low-lying buoys holding the fish farm nets in place we noticed at first what we thought was a boisterous dolphin or porpoise jumping out of the water, upon closer inspection it turned out to be a seal, practising it high jump, to get into the fish farms for its ready meal of corralled fish. Never seen this before, wise seal.
Glendhu bothy was open, it had two main downstairs rooms, and two upstairs, it would have been a comfortable albeit basic place to stay, but you would have out of the elements. Nearby was another house, locked with a lot of bunkbeds in, and two ponies in a field behind, for carrying felled deer from hunting parties from the nearby estate. After second elevenses, a baste in the sun, or maybe it was dinner, we moved on to paddle around to loch Glencoul, and again another bothy. Easy paddling, minimal winds and tide, mountainous scenery all around, good company, both human and midge like (on the shore), what more could you ask for.
Moving down loch Glencoul in the far distance you could see the Eas a`Chual Aluinn waterfall, Britain’s highest, with a drop of 200metres, that would be tomorrows highlight, in the meantime we landed at Glencoul bothy, again open, with one hiker staying. He however quickly packed and went up the mountain once he saw that we were planning to stay the night, albeit camping on the foreshore around the old walls and farm buildings. Most of us started cooking by our tents, providing food for ourselves and our guests (yep, midges!!), but quickly reconvened in turn (to avoid breaking MBA bothy use rules ((Covid 19!!), in the bothy to make our food, making our way back to the tents and sleeping bags following, or watching the sunset.
This whole area is fascinating from a geological point of view (Scotland’s first Geopark, an area of significant geological interest) an area of early settlement at the dawn of man (and midge) kind, and more recently in WW2 a site where the midget submariners trained before going to do their thing in Norway or wherever.”
To see more pages from the whole trip go to the Major trips and Expedition reports tab on the club website or click here…….