Friday, 26 April 2013

Stac Buidhe, Skye: April 2013

This trip started at Port Gobhlaig on the Trotternish peninsula. We were on spring tides, but the weather was calm and we weren't far off slack tide. Firstly, we headed up to Rubha na h-Aiseig. The tide was still pushing us along and over a small overfall which was fun. Around the corner were some interesting caves and arches...




 
Then it was time to double back, past Port Gobhlaig and Southwards to the caves around Stac Buidhe. This has the best sea arch we've seen...
 

 
and lovely cliff walls...
 

There are plenty of sea caves and the water was crystal clear. This was an unforgettable trip!


 
It isn't one I'd like to do in anything other than calm weather as it is quite committing because of the cliffs. 


Staffin, Skye: April 2013

This trip started out from Staffin slipway by Staffin Island, with the intention of heading towards the Northerly point of Trotternish. We knew we had to return to our start point and only had a few hours...

 

 Heading across Staffin Bay towards Flodigarry is a long paddle...
 
 
 
But on the Northerly side of the bay, the cliff on the outer side of Eilean Flodigarry kept us going. Huge basalt pillars have broken off and lie against the rock wall...

 
 Emerging from the other side of the island is a great view of the Trotternish ridge...
 
 
Unfortunately, we were running out of time and had to head back the way we came. The Old Man of Stor is to the left of this photo...


We stopped for a break on Staffin Beach...

 
Taking a look at the posts for drying fishing nets on Eilean Flodigarry at the end of our trip...



Friday, 19 April 2013

Saasaig to Armadale Pier...and back: April 2013

This is usually a quick, easy paddle, giving views across the water to the slightly increasing number of buildings on Knoydart (reputed to be the most remote part of the UK mainland), and the bright lights of Mallaig. On clear days when the tide is out, it is easy to see the sandy beaches of Morar, Back of Keppoch and the outer skerries of Arisaig. On the Skye side, it takes you past Sabhal mor Ostaig. This is a white post-modernist development, only able to fit into the landscape because of the contrast with its surroundings and its raison d'etre. I quite like it because to me, it's "halfway from home" on this trip.
Anyway, to start with, the sea was calm and the sky was dull. Hence no photos. Nonetheless, Armadale pier is always interesting...



On the way back, things got a bit choppy as a breeze pushed across from Mallaig...


...which, with the last of the days sunlight hitting Knoydart, made for an interesting paddle.

Harlosh and Wiay, Skye: April 2013

Our fourth Easter trip to Skye. This year the weather held so it was time to look at sea cliff scenery that hadn't been accessible to us before.
Firstly a trip around Wiay island in Loch Bracadale. I've only seen it from Ullinish before, where the vertical cliffs around Talisker, Wiay and Harlosh give the area a remote, daunting feel. This time, the winds were slight and there was a medium but friendly swell heading into Loch Bracadale to add excitement.
We went to Harlosh Island first, on the cliff side, where sea urchins clustered together above and just below the waterline. What is the collective noun for sea urchins? A lurchin?

 

There were some interesting cliffs at the sheltered side of Harlosh Island...


 
We headed across 2km of Loch Bracadale to Wiay. The sea was quite lumpy on the exposed side as the swell came straight into Loch Bracadale. But around the more sheltered landward side was a lovely arch ...

 
 
In hindsight we should really have headed back to Harlosh via Tarner island because it looked like there were some good caves to explore. But back at Harlosh island we headed to a lovely white beach...
 
 
 
From here it was a quick paddle back to Camas Ban bay on Skye where we had started. A great first trip of the week, albeit with poor light conditions for photography. Not that we were complaining!
 



Monday, 3 December 2012

Pyrahafest 2012

The Tryweryn was great fun again. I learned a lot during my Saturday course on the Upper, then had a more relaxing but enjoyable trip down the Lower on Sunday.
Here are a few snaps from Saturday, of people who make it look so easy!




Here's Justin making it look easy & having fun at the start of Fingers, just below the Cafe...




Brittany: Aber Wrach - 2012

Aber Wrach is another greay kayaking location, with great scenery, famous lighthouses nearby, but a tidal range that means trip planning is essential in order to avoid a long portage across extensive sandy beaches or mud flats...

Brittany: Lorient - August 2012

Lorient is famous for it's U-Boat base. Most tours are in French language only and you have to book & pay. Kayaking is a better alternative.
The mouth of the harbour is quite narrow, making for a fairly strong but manageable current on the spring ebb tide. We had to watch out for passing boats as it's a busy shipping entrance.

 
 
 

The U-Boat pens are used by local nautical industries, although one looked occupied by Naval types.
Nobody challenged us as we paddled around outside, although we knew we weren't allowed to paddle inside. This isn't a problem as we had a great view and could paddle around for as long as we liked. The sheer scale of the place is impressive and it is easy to imagine the place in use during wartime.


 
Outside the pens are some boats that I presume were scuttled to prevent the pens from being used...
 

 
There's a great difference between high and low tide, so the boats look very different according to tidal conditions.