The Wrong Way to Coruisk^

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andreadawn
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The Wrong Way to Coruisk^

Post by andreadawn » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:08 pm

Whilst there isn’t of course a right or wrong way to explore the coast by kayak, some trips are obviously more popular than others. Coruisk from Elgol is quite rightly a very popular outing but there’s more than one way to get to Coruisk by kayak. Glen Brittle to the west also makes an excellent starting point. I wanted to do an overnight trip, but the weather forecast was a little bit unsettled, so I opted for a longish (40km) day trip. At least that’s long for me. Given the potential for lots of exploring on this trip I was out for thirteen hours. The forcast as it turned out was slightly innacurate.

The campsite in Glen Brittle makes a good starting point. It was a bit of a gloomy morning and by the time I reached Rubh an Dunain I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired to head out to Soay. The cloud was clamped tightly down on the Cuillin and it was rather windier than I had hoped for.
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I briefly considered spending the day exploring the area around Loch na h-Airde, which is a good way to spend any day, but soon turned my bows towards Soay. The wind almost immediately dropped off and there were signs the sun might actually come out.
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By the time I reached the south west coast of Soay the sun had indeed come out and my slightly jaded mood soon evaporated. The island in the distance is Eigg.
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This remarkable rock formation is on the south side of Soay.
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As I came round to the east of the island, the cloud was still down on the Cuillin but seemed to be rapidly lifting. I stopped at Clachan Uaine for lunch whilst waiting to see what the weather was going to do.
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As is so often the case on Scotland’s west coast, the weather was starting to change very rapidly and as I paddled towards Coruisk some of the Cuillin peaks were shrugging off the last of the cloud. The prominent peaks here are Sgurr a Mhadaidh and Bidein Druim nan Ramh.
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A group of walkers were enjoying the bad step on the coast path at the start of their walk back to Elgol, having been dropped off by the ferry.
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The cloud continued to clear rapidly. This peak on the right is Sgurr Dubh Mor. The little beach is at the head of Loch nan Leachd.
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I continued round to the head of Loch na Cuilce where the very short Scavaig River cascades down slabs into the sea, and had some fun trying to keep my bow in the flow.
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Coming back round Ulfhart Point the coast can be seen stretching away for eight kilometres back to Rubh an Dunain.
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Whilst this bit of coast has none of the spectacular features to be found elsewhere on Skye, it is certainly well worth keeping close inshore and exploring.
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There is some lovely woodland with waterfalls cascading down to secretive beaches.
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Other tiny waterfalls splash down the cliffs straight into the water. The spray was much appreciated as, in complete contrast to the morning, it had become extremely hot.
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The colours of the seaweed covered rocks under the water were just gorgeous.
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Back at Rubh an Dunain, I stopped for another lengthy break. The hills were still clear but the cloud was increasing rapidly again from the south west.
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Rum and Canna away to the south looked very tempting, but I knew this weather window was forecast to be only a very brief one.
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Still, there was plenty of time to explore the many interesting natural and archaeological features around the point.
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Back on the water again for the final five kilometres back to the campsite, and the heat of the early afternoon had already gone. This is looking along the west coast towards Talisker and the Duirinish peninsular beyond.
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There are still plenty of interesting features to explore before you finally arrive back on the beach in Glen brittle.
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A last tiny inlet just before the beach has another fine little waterfall cascading down the rocks.
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The approaching cloud turned out to be little more than damp air and the following day actually turned out to be very hot again. Despite my intial disappointment at waking up on Glen Brittle campsite rather than at Coruisk I didn’t really regret my decision not to do the overnight trip. I've camped at Coruisk before and no doubt will again. Instead I had a fine day on my favourite part of the Cuillin ridge where I could look down on Coruisk, Soay and the Small Isles.
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Andrea Collins

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by johnb » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:39 pm

Thanks for sharing, made a wonderful work break!...

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by ian johnston » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:22 pm

Superb, asbsolutely superb! :o)

Kind Regards

Ian

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by soundoftheseagull » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:38 pm

Lovely pics thanks
Dave

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by active4seasons » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:05 pm

Thanks Andrea,

some lovely pics. It looks like you went past Soay to the North from West to East? Did you notice any tidal movement as I seem to remember the tide always runs West through there? The inlet to the North of Soay is a bit spooky - did you go in there? Is there some story that goes with it? Must be getting old cant remember anything?

Anyone help on this?

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Mark R » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:27 pm

active4seasons wrote:The inlet to the North of Soay is a bit spooky - did you go in there? Is there some story that goes with it? Must be getting old cant remember anything?
Location of Gavin Maxwell's shark processing plant.
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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by David A » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:26 pm

Hi Andrea, a fantastic set of pictures of this stunning environment. This could possibly be an area I will be kayaking this summer and I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on the portage from the head of Loch na Cuilce, along the river to Loch Coruisk. I would love to spend a couple of nights camping at the head of Loch Coruisk.

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:28 pm

What a really great trip and photos, Andrea!

Douglas :o)

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Stuart Yendle » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:41 pm

David A wrote:if anyone could give me advice on the portage from the head of Loch na Cuilce, along the river to Loch Coruisk
The beach is in Loch nan Leachd near the bad step. The walk up to Loch Coruisk is a bit of a difficult one, quite a long one as well. I haven't done it yet, mainly because I didn't want to carry it up on my own. Boggy, uneven and a bit of a scramble in places.

Great post, having done the trip twice from Elgol I was thinking of doing it this way next time and base ourselves at Glen Brittle camp site. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:12 pm

David A wrote:advice on the portage from the head of Loch na Cuilce, along the river to Loch Coruisk
We just waded up the river bed, pulling the boats with us. The paddle to the head of L Coruisk was well worth the effort.

As we waded up the river my friend was telling me about the bridge the Army built over the river (sometime around 1980?). He described how there were objections to taming the wilderness but locals said the bridge wouldn't last the first winter anyway - the Army had replied that it was bolted down with one inch diameter rock bolts - but the locals turned out to be right. As he finished the story, I spotted a rusty object in the water - it was a one inch diameter rock bolt with the expansion wedge fully set!

Chris

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Jim » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:33 pm

active4seasons wrote:Thanks Andrea,

some lovely pics. It looks like you went past Soay to the North from West to East? Did you notice any tidal movement as I seem to remember the tide always runs West through there?
You remember right, so going the way you describe would be the wrong way, however based on my memory of the rocks around Soay and Andrea's captions, she passed around the south side of Soay on the way to Coruisk, which is the best way. I'm not sure how fast the side in the sound of Soay gets, hasn't seemed that fast when I have been there, but we did follow it round.

active4seasons wrote:The inlet to the North of Soay is a bit spooky - did you go in there? Is there some story that goes with it?
Spooky inlet? That's Soay harbour!
It is as Mark says, I don't find it spooky, I love exploring the ruins! Space for a few tents opposite...

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by andreadawn » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:54 am

Ollie, Jim is right. I went anti clockwise around Soay so as to have the tide behind me on the return. I can't actually remember there being much flow though although I was hugging the Skye side of the sound very tightly so may have just been out of any current.

David, I'm not sure if this helps at all. There is a well worn path beside the Scavaig River thanks to the many people who arrive by ferry from Elgol. It is rather rough though. Coruisk can get quite busy in summer with campers. In addition to the yachts and climbing hut, there are at least four tents in this picture. Having said that I've had it to myself each time I have camped there in May/June. I'm guessing the head of Loch Coruisk will be less busy. Douglas has some superb photos of Coruisk and around on his original website which are well worth a look.
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Jim, I really must go back and explore Soay properly. So many things to do, so little time.

Andrea Collins

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Chris O » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:11 pm

Inspiring photos Andrea, thanks for posting them. We're on holiday in Lochcarron in May, and this is making me wish the months away. Someone needs to fix the A890 first though, or we'll have a very long detour to get to Skye! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-17230979

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by ArnoG » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:35 pm

Superb photos there Andrea, thanks for that.

Cheers

A.-

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by watt » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:48 pm

Fantastic pictures! Looks way more interesting than paddling the endless wadden sea over here...

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Juliejules » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:52 pm

What an inspiration Andrea.
Coruisk is top of my list - maybe out from Elgol, along to Glenbrittle and back via Soay. Soon.
Julie

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by jamesl2play » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:19 pm

There are some great pictures in that set Andrea. I have paddled there from Elgol, the trip from Glen Brittle is now on my list.
Is that the area where the old Viking canal is?

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Mark R » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:21 pm

jamesl2play wrote:Is that the area where the old Viking canal is?
It's on the end of Rubh an Dunain. Whatever it is, it's not a canal and it's unlikely to be anything to do with Vikings.
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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Owen » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:57 pm

Mark R wrote:
jamesl2play wrote:Is that the area where the old Viking canal is?
It's on the end of Rubh an Dunain. Whatever it is, it's not a canal and it's unlikely to be anything to do with Vikings.

I think it does date back to the time of Norse settlement, whether it was made by "Vikings" is another question. As I understand it it was used to get boats up from the sea into the inland Lochan. I think the sea level has changed a little since it was built but it would have only had enough water in it to float boats at high spring tides. I'd imagine it was used to get their boats up out of the water for over-wintering or for repair.

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Mark R » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:09 pm

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/11 ... ing+canal/

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/11 ... ing+canal/

It may well be something to do with Vikings! Seems the archaeologists have reinterpreted the site since I last read up on it...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-13284989
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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by David A » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:36 pm

Thanks for the reply Stuart,Chris and Andrea .
Chris Bolton wrote:We just waded up the river bed, pulling the boats with us. The paddle to the head of L Coruisk was well worth the effort.
I will have to get up there this year. It looks stunning.

David A.

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:24 pm

Chris>
We just waded up the river bed, pulling the boats with us. The paddle to the head of L Coruisk was well worth the effort.
Remember that Chris visited at high tide.

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Douglas :o)

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Ram-Leisure » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:31 am

Amazing pictures.

What kayak do you paddle Andrea?

Rich
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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:26 am

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Remember that Chris visited at high tide.
Good point, Douglas! It was 30 years ago and I didn't remember that myself, but looking at your photos I'm sure it must have been. I will have the slides in my archive so might dig them out and scan them. The other thought is that we camped near the hut and we would have left the tents, so were only pulling empty boats.

Chris

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Jim » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:33 pm

Chris O wrote:Inspiring photos Andrea, thanks for posting them. We're on holiday in Lochcarron in May, and this is making me wish the months away. Someone needs to fix the A890 first though, or we'll have a very long detour to get to Skye! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-17230979
You may have a long detour to get to Lochcarron in the first place, depending on which route you normally use.
I didn't realise they had put a ferry on temporarily since the landslip, does that mean the road signs to "Stromeferry (no ferry)" have had the "(no ferry)" covered up?

Depending on how light you are travelling the portage up the Scavaig river is pretty short, we normally land just west of the hut (seaweed covered beach), pull the boats up to the grass and walk around to Loch Coruisk for a spot of lunch etc. it can't be all that far to walk up to the head of the loch but I always figured it's one of those views that needs a bit distance to take it all in so I haven't, not have I considered carrying/floating my boat up. There are a few big steps up along the path but you could manhandle boats up and down if there were 2 or more of you, actually, there might be a couple of paths, could be we take the higher one? The path is not quite as clear on the ground as it is in Andrea's photo from the ridge.

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Jim » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:46 pm

Mark R wrote:http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/11 ... ing+canal/

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/11 ... ing+canal/

It may well be something to do with Vikings! Seems the archaeologists have reinterpreted the site since I last read up on it...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-13284989
I wish I'd known about this when I was last there, we took lunch on the opposite side of the headland landing on the rocky slabs. The sea was not exactly flat and even less so when we left, so only a complete idiot would turn around and make the landing again because I left my buoyancy aid on the beach - DOH! I think the rising waves would have curtailed any looking around anyway but it looks like a fascinating place, and presumably the archaeology can be seen without disturbing.

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by andreadawn » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:09 pm

Ram-Leisure wrote:What kayak do you paddle Andrea?
It's a Feathercraft K1.

Andrea Collins

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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:28 pm

Jim wrote:I left my buoyancy aid on the beach - DOH!
Much to Heather's dismay, I left a bottle of expensive whisky on that very same beach.
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Re: The Wrong Way to Coruisk

Post by Jim » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:40 pm

Mark R wrote:
Jim wrote:I left my buoyancy aid on the beach - DOH!
Much to Heather's dismay, I left a bottle of expensive whisky on that very same beach.
We didn't spot it, the archeaologists probably found and drank it - I've seen time team!

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