Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

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Douglas Wilcox
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Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

It had to happen sooner or later...

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At the beginning of the week we were paddling north of Ardnamurchan, just about the most westerly point on the British mainland.

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We had been tempted north by the settled calm spell...

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Unfortunately beaches we had intended to land at were unavailable due being rock gardens, washed by what Ian (a professional mariner) described as a "fluffy sea".

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We pressed on past bold headlands...

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...getting very thirsty as the persisting fluffy water prevented landing for second breakfast and first luncheon.

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Eventually we found a sheltered inlet...

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...where I prescribed a measured dose of Ian's golden steadying liquid.

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Suitably fortified, we paddled under snow capped mountains and...

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...birdie things. Eventually...

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...we found a break in the rocks, which led to...

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...a sheltered cove of...

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...white shell sand. It was time for Jennifer, Ian and I...

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...to enjoy our first swim of the season.

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As the sun dipped to the horizon...

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...we paddled...

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...back before...

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...it got too dark and we missed...

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...our tea.

Douglas

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Mark R
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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Mark R »

Magnificent.

Probably the place I liked most on the whole west coast, when I passed up that way. I didn't paddle the north coast though (crossed to Eigg), must get back.
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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Gorgeous!
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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Ceegee »

Beautiful photos Douglas, thanks

I particularly liked this one (Rum is a favourite spot of mine, I have spent days sitting on Askival looking across at Ardnamurchan)

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Cheers,
Steve C. G.

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by soundoftheseagull »

Fan blooming tastic
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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by PSK »

Very nice.

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by PhilAyr »

.... and some more from the same trip :

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and just to prove that Douglas and Ian actually went in ! ....

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Thanks for inviting me along Douglas..

Phil

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Yakdiver »

Cracking photos well done
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Taran Tyla
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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Taran Tyla »

Awesome trip & pictures, really love this one ;)

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by ian johnston »

It really was a marvellous trip :o)


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The contrast between the first two days of the trip was amazing. You have to make a considerable logistic effort to reach Portuairk, but the paddling more than rewards. Miles of exposed, wild coastline with the constant roar of surf.



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This was one of very few landing opportunities, and most of the others are on steep pebble beaches.




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We approached the finishing point quite late, and were treated to the first of a couple of incredible sunsets




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With a sublime palette of colour




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The following day was a truly blue day!




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Or should that be turqoise and white?........




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We took luncheon and enjoyed swims on glorious beaches




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In sparkling water under a warm sun




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Before heading back totally exhilarated




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To participate in another pyrotechnic sunset.




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We basked in a golden glow




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Which will leave memories for a lfetime......

More to come on blogs soon :o)

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by PeterC »

Cracking photo's as usual Douglas. Well done on such an inspiring mid winter trip....but swimming? Brrrr

Peter

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Grahamd »

Excellent report Douglas
However, you are obviously putting a brove face on things. Taking a swim is irrelvant when placed in the context of missed second breakfast, luncheon and tea. A total disaster!!

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Thank you all for the very kind comments. I also need to thank Phil and Ian for their great photos.

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In addition I have not been able to drive that far for over a year now, so I am particularly grateful to Mike and Ian for running the shuttle for the north coast of Ardnamurchan as it took 2 hours to set up due to the single track roads. I am also grateful to Phil for running Jennifer up for the second day in the Sound of Arisaig.

I have been out to Portuairk at the west end of Ardnamurchan about 5 times with sea kayaks but in the past have only had one car. In those trips we went round Ardnamurchan to Kilchoan and walked back to Portuairk, paddled out to Coll and Tiree and back and finally paddled round Ardnamurchan to the NW coast of Mull and back. This time it was a great opportunity to paddle the north coast of Arnamurchan. Due to the swell and the offshore wind holding the surf up it was only possible to have one luncheon at Fascadale Bay just round this corner:

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Mike ended up swimming in through the shore break.

Douglas

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by tommfuller »

A great trip, thanks for posting it. You're right though, that's a heck of a drive!

Cheers,

Tom.

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Jim »

You know I am slightly jealous, still hopefully things will slow down a bit at work in the next month or so and I'll find more time to get out!

Well done, I know this is the most challenging, and furthest afield thing you have been able to to do for a while, good to hear you are getting back to it!

Jim

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Hi Jim,

It was really good to get back north again. Fortunately it came just after I had some bad news at the orthopaedic clinic. The surgeon wants to operate on my "good" knee right away. I don't want to miss another summer so I have managed to stall him by asking for some physio to see if that will delay surgery. If it doesn't work, the operation will be in early April. It's a real bummer as I had great plans for Skye and the Outer Hebrides this summer. It took me near enough two years to get over the last operation on the other knee, so I am not particularly looking forward to another.

Funnily enough when we arrived at Portuairk it all came flooding back. The last time I was there was when I landed after my knee dislocation on Gunna in 2009. I am not feeling sorry for myself though. Also on that trip was our great friend Jim Broadfoot. He died of a massive heart attack the following year, he was only 50. We had celebrated his 50th on that trip round a camp fire at the north end of Coll before crossing back to Portuairk.

Make the most of it folks!

Douglas

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by nigelhatton »

It's always good to be alive and your photos make me wanna get a decent touring kayak. I'll have to go back to Scotland and do some more trips. What were those kayaks you guys used.

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Thank you Nigel, we had a P&H Quest, P&H Cetus MV, Tiderace Excite, Valley Nordkapp LV and Malin Gometra.

Douglas

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by Jim »

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Thank you Nigel, we had a P&H Quest, P&H Cetus MV, Tiderace Excite, Valley Nordkapp LV and Malin Gometra.

Douglas
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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by nickcrowhurst »

What a fabulous trip, and I mean fabulous, literally. We do live on an amazingly beautiful planet, and we are privileged to have such wonderful vessels to explore it, and the freedom so to do. Most people I know have no conception of the glories of our coastline, contained as they are within the standard tourist haunts. Douglas is so right about getting out in our kayaks while we have the health and fitness. Carpe every diem!
Nick.

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Re: Three unexpected swims north of Ardnamurchan!

Post by ccrowhurst »

Wholeheartedly agree father, get back here soon we can go find some more wonders of the world

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