Outer Hebrides 2010

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Helen M
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Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by Helen M » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:29 pm

Just back from a stunning 2 weeks in the Outer Hebrides. We went to Harris and Lewis this year - camping and paddling. There was me, Dave, Tony, Mike B and guest starring Anthony and Ian who we picked up along the way for a bit!

The beaches are truely amazing. We saw very few people - although having said that we paddled over to Taransay and came across a fiddle festival! lol It was really sureal. We met a young woman who was also a paddler and invited us for a drink - they had their own bar. Well - it would have been rude not to have one ...

http://taransayfiddlers.com/tag/2010/

Taransay is a beautiful island - we beach lounged for a wee bit when we circumnavigated it. Unfortunately it is on the west coast and there is nothing between the west side and the Atlantic - we then hit clapitus. So - beach lounging - clapitus - beach lounging - clapitus - get the picture!

Beach Lounging on Taransay

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Beach lounging on the way to Tarbet

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Interspersed with sea caves with waterfalls


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And more beach lounging!

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Compass Jellyfish

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There was also the sea of foam while paddling round Taransay - another sureal experience

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more to follow.

H - x

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Helen M
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by Helen M » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:41 pm

Tarbet General Store is amazing.

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Harris rocks

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Helen M
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by Helen M » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:59 pm

So - after camping at Horgabost - http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/revie ... revid=8648 we moved north to loch Roag. WOW

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Sea Arch Pabbay mor

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David A
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by David A » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:51 pm

Hi Helen, it looks as though you had a fantastic trip. The beaches look wonderful. I hope the boys behaved themselves!!.

Big Wave Dave

tannys
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by tannys » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:56 pm

Fantastic pictures! We are heading there on Friday hoping for some good weather and fantastic paddling
"Paddle solo, sleep tandem"

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Helen M
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by Helen M » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:37 pm

We ate really well. Group catered and had wee extras given to us along the way! I was desperate to find razorfish but in the end we were taken pity on and given some.

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For the most part we had good weather - but on the drizzly day we went sightseeing.

Callanish

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Dun Carloway - drizzly weather!

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Blackhouse village

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Sculpure of one of the Lewis Chessmen - see - we can do culture!
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View from mast on Uig

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Replica of the Ironage dwellings found at Bosta Beach in the sandunes

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Bhosta Beach

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Mike Marshall
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by Mike Marshall » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:02 am

Wonderful Trip HElen and fantastic photos.
Almost a time travel!!

MikeM

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MikeB
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by MikeB » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:21 pm

Helen's pics have come out SO much better than any of mine that I'm not even going to post them! A fantastic trip with good company and wonderful food and great craic. Harris and Lewis offer wonderful paddling, truly fantastic.

What Helen's pics don't show are the "interesting" conditions rounding Taransay - a significant swell and lots of clapotis made for a bumpy ride round the bottom end and up the exposed bits of the west side - the pic of Tony's black feathercraft surrounded by a mass of sea foam hints at what it was like as that foam was being generated at the bottom end.

The swell crashing on the headland was producing masses of foam - and was, in itself, fairly intimidating. Coming round the end of Pabay was also interesting - having come through the inner lagoon we passed thro a narrow "gateway" into some notable clapotis and medium swell. Tony and Anthony did the same thing a couple of days latter as I'd chosen to take a different route in the company of a less experienced / newish paddler, and from the stories told later I'm glad we did.

The Gates of Hell seems to sum it up - apparantly Tony decided to run the channel, Anthony following - Tony's description incoluded reference to seeing Anthony some way back, describing him as "a tiny spot perched on top of a massive wave" - fuuuuunnn!

As I mentioned in another post, our wildlife count included golden eagles and masses of basking shark and dolphins, albeit on the ferries later. I'm also now thinking we saw a minke whale (not a porpoise) from the ferry from Barra to Oban, and certainly heard lots of corncrake on North Uist and Lewis.

Fresh lobster bought from the dock at Kallin added a certain something to the diet too!

The day that Helen and I spent doing the "tourist thing" at the ironage house saw the rest of the team doing Great Berneray - which was, by all accounts, an interesting trip.

On the subject of camping on Barra, the machair campspot at the airport is indeed closed and was recovering nicely - that said, finding anywhere to car-camp is now a little difficult so I'd advise anyone going there to consider that little problem carefully. A conversation with a crofter up on Lewis suggests that SNH are taking an active interest in the damage being caused to the machair so I foresee an increasing issue with car camping in the coming years, unless some steps are taken to provide "formal" camp sites. Certainly, taking a motorhome or caravan to Barra is going to provide problems with finding a spot until they get the proposed campsites up and running.

Some pitches / sites are being provided by crofters, but the locations I saw on Barra for this aren't necessarily the best of places. Vatersay has a limited number of spots by the dunes by the village hall, but parking is a significant problem as there's only space for maybe 10 vehicles. Interestingly, the township on Vattersay have put up signs saying "no camping" on the machair by the township itself. This is, of course, illegal, but was obviously being successful in stopping wild camping there.

The authorities on the various OH islands really need to apply some joined up thinking here - it's all well and good for Visit Scotland to encourage people to visit but there are also increasing problems and notable ground damage to the machair as a result.

Mike.

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MikeB
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by MikeB » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:04 pm

MikeB wrote:Helen's pics have come out SO much better than any of mine that I'm not even going to post them!
Well, here's a few of the better ones - not in Helen's league - -


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Myself and Anthony - stone circle on Gt Bernera.

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Helen & Dave - a large cave somewhere - actually, we saw so may caves I got bored with them!

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A panorama which gives a sense of just what the area is like - this taken from this beach on the trip to Tarbert. (Edit 7/8 - many thanks to Jonathan Maddock for doing a much better job on the photo-merge than I'd done!)

Mike.

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JulesT
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by JulesT » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:50 pm

Great pictures Helen and yes its another world up there with beaches to die for, I've just returned from a week in North Uist. Been there once before and to Lewis Loch Roag / Valtos, will post some pics when I've got them sorted. Best afternoon trip was in the sound of Harris from Berneray around Ensay & Killegray, almost to Harris - next time. Loadsa seals and elusive sea otters but saw one in the end.
Jules

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MikeB
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by MikeB » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:41 am

Here's another perspective on the same areas from a couple using inflatables - - we'd chatted to them at Horgabost - from SOtP

Mike

sleepybubble
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by sleepybubble » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:11 pm

MikeB wrote:Here's another perspective on the same areas from a couple using inflatables - - we'd chatted to them at Horgabost - from SOtP

Mike
I do wish you people down south would stop telling people about this place.... I saw somebody else on the same beach as me the other day, its just not on :)

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Helen M
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by Helen M » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:18 pm

sleepybubble wrote:
MikeB wrote:Here's another perspective on the same areas from a couple using inflatables - - we'd chatted to them at Horgabost - from SOtP

Mike
I do wish you people down south would stop telling people about this place.... I saw somebody else on the same beach as me the other day, its just not on :)
Aww Bless - we're Scottish (albiet adopted - lol). But ... we like to share .... having said that the midges DO tend to discourage people! lol Good job too!

H - x

sleepybubble
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Re: Outer Hebrides 2010

Post by sleepybubble » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:22 pm

Helen M wrote:
sleepybubble wrote:
MikeB wrote:Here's another perspective on the same areas from a couple using inflatables - - we'd chatted to them at Horgabost - from SOtP

Mike
I do wish you people down south would stop telling people about this place.... I saw somebody else on the same beach as me the other day, its just not on :)
Aww Bless - we're Scottish (albiet adopted - lol). But ... we like to share .... having said that the midges DO tend to discourage people! lol Good job too!

H - x
I keep seeing boats on top of cars driving around, there are a lot of paddlers visiting up here this year. Its great to see.

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