A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

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Douglas Wilcox
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A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:49 pm

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Just back from a great little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Day 1.

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We got dropped off in Campbeltown Loch by the ferry from Ardrossan...

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...and were soon setting off in the wake of the returning ferry but...

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...we turned left at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch and...

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...up the Kilbrannan Sound that separates Kintyre from Arran.

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Our destination was the beach where the video for "Mull of Kintyre" was filmed.

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We pitched our tents on machair sweet with clover.

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We walked to a headland to see where we would go the next day then...

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...gathered wood under the walls of an ancient castle...

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...for a fire and...

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...chatted and cooked baked potatoes in the embers until the moon came up.

To be continued...

Douglas

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Yakdiver
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Yakdiver » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:29 pm

Amazing well done
Name Richard
Point 65n Sea Cruiser
Ocean Prowler

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:53 pm

Thank you Richard, the trip actually got better every day!

Douglas :o)

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by PeterC » Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:37 am

Looking forward to the next installments, especially Ailsa Craig!
Peter

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by nigelhatton » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:37 am

Douglas, you have my vote for being the first man of British sea kayaking. You are a doer and I think after looking at your pics I will have to put my kayak in the water and go for a paddle here in the south of France, the doldrems of sea kayaking.
I paddled to ailsa Craig once and really wanted to continue to other places from there but the afternoon winds put an end to that.
I keep telling myself to get a sail but another part of me says it's not really kayaking, and I might have a sense of shame if I had completed a long journey and then carried the memory it was not all of my own doing and muscle power. However, it's in my mind for something to buy but for now I'm paddling out to the bassin de thau for some rolling practice.
Excellent pictures as always, I think Scotland has to be the best place for sea kayaking compered to the south west or here, Agde.

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by soundoftheseagull » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:30 am

Nice one Sir
Dave

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Krautsgalore » Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:13 pm

Were you greeted by pipes and drums or at least a guitar player? You deserve it for yet another great trip report.

Frank

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by PhilAyr » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:09 pm

Brilliant photos Douglas !

It's good to view some of the bits I missed.

Kind regards

Phil

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by nicholas » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:24 am

Well done for fitting your camping gear in the Aries

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:41 am

Thank you Peter, Dave, Frank and Phil.

Nicholas, I took the Cetus MV!

Nigel I fear you are mistaking me for someone like Eurion. Mind you I am very pleased to be back on the water again enjoying much more modest paddles. I was virtually confined to the house for 9 months following shoulder surgery last July and knee surgery last November. I am still not that keen on driving long distances which is why the Firth of Clyde has been such a delight on my return to sea kayaking.

Douglas :o)

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:59 am

Day 2 morning.

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From the shelter of Saddell Bay we...

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...paddled north up the Kilbrannan Sound to ...

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...near Carradale where we hoisted...

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...sails for the paddle across the Kilbrannan Sound to...

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...Arran where we made landfall near the King's Caves.

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After a tricky landing we...

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explored the caves before...

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...passing The Doon and...

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...rounding Drumadoon Point in time for...

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...second breakfast at Blackwaterfoot.

To be continued...

Douglas

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by andyE » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:00 pm

Ok what's for lunch Douglas.

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:13 pm

Hi Andy I am a bit behind my Mum is not well in hospital.

Day two pm

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From Blackwaterfoot we continued round the SW coast of Arran. The road climbs away from the shore and the water is remarkably clear.

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The heat was building so we stopped at a buttercup meadow for first luncheon and I went for a swim.

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Rounding a headland we caught sight of our intended destination Ailsa Craig.

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I felt a prickle on the back of my neck as we passed Corriecravie. My ancestors were crofters here from at least 1710 until 1936. They farmed the four large fields above the white buildings.

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This is my great great grandfather and great great grandmother in their croft at Corriecravie in 1874. The spinning wheel is now in my cousin's house.

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Second luncheon was taken at Cleats Shore the official nudist beach. I felt obliged to go for another swim.

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At Torrylinn the shallow water was so warm that even Tony decided to stop for a swim, it was my third.

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Bennan Head was magnificent.

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We landed at Kildonan for the night. The water here was so warm that I went for a fourth swim but Tony decided to go for a shower in the local waterfall instead.

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We set our tents up on flower studded machair before..

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...heading to the hotel for dinner and sports recovery drinks.

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The sun was still up as we walked back to our camp then...

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...we toasted our toes by the fire until it got dark and the Pladda lighthouse started flashing. It would be difficult to imagine how our trip could have been improved yet we were only on day 2.

To be continued....

Douglas

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andyE
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by andyE » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:38 pm

Thanks Douglas.

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by uxb » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:09 pm

Chust sublime

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Jim » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:32 pm

4 swims?

Sounds like me running rivers in my Canoe! :)

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by PeterC » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:27 pm

Great trip.

Always wondered you got your rugged handsomeness from ;-)

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:14 pm

Thanks folks, Peter, the hair gene has dropped out somewhere down the generations!

Day three am.

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During the night (02:52am) a near full moon shone down over the Kildonan shore, Pladda and distant Ailsa Craig.

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In the morning we took a brief break on Pladda at the start of the 22km crossing to Ailsa Craig.

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Despite the calm conditions there was an uneasy sea in the tiderace off Pladda.

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We were soon well on the way to the Craig but...

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...a thunderous roar announced the arrival of the High Speed Ferry from Larne to Troon. We had timed the trip so that it would cross in front of us and the returning ferry would cross behind us...hopefully.

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It wasn't just the ferry we had to look out for. This small freighter kicked up a 2m breaking wake and we both had to swing our bows and brace to meet it.

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It took a long time for the Craig to appear to be getting bigger but at...

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..last a little wind got up and we hoisted the sails. We kept looking back at the approaching roaring...

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...beast which we had heard start her engines in Troon some 42km away.

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We could now see detail on the Craig and landed on the steep...

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...granite rubble beach below the lighthouse where we met...


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...Phil who had crossed separately from Girvan some 16km to the east. We were all rather hot an bothered so Tony and I went for a swim but the cold deep water off Ailsa Craig was a lot more bracing than the warm shallow water at Kildonan. Anyway we had all arrived safely on Ailsa Craig and were now looking forward to a circumnavigation.

To be continued....

Douglas

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Curly67 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:50 pm

Fantastic Doulas! I can`t wait for the next installment.
Rockpool Taran

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by ruralweb » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:59 pm

Brilliant Douglas - :)
Mal

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:29 pm

Thank you Curly and Mal,

Day 3 afternoon.

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We set off from the lighthouse on an anticlockwise circumnavigation of Ailsa Craig.

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The cliffs soon reared up and our senses were assailed by the sight, noise and smells of the huge sea bird colonies.

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The sky was full of...

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...wheeling gannets.

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Once round Stranny Point we came to the Water Cave then...

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...even more serried ledges of gannets, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and kittiwakes.

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The scale of Ailsa Craig is amazing...

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...the cliffs just go up and up.

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There is only one break in the wall of cliffs and it is here that...

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...the puffins have re-established themselves after the island's rats were exterminated.

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It is difficult to imagine how the cliffs could be any steeper, we...

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...all ended up with cricks in our necks.

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We finally reached the north end of the island where...

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...the great fog horn stands above...

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...the gulls nesting on the beach.

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All too soon we were back at the lighthouse where I went for another swim...

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..then set up the tents and cooked dinner before...

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...the setting sun cast our camp into the deep shade of the great granite rock.

To be continued...

Douglas

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Mark R
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Mark R » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:41 am

I know it is customary to post "great pics, Douglas!" in response to your stuff, but I tend to avoid doing this...not because they aren't great pics, but because it's a bit predictable and frankly the quality of the pics speak for themselves. Always.

I wanted to say something, though...I'm sitting here (supposedly working from home - ahem) on a Monday morning, just awed by the sets above, which I hadn't looked at until now. They took me right away from the desk and back to past adventures in the Firth of Clyde, and more importantly, they took me forward to future adventures; I am sitting here mentally planning.

Thanks for the inspiration.
Mark Rainsley
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Mark R
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Mark R » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:46 am

PS - upgrade your blog! The old default blogspot template is far too mean and stingy, those tiny images don't do your work justice at all. If you look at the settings, you'll find you have the option to easily change to a more photo-friendly template...

http://btemplates.com/
Mark Rainsley
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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:27 am

Thank you Mark. Having been out of action for 9 months until the end of March I also appreciated a little inspiration from others. I always like the trip reports from the many others in the forum and I think they are the best bit. I like trip reports from anywhere and at all levels though perhaps I may never cross the Tasman Sea. When I was recovering I particularly enjoyed Kirsten's first trips on the NW coast.

Thanks for the prompt about my blog template. I really was meaning to do it for years!

I hope you are making a speedy recovery from manflu. The severity of this condition is greatly belittled by half the population.

Day 3 evening.

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The last time I climbed to the cop of Ailsa Craig was a few years ago. I used two walking poles and one of my knees dislocated twice on the way down so it was with some trepidation that I joined Tony and Phil on the steep path up past the castle.

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We climbed through banks of red campion and sea campion and...

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...gained height very quickly.

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The view from the summit was stunning...

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Even from this height the high speed ferry looked frightening.

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A gannet wheeled in from the direction of Sanda as the mist was rolling in from the sea to the Mull of Kintyre.

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Back at sea level it was time to get the fire going and pour some...

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...absolutely outstanding 18y old single cask Glengoyne...

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...and baked some potatoes...

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...which we savoured long after the sun went down behind Arran's dark rocky ridges.

To be continued...

Douglas

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Mark R » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:30 pm

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Thanks for the prompt about my blog template. I really was meaning to do it for years!
Brilliant, much more like it! For those who don't know what I'm talking about and who are familiar with Douglas's blog, go take a look and see how it looks now...
http://www.seakayakphoto.com

Next step Douglas...link it to a dedicated Facebook page. I at least trebled my readership within a week by doing this...
Douglas Wilcox wrote:I hope you are making a speedy recovery from manflu. The severity of this condition is greatly belittled by half the population
I've had the most annoying bug ever. I've never been hugely ill (e.g. enough to skip work), but have been coughing for nearly three weeks...in which time I've had to let friends down and pull out of a paddle around Wight, paddling in North Devon and a 96 mile marathon race, among other things...
Mark Rainsley
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Mark R » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:31 pm

PS Gannet photo above...sublime.
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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:41 pm

Thank you Mark. I saw the gannet photo in my mind the last time I was at the summit but there were no gannets that high. This time a gannet was soaring in circles but it was at the wrong angle to the Mull of Kintyre. I had actually given up waiting for it at the summit and had walked a bit towards the north end of the ridge when all of a sudden the gannet reappeared and snap!

Day 4.

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On the 4th day we rose with the sun at dawn. My Mum had been admitted to hospital the previous night with a serious illness and I was anxious to get going. Tony and I had originally planned to pick up Tony's shuttle car at Croy on the Ayrshire coast north of Turnberry Point but I decided to return just as far as Girvan and Phil would shuttle me back to the ferry terminal at Ardrossan where I had left my car as half of the shuttle.

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One advantage of our early start was it gave time to do another circumnavigation. We set off with the rising sun on our backs round the south foghorn.

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We entered the shade round Stranny Point then...

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...paddled below the gannets and great granite cliffs again before...

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...entering the sunlight again at the Eagle's Seat.

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The wind suddenly increased as we approached the lighthouse so we stopped to put our cags on.

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As the wind increased, sea fog rolled in round the Craig behind us and...

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...then it obliterated the Ayrshire coast ahead.

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Once we left the immediate vicinity of the cliffs the wind steadied and...

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... sails were unleashed.

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We had great paddle sailing until...

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...the wind dropped.

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20 kilometres after we set off we landed on Girvan beach. The local coastguard and a couple of fishermen watched us from the pier. As we were unloading one of them asked.

"Are you the guys that have canoed over from Ailsa Craig?"

"Actually no...we set of from Campbeltown..."

Tony and I had paddled 97km from Campbelltown via the east coast of Kintyre, west and south coasts of Arran and Ailsa Craig but now it was time to say goodbye. While Tony paddled on to Croy, Phil kindly ran me back to Ardrossan and I managed to get to the hospital my Mum was in 10 minutes before visiting.

We really had a fantastic trip. Unfortunately David, Ian, Jim and Phil could not get away in time for the Sunday Campbeltown ferry but it was good that Phil made it out to Ailsa Craig for the last night. I really recommend the Ardrossan Campbeltown ferry to anyone visiting the Firth of Clyde or the west coast of Kintyre like our trip last year.

Douglas

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by andyE » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:32 pm

Wonderful Douglas a smashing report.

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by ian johnston » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:49 pm

Mark R wrote:PS - upgrade your blog! The old default blogspot template is far too mean and stingy, those tiny images don't do your work justice at all. If you look at the settings, you'll find you have the option to easily change to a more photo-friendly template...

http://btemplates.com/
Oh bugger...... You've done it now Mark; the larger images are stunning - we might as well all give up right now :-)

Really sorry to have missed this one Douglas - next time for sure. And the (large) image of Eagle's seat must surely be a shoe-in for the 2015 DTC?!

Kind regards

Ian

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Re: A little tour in the Firth of Clyde.

Post by Jim » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:16 am

Looks like a great time had by all - sorry I couldn't join you (again), had a chaotic few months at work and other commitments at weekends :(

Still, there will be plenty of other opportunities!

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