St Kilda and Flannans crossings^

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mikeybarvas
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St Kilda and Flannans crossings^

Post by mikeybarvas » Sun May 14, 2006 8:24 pm

I am casting a net far and wide across the paddling world to see if I can get any help with information,contributions and contacts.I am pulling together a collection of stories/reports regarding crossings to St Kilda and the Flannans[also Sula Sgeir and North Rona,but thats only been done once!]There have been many[how many?] and I am trying to capture them for historical reasons but also as a recors to inspire and delight fellow paddlers.
The initial plan is to try and get a significant amount of contributions to perhaps make a publication possible with photos and info etc,but in essence it would be a collective effort if people are willing to share their stories and adventures with a wider public,any profit made would be reinvested in to the Stornoway Canoe Club and if we cant get it published then we will create a link on our website where people can read the reports and history...soooo...if you have paddled there or tried to or know of anyone who has please get in touch...I beleive the first crossing by kayak was 1989 by David Hayter...anyone know where i can contact him.....the first 2 way trip was 1991 by Donald Thomson...how many more have paddled out there,or sat around for weeks waiting for the weather,I have heard so many anecdotes but would really like the genuine first hand experiences.
The Flannans..when were they paddled to first,I had heard the first team out had to paddle back because they couldnt land,a guy called Andy Stamp I think, or was it a Stornoway Canoe Club trip in 1994[it was reported in the local paper they were the first?] who did get there first?????so many unanswered questions.please Pm me or open reply.I cant pay for any stories that may be used but full credit will be given for contributions and photos used,but you will be helping to benefit the paddling community as a whole but also the local club here.
I have already had a commitment from a very renowned paddler to do a foreward so hope that will context any publication arising.I am also aware that a lot of adventures and crossings have been private and personal affairs and people dont like to be seen to brag about them,or perhaps share mishaps!..but please be tempted to share and at least help us record these trips for the future!
Also if there are any manufacturers ,companies etc who may wish to advertise,or endorse etc etc,please get in touch.
I feel this will be a great addition to the paddling world of books/guides and it will also serve as an attempt to get an accurate historical record of some of the commiting paddles done in this part of the world.
If nothing else we can pull together a good collection of stories and info on our website.
Any advice contacts,thoughts would be very welcome
Mike Sullivan Stornoway Canoe Club
Last edited by mikeybarvas on Sun May 14, 2006 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike Sullivan

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Helen M
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Post by Helen M » Sun May 14, 2006 9:59 pm

Great idea - and on so many peoples wish list. Am sure someone will be able to help. Wish I could!

H - x

CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Sun May 14, 2006 10:11 pm

Mike,

Trust your behaving out on Lewis ;-) Sun burnt after being on water today - deceived by the cloudy/windy conditions. Have you seen Justine C's expedition database? Type in St Kilda and there is 2 entries which bounce back.

Have Andy Stamp's email address will PM you it. How about a wee bit about what inspires people to tackle these long open water crossing - few pages? Have photo's from trip out to the Flannan's Murdie, Calum and I did when I was wee lad if you wish? Happy to write up a wee piece on it? Especially if any proceeds are going to Stornoway Canoe Club. Also my St Kilda photo's - your most welcome to any of them.

What about Sule Skerry - any one paddled out there?

CaileanMac

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savegemountains
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Post by savegemountains » Sun May 14, 2006 10:34 pm

Mike - I know that a friend Al Hughes did the St. Kilda trip some time back. I remember him telling me about weather watching for ages, and then seeing a massive high pressure settle over the area, and then peg it up to do the trip. Not sure who it was with? You can contact him via Justine Curgenven.

I'm still planning on a Flannan trip when my time off and weather window coincide -hope I'll be able to do it in time. Are you interested in a Skye - Shiants trip story, or is that too straight forward?

Your project sounds like an excellent idea overall.

Jim

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Post by Owen » Mon May 15, 2006 10:14 am

On a similar vain does anyone know of anyone paddling from Tiree to Castle Bay via Barra Head?

ian.miller
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Post by ian.miller » Mon May 15, 2006 2:13 pm

Mike - On the subject of St. Kilda you will probably find that the first recorded trip was by Hamish and Anne Gow in a double long before 1989. I know of two Fife paddlers who had been out well before that year and I suspect the list is probably surprisingly long. The one you note may be the first solo outing. I'm also fairly certain that Ken Spence of the Lothians club has been out to Sula Sgeir about 3 or 4 years ago. Ken never does things the easy way and persuaded a fellow club member to act as stoker in a fast double and they did it in a one day trip there and back from the North Coast.

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fruitcake
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Post by fruitcake » Mon May 15, 2006 11:16 pm

hi Mike
i can get hold of David Hayter for you - I'll see if i can get his tel no and drop you a pm
D

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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Tue May 16, 2006 7:57 am

CaileanMac wrote: Have you seen Justine C's expedition database?
Just had a look at the above- blimey! There's a huge amount of information in there! There are a few obvious recent trips missing (Simon Osbourne's circumnavs of Britain & Ireland, for example) but what a resource. Go and have a look- it's fascinating.

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Post by CaileanMac » Tue May 16, 2006 6:54 pm

Zoe,

Justine's database has real potential to a very useful resource but as you comment yourself it's missing some trips at present. It will be interesting to watch it grow and develop.

Ian Millar
I'm also fairly certain that Ken Spence of the Lothians club has been out to Sula Sgeir about 3 or 4 years ago. Ken never does things the easy way and persuaded a fellow club member to act as stoker in a fast double and they did it in a one day trip there and back from the North Coast.
Sula Sgeir (10 NM SE of North Rona) or Sule Skerry? Any idea from where on the North Coast and what boat they used?

CaileanMac

Ron Mather
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St Kilda

Post by Ron Mather » Wed May 17, 2006 6:03 pm

Mike - Did the crossing with Donald in 1991.
Have an good article with pictures that was written for our inhouse magaze by a reporter. My email is in the SCA yearbook if you want to get in touch. ron Mather

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St Kilda crossing and exped database

Post by justinecurgenven » Wed May 17, 2006 10:17 pm

Alun Hughes thinks that he and Nigel Foster were the first people to cross to St Kilda in single kayaks in 1984 (Alun in a nordkapp and Nigel in a vyneck) - they didn't paddle back because Alun had tinosinovitis ( sp?) and the authorities on St Kilda wanted them to leave as quickly as possible -Alun thinks they were suspicious that they were spies becuase no-one had ever kayaked there before ( since 1965). They returned on the ferry.

This was their third attempt to do the crossing. The second attempt they got as far as the Monarchs but bad weather came in and they returned to Skye.

It's good to see people are looking at the expedition database and to read your comments. I think we've got a good start but I know we are missing a huge number of expeditions so please email me with details of trips we dont list so we can make it more complete. You can email info @cackletv.com

Thanks!
Justine

ian.miller
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Post by ian.miller » Fri May 19, 2006 1:00 pm

in answer to CaileanMac's query I'm certain it was Sula Sgeir and the boat was the Kirton kayak's double which has a name I can't remember.
The same pair subsequently put in a fast St.Kilda trip and found themselves made less than welcome by the NT as they had missed their planned paddle on an earlier date because of a poor weather forecast. I seem to remember that the lack of welcome contributed to their decision to turn round and paddle back the next day. knowing ken it wouldn't have surprised me if he'd decided to turn back on the same day!!

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Post by NickB » Fri May 19, 2006 2:23 pm

ian.miller wrote:in answer to CaileanMac's query I'm certain it was Sula Sgeir and the boat was the Kirton kayak's double which has a name I can't remember.
Probably the Kirton Voyager or the Niort (sp??)
Cheers
Nick Benny

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mikeybarvas
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St Kilda and Flannans crossings

Post by mikeybarvas » Fri May 19, 2006 10:45 pm

There have been some very good responses and PMs and some great stories around all the crossings,and some commitments already to contribute,so thanks for all the help.I havent had much info regarding crossings to the Flannans,perhaps this hasnt been paddled to as much as St kilda,which is a pity as they are a fantastic set of isolated islands,and have a very special atmosphere...if you dont believe me....go there!
So please keep the contacts coming,but also let me know if you think a book about this would be a good idea.
Mike
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Sun May 21, 2006 9:00 pm

I was just looking up the Flannans on a map...they aren't outrageously far offshore, are they?

They look awesome, added to my wishlist.

These are the islets with the story about the missing lighthousemen, right?
Mark Rainsley
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CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Sun May 21, 2006 11:33 pm

MarkR,

Indeed they are the Islands with the disappearing lighthouse keepers and they aren't a mega distance offshore - 18 nautical miles......but that all depends on what you class as 'long' or 'far' ;-)

CaileanMac

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mikeybarvas
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flannans

Post by mikeybarvas » Sun May 21, 2006 11:43 pm

Yes,thats the islands,there are lots of conspiracy theories as to why they disappeared,but there was a belter of a storm the week before and they reckon two went to secure a storage box and one was swept away the other went for help and another big wave came and got them both.On the island you can see where the sea waves have bent the railings some 60 feet up so it seems likeley.the other[less credible ]theory was that a lovers tiff went too far,you know 3 men in a lighthouse for months,jealousy,rage,alcohol etc etc.apparantly 4 years before one keeper was tied up for a week because he had some kind of a breakdown and his colleagues were a bit feart of him!But thats the great thing about mysteries,no one will ever know.
Anyway they are not creepy islands and are very acheivable as a crossing and fantastic birdlife and isolation,some say even better than St Kilda with some technical landings..dont forget the throwropes.
Mike
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Mon May 22, 2006 12:12 am

CaileanMac wrote:that all depends on what you class as 'long' or 'far' ;-)
Longest open crossing I've done is 28 miles, longest I've done alone is 20. I keep looking at the distance to St Kilda, but in all honesty I really don't know if I can actually paddle that far. The Flannans might just be a worthy alternative, next time I'm up that way.
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Tue May 23, 2006 11:49 pm

Mark Rainsley
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CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Wed May 31, 2006 11:53 pm

MarkR
I keep looking at the distance to St Kilda, but in all honesty I really don't know if I can actually paddle that far.
A fast double sea kayak - cruise at 5-6 knots? 6-8hr crossing?

CaileanMac

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Post by CaileanMac » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:01 am

MarkR,

More info on the Flannan Isles Lighthouse Keeper's mystery is here.

CaileanMac

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:18 pm

CaileanMac wrote:MarkR
I keep looking at the distance to St Kilda, but in all honesty I really don't know if I can actually paddle that far.
A fast double sea kayak - cruise at 5-6 knots? 6-8hr crossing?

CaileanMac
Eeek, using a partner, hadn't thought of that...but it doesn't really go along with my mindset. I tend to think that if I can't do something myself, then I can't do it. Probably a stupid attitude.


Great Flannans link, thanks.
Mark Rainsley
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