What to wear in Hebrides in June?

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Pete Hennessy
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What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Pete Hennessy » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:51 pm

I'm off on a weeks camping trip to the Outer Hebrides in late June and I'm wondering what paddling clothes I'll need to take. I don't expect to swim, but should I just take a dry suit, or might it be too hot? Should I take shorts and a cag as well?

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MikeB
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by MikeB » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:30 pm

Pete Hennessy wrote:- - should I just take a dry suit, or might it be too hot? Should I take shorts and a cag as well?
Ah, the Hebridies. It might well be too hot for a dry suit - then again, at the end of July last year, on Barra I was SO glad I'd chosen this natty number from my extensive paddling wardrobe.

It was baltic, it was windy, and it was raining. I was toasty - - in a full drysuit.

Image

Even when the sun IS shining, you might still wish to choose wisely - this glorious little picture was taken in winds sufficiently strong to allow me to "lie" on it on the walls of the ruined black house in the Sound of Harris. At least F5, possibly bottom end 6.

Image

Me, I bring both - - but dont expect to wear the shorts. Whit weekend on Mull and I was wearing more than I normally wear for "winter" paddling. Then again, it could be balmy - - -

Mike.

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Sgian Dubh
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Sgian Dubh » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:41 pm

What to wear in Hebrides in June?
Boiler suit & wellies for June. Had you of said winter it would have been boiler suit, woolly undercrackers & wellies :o) Both work under a Tuiliq & two-step, if you happen across an accidental ceilidh, you're dressed for success!

Seriously. [I'll leave it to you to decide which way the seriously is pointing]

I would say take light & heavy paddling wear & judge the conditions at hand nearer the time. Dress appropriately. Better to bring to much apparel than to little & suffer a confidence loss. The Hebrides can be deceptive waters despite their often benign appearance. We can go from water like glass for a week to a full hoollie with roller-coaster swell & back again in 24 hours. It can be sweltering onshore & distinctly icy just offshore, or vice versa...The waters don't really warm until August despite their turquoise clarity. That said, you only experience the surface temperatures if you go inverted or bail. I often paddle wearing only the Akullisaq & a thermal top/jeans underneath. To hot & the occasional swift roll will deal with it. In the Tuiliq, the Greenlandic equivalent of a dry suit, you can slowly boil & continual rolls have sometimes been the order of the day en route.

Just make a realistic appraisal of the forward & reverse conditions, & as for any paddling foray, allow for growing a beard like Mikes & take into account journey anomalies, squalls etcetera - equip to suit. Without a doubt, we have some of the best archipelagos & seas to hand, even in gnarly conditions. Chances are, with the lack of an offshore gale, they midgies will be more worrying then the problem of what to wear. I'm off tae iron my wellies :o)
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Mark R
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Mark R » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:03 pm

During the whole month of August in the Western Isles a few years back, and five weeks on Scotland's west coast last summer, I wore dry troos at all times and dry cag at almost all times.

Don't believe the 'Caribbean' photos that appear from time to time.
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Sgian Dubh
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Sgian Dubh » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:12 pm

Mark R wrote:Don't believe the 'Caribbean' photos that appear from time to time.
Wuss.
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MikeB
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by MikeB » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:25 pm

Carribean - -

Image

Image

OR, somewhere on Mull at Whit. F4/5 - again, drysuit and lots of thermals! In all fairness, that particular day was glorious despite the wind and some interesting seas getting back to Fidden. Most of that week though was spent coping with some strong winds, some serious rain and quite interesting seas, even in the relative shelter of the Sound of Iona.

I left on the Friday - Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all glorious, baking hot, sunny days.

Mike

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:49 pm

Greetings Pete,

Image
Murty "hard as nails local" Campbell: drysuit

Image
Drysuits, dry bottoms, cags

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Just a little later the same day.

In truth I wear much the same whatever the season. I don't get cold when having a long lunch or waiting for someone to catch up. At the recent Sklye symposium I was amazed by the variety of apparrel. Some of the southerners were really hardy and were wearing shorts, sandals and the lightest of cags. The soft locals were wearing drysuits/dry bottoms/cags..

Depends how hardy you are.... :o)

Douglas

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Jim
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Jim » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:16 am

Take your drysuit, and take other options.

Heading up the east coast of Jura one Easter after a week of high winds that stopped us going round the west, I paddled the first couple of hours with my drysuit rolled down to waist level because it was so hot. By the end of the day I was wearing it properly again.

Only difference in weather on the west between April and June is that the sunny spells are a bit more intense in June, and snow is less likely. Everything else varies the same, dry and clear for a few days followed by cold wet and windy for a few. It's the variety that makes it so good, you never have to wait long for different weather to completely alter the scenery (and I quite like the stormy look).

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keith
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by keith » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:10 am

T-shirt was fine for me some of the time! Calm water in Yell Sound having paddled from near Gutcher in Bluemull Sound
Image

Normal stuff at other times, paddling around Dore Holm.
Image

I only wear the drysuit when practising rescues and things, not really for normal paddling.
Last edited by keith on Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by tommfuller » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:40 am

Expect every kind of weather. I'd be taking the drysuit.

Cheers,

FT.

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Pete Hennessy
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Pete Hennessy » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:11 pm

Thanks everyone. The photos are fantastic. I'm tempted to take a set of really summery gear just for the camera on the white sandy beaches, but it sounds like I'll be in my dry suit most or all of the time.

Pete

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MikeB
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by MikeB » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:22 pm

How did it go Pete? T-shirt or drysuit??

Mike.

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Pete Hennessy
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by Pete Hennessy » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:51 pm

T-shirt!!

We had amazing weather, a bit of drizzle on the first 2 days to lower our expectations, followed by 4 days of gorgeous warm weather. We were there for mid-summer and I hope I always remember watching the sun set into the sea at 11:20pm from an island in the Sound of Harris (Ensay). We woke very early every morning due to the sun - but couldn't grumble as it was all so beautiful. The oyster catchers were noisy too.

The trip was run by Phil Clegg of SKUK and it was fantastic - incredibly relaxed and fun. One highlight was a day trip paddling around Hirta, the main island of St Kilda. It was a good adventure with a lot of clapotis on the south side with a force 4 southerly wind. On the north side the sea was flat - but pounded by gusts up to force 7 - I've now got some idea what such a huge cliff (430m) can do to a wind. At the end of the paddle we had time for a short tour of the deserted village and could take in the majestic beauty of the island in the sun. We took our boats to St Kilda with Niall Johnson of the Uist Outdoor Centre - a very competent RIB driver.

My other highlight was an overnight stay on the Monach Isles (off Benbecula). Again the bird life was amazing but not as impressive as the seal colony which stretched along eastern beach. After supper we all spend an hour or more lying hidden at the edge of the dunes watching the seals and listening to the eary noise of their 'chat'.

On the last day after we finished our paddle we went for a swim in the sea - in shorts. I had been wearing a light cag all day just to keep the sun off my arms. The water was cool when swimming but there was no rush to get changed afterwards - it was that hot. Sadly my photos don't do it justice (water on the lens etc).

Have I mentioned how well the trip was run by Phil Clegg? I know it costs more than doing it with a group of mates, but having him supply the boats and transport made it all a lot easier and the group dynamics were perfect - he made us feel that we made all the decisions (maybe we did?) and everyone was included. It felt lucky that the trip was such a happy one and the good weather really helped, but I'm pretty sure this is a sign of great trip leadership.

Thanks to you all for your advice and all the encouragement I've got from this forum. I'm now much more impressed with your photos too.

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MikeB
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Re: What to wear in Hebrides in June?

Post by MikeB » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:00 am

Wonderful!

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