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Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:16 pm
by clippy
Hello,

We are heading up to Harris next week and with our Kayaks strapped on will be looking to get a few paddles in.
We are in the spring of our paddling life and starting with SoT's.
I am looking for anyone with knowledge of paddling over to Scarp from Hushinish. I will have scoped out charts and tides and would only venture across with favourable winds etc with the SoT's and intend staying east side.
Am just curious as to anyones real world experience of the tidal stream through the Caolas an Scarp.

Thanks for reading,
Cheers
Mark

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:39 am
by Chris Bolton
I've paddled through the Caolas an Scarp, going North and then back South and don't remember anything unexpected. It was blowing F4-5 against us when we went North and it slowed us to 2kt, and the flood tide was with us, but the sea didn't kick up; it might be more of a problem with wind from the South. Tides are not strong, but swell can be problem as it's exposed to the SW.

The Chart is 2841 Loch Maddy to Loch Resort but doesn't have much detail, it does show it gets very shallow just North of the narrows (1m below chart datum). If you can get it before you go, the Outer Hebrides guidebook would worth having - bits of history as well as the kayaking information.

Very impressive area to paddle!

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:45 pm
by clippy
That's good info Chris thank you, just what I was looking for, and appreciate time taken to read and respond, was actually looking at that book yesterday, will have time to kill in Stornoway when we arrive so will have a scoot aboot for it there.

Cheers
Mark

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:03 pm
by Chris Bolton
I'm not sure you'll find the book in Stornoway - but worth giving Gael Force Marine a call to see if they have it in stock - otherwise, if you can get it mail order before you go, I would.

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:48 pm
by clippy
Tried the bookshops in Stornoway Chris and you were right, no joy. However found it on a next day delivery online. :tup. Cheers Mark

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:26 pm
by Mark Graham
We played in the surf on the shallow bar at the north end of the sound - sunshine and sea eagles after a damp and grey start further up Loch Resort. The next morning we saw an orca just out from the north end of Scarp. A magic place.

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:15 am
by clippy
Hi Mark, that's definitely wet my appetite, thanks for the info :tup

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:40 pm
by Douglas Wilcox
Hello Clippy, Scarp and the Sound of Scarp are wonderful places. In a light wind you will have no trouble at all with the tide. However, the fact that they tried to set up a rocket mail service across this narrow sound tells you that conditions can change to exceed the abilities of even professional boatmen. I was on a trip aboard a trawler that sought anchorage in the Sound of Scarp in a June storm. It was horrendous, the following morning it took two hours to get the anchor up as the wind was so strong the winch could not pull the chain in. Every time the captain tried to take the tension off the chain by motoring into the wind, the bow blew sideways as soon as there was any slack in the chain and tightened it again. The only reason we got away was there was a temporary lull in the wind. We then motored round to anchor deep in Loch Resort. The storm continued so badly the anchor dragged all night and the crew had to keep motoring back across the loch for the process to be repeated.

I wish you a great spell of weather to enjoy Scarp, there are some photos of the Sound here: https://seakayakphoto.blogspot.com/search/label/Scarp

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:55 pm
by clippy
Thanks ever so much Douglas, and thank you for sharing the link, I'm really starting to build a picture of where we need to be with the weather to complete an enjoyable and successful trip, and what an adventure you had ! ... TBH I think it might be looking a bit blowy for our week, there's a high low split and we will have to see which wins out. Fingers crossed and I will report back. Cheers Mark.

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:26 pm
by ian johnston
Hi Clippy,

My friend Douglas beat me to posting the link to his blog posts about Scarp - and there are some further images and info on my blog here:

https://mountainandseascotland.blogspot ... abel/Scarp

the main thing is the wind - the Caolas an Scarp is shallow and any swell builds up really nasty conditions quickly. If it's too rough up the west coast, the east coast is just as stunning, and check out Loch Crabhadail too, a lovely spot. One final recommendation....if you can, explore the small island of Cearstaigh off the north of Scarp, you won't be disappointed! https://mountainandseascotland.blogspot ... taigh.html

I hope that the weather is kind to you...if the sun shines there is simply nowhere else like Harris on the planet for quality of light; and Scarp is a gem.

Kind Regards

Ian

Re: Scarp paddle advice.

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:30 pm
by Sean_soup
ian johnston wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:26 pm
One final recommendation....if you can, explore the small island of Cearstaigh off the north of Scarp, you won't be disappointed! https://mountainandseascotland.blogspot ... taigh.html
A comment someone had made on that blog made me laugh:

"That beach on Scarp is one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been. We went around Scarp as a day trip, but I will go back and camp there one day. I think you could travel the world and struggle to find its equal."

I quite agree. On the day in 2017 that I paddled around Scarp, that little beach and the sweep of lazy beds coming down towards the shore opposite Cearstaigh was undoubtedly the most beautiful place on Earth, no question. On every scale, from the tiny orchids on the crests of the lazy beds up to the massive waterfall round the corner.

It was still a contender in 2018 when I went back on a slightly wilder day and discovered just how hard it is to find a good spot to pitch even a small tent. For such a beautiful place it's a surprisingly poor camp site. Maybe that's no coincidence. Strong southerly winds blew up overnight and it was a bit of a struggle back to Hushinish in the morning, hugging the East side of the island and ducking into every little geo along the way for a quick breather and a bit of respite from the relentless headwind.