West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

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OGB
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West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by OGB » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:01 am

Last weekend I had the opportunity to land at Arisaig and had previously done so at the slip. Due to the extensive drying mudflat of a beach, this has always been the better alternative to a slippery slog up the slime.
As I approached the slip I was advised by a member of the local kayaking community - who was in the process of landing herself - that I and my party were not allowed to land at the slip and should go elsewhere. She wasn't rude, just quite "twitched". Perhaps she thought someone might think we'd got her permission to be there.
I subsequently made a few enquiries and it turns out that the slipway has been funded and provided for the use of the yottie community. There has recently been a degree of friction caused by visiting sea kayakers using the slip to launch and leaving cars parked in a way that restricts or even denies access to those that have actually paid for the privilege of doing so. As a result, the use of the slip seems to be a bit of a contentious issue for us as "passing trade".
The same goes for a number of other popular locations on the West coast. My local patch in Moray/Aberdeenshire has a number of similar hotspots but the locals have alleviated the problem by introducing a charge for using the facilities. £5 per boat in some cases. Personally, I feel that this is extortionate given the limited use that we make of them, but if the charge is for a day (or 2 or 3) parking, then maybe not so bad....But I wouldn't want to see this approach adopted elsewhere just to make a point. Our remote communities want to attract visitors not drive them away, but some are under pressure from many different users.

Most of us that use the area regularly are aware of the priorities and politics. Can I make a plea to those who are occasional or once-a-year visitors? Please have some sympathy for the fact that after you've gone home, others have to deal with the fallout generated by thoughtless behaviour, unintentional though I'm sure it is. A little consideration, and perhaps parking somewhere more sensible, will solve the problem at Arisaig and may help to improve our profile in some other areas too.

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MikeB
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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by MikeB » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:12 pm

Useful info and background - thanks for highlighting this.

If nothing else, it suggests that issues revolving around the general concept of "access" are not only still there, but may well even be getting worse.

Mike

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Jim
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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Jim » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:00 pm

It is a good point, and I can think of several locations where I have launched/landed at or beside a slip or jetty having taken great care either to leave sufficient access for the bigger boats that need to use it, or after asking someone working on/around the harbour area.

Ulva Ferry, and Easdale Ferry are 2 that spring to mind as having real potential for problems although at Easdale you can use the beach beside the ferry at most tide states, and Ulva has designated parking and rules since coming to head in the past.

Other spots where I have felt it necessary to make room or ask locals are:
Elgol - we chatted to the fishermen first and accessed via the slip and then onto the beach leaving the slip clear, and parking well clear (shuttle cars back up the hill) - if you have seen the fishing fleet racing in to unload and the catch being transferred to a van you will appreciate just how cramped and hectic it really is down there for that half hour or so of the day!
Old Dornie - the fishermen were never around when we arrived but we follow the same principle of getting clear of the slip ASAP and watching where you park in case you block a trailer in or something (the harbour area was always pretty chaotic when I've been up there!).

I know I have used many other slips over the years but can't think where they were - my principle is to never leave kayaks laying on a slipway, get them off onto the beach, rocks, or up to the cars ASAP, or when that isn't feasible, squeeze them all up to one edge and move them as soon as possible. So far I don't think I have ever caused anyone inconvenience.

A few times dive boats, power boats and even sailing boats have arrived after us, rigged and launched before we even finished loading our kayaks - always a good reason not to spread your kayaks out on the slip just because there is no-one else about when you arrive!

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by R3V » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:39 pm

I don't think we should confuse slip usage and "access" as the same issue. SOme slips are public and some aren't. Even a fair number of public slips have launching fees for all boats, even for small dinghies whether sailing or rowing. IMO there is no reason why kayaks should be exempt from these fees as they are only a type of paddling boat . There is usually an alternative which can be used but may be more inconvenient/difficult. Fully agree abput keeping clear of fisherman earning there livlihood unloading the catch:they tend to shout at anyone/anything who fractionally delays them unloading or setting off. Rest of the time I find them freindly though!

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by MikeB » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:04 pm

R3V wrote:I don't think we should confuse slip usage and "access" as the same issue.
But the two are quite often intrinsically linked - my point being that access to the water, and somewhere to leave cars et al are all fundamental necessities. We ignore "access" at our peril, the SLRA notwithstanding.

There is some excellent work underway to develop a west coast "trail" with parking and launching facilities - which is wonderful. But do we really want to find ourselves in a position where we are directed down a set route, and other access / launch points become more difficult as people (understandably) in the local area feel we've been provided for.

Arduine is a case in point - when the campsite closed, access / launching became a far more difficult proposition in that specific area, a jumping off point to some of the finest sea kayaking in Scotland.

WIth the SLRA being reviewed, how dangerous is it not to have a dedicated Access person employed by the SCA - something we lost when the funding was withdrawn.

Mike.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by R3V » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:07 pm

Hi Mike

I dont disagree with you in that from a usage point of view they are linked but from a legal rights point of view they are separate. it would be akin to saying because i can drive my car on any public road it means i can park it in your drive or aross the end of your driveway whenever i want to.
The yacht clubs i have been accosiated with have never had a problem with people using there slipways if it recognised as 1) occasional or 2) a favour or 3) approriate slipway fees paid. It was the repeated use or frequent use taken for granted and interfering with the people who paid for the use and upkeep which was the problem. I appreciate issues may be different in Scotland to where i have been but the principle is the same isn't it?

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Rorqual » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:12 pm

Just a thought, that if an incident report form on the SCA "Access "& environment " web page is completed with full details then this will be passed to the access & environment sea & coastal volunteer committe member for action.
Hope this help re an option

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by MikeB » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:25 pm

R3V wrote:Hi Mike

I dont disagree with you in that from a usage point of view they are linked but from a legal rights point of view they are separate. it would be akin to saying because I can drive my car on any public road it means I can park it in your drive or aross the end of your driveway whenever I want to.
The yacht clubs I have been accosiated with have never had a problem with people using there slipways if it recognised as 1) occasional or 2) a favour or 3) approriate slipway fees paid. It was the repeated use or frequent use taken for granted and interfering with the people who paid for the use and upkeep which was the problem. I appreciate issues may be different in Scotland to where I have been but the principle is the same isn't it?
I'm not disagreeing - the key point though is about being able to actually get on the water. Increasingly, that is becoming more and more difficult in a great many parts of the countryside. My point is about not thinking that access problems have magically gone away in Scotland thanks to the Land Reform Act. They haven't. Mike.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by MikeK » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:31 pm

I would just like to draw the thread back to the original post by OGB.
I have already had email correspondence with 'OGB' prior to his post. Arisaig Marine had numerous lengthy chats with me to air their grievance about a minority of seakayakers who use the marina slip to put in. In general, they don't have a problem but there are a few rules they would like users of the slip to adhere to.
1. Ask before using, you will then be directed to the best place to unload. Immediately in front of the slip has limited access, if they need to use that access it might not be convenient to block it, even for a short while.
2. Do not park in the marina grounds. They simply don't have enough space, especially when busy.
3. Do not block the slip. They have had complaints from yacht owners that pay them to moor their boats, access the slip with their tenders and carry or trolley their tender up to their storage spot. The complaint being that the slip has several kayaks on it, blocking it for up to one hour while denying access to others. This infuriates the yachties and therefore the marina owners.
4.If approaching from the sea, carry your kayak up and off the slip. Put it somewhere that is tucked out of the way and to the best of your knowledge will not cause inconvenience. Then go and ask permission to leave the kayak if going to the pub or shop etc. You might be asked to move the kayak, a pain I know but it's the best way to foster good relations. If the marina is closed, short of carrying your boat off their premises I have no advice to offer other than pre-arranging a leaving spot.

If at all possible, buy a coffee, tea or even gift from the marina tea room and shop. They would like that and it would help me in my dealings with them.

I have been trying to establish a friendly kayakers code of use with the marina owners for some 3 years now but this has proved difficult. They are against charging a launch/landing fee but have the notion that kayakes contribute nothing to their business only aggravation. I was told that on one occasion, they even had to chase after a kayaker who paddled off, leaving his car completely blocking access to the slip and pier. His response was rude saying he wasn't going to return until the evening but did eventually offer his car keys for them to move it. This was quickly re thought when told they would use a crane not his keys if he didn't come back and do it himself. At least I have managed to stop them banning kayak use of the slip altogether. Not sure how they would enforce that, but that was their position two years ago.
I would suggest the above "Rules" for want of a better term, are worthy of consideration to be applied at all access points kayakes use.
One final point. The member of the local kayaking community OGB refers to has had several chats with the marina and is quite definitely very twitchy about whether she should even be using the facility herself. I feel rather over zealous in her direction to OGB though, which is regrettable.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:13 am

I have used this slipway with no problems over the last 9 years. It is not a public slipway and recognising that I always go to the office and ask politely if I can use it. I have never been refused and several times I have been told that there was room to leave a car. The last time I used it was in August two years ago. I loaded my kayak onto a trolley up in the car/boat park and wheeled it down ready for a quick getaway, 5 kayakers were spread all over the slipway with all their kit as they attempted to load. I had to politely ask if they would mind moving a couple of kayaks to let me through. I then got an ear-full from a yachtie waiting in a tender on the water who thought I was with the five on the slip.

Common sense and courtesy make the world a better place.

There is a public slip in Mallaig to the north and another at Glenuig to the south but these are also used by other people.

Douglas

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by MikeK » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:06 am

The experience Douglas has pointed out only goes to reinforce the point that there are kayakers out there who need educating. This forum is unlikely to be viewed by many, if any, of the people we are hoping to educate.
Another slip not mentioned is Lochailort. This has a lot of kayak use, the issue of blocking it doesn't really apply as it is rarely used by other craft, the problem here is parking. It's other problem and therefore another topic is dis-repair. Council owned and falling down. Should the kayak community help? Just thought I would raise awareness on this.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by PeterG » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:50 am

There are several places where MacBrayne has the only feasible spot to land if you are on your own and need to get the boat onto a trolley to wheel it away loaded. East Tarbert (Kintyre) springs to mind. I'm always careful to ask if there is anyone around, or if not check the timetable to see that there is a 15 minute window to get yourself completely clear. It would only need one slow party faffing on the slip to sour relations completely.

Skyeferry at Kylerhea will give you a friendly sign (10 fingers raised) for 'you've got 10 minutes to land and get clear' if you are waiting for him to leave the slip so you can use it.

Sometimes tying up to a pier and climbing the ladder is the best solution if going shopping (example Uig at LW), the fishermen have always been really friendly when I've asked. Once again it wouldn't need much for them to adopt a different attitude.

Seamanship does not end when you enter harbour or reach the shore.

Parking is another issue entirely.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by MikeB » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:33 am

MikeK wrote:I would just like to draw the thread back to the original post by OGB.
I have already had email correspondence with 'OGB' prior to his post. Arisaig Marine had numerous lengthy chats with me to air their grievance about a minority of seakayakers who use the marina slip to put in. In general, they don't have a problem but there are a few rules they would like users of the slip to adhere to.
1. Ask before using, you will then be directed to the best place to unload. Immediately in front of the slip has limited access, if they need to use that access it might not be convenient to block it, even for a short while.
2. Do not park in the marina grounds. They simply don't have enough space, especially when busy.
3. Do not block the slip. They have had complaints from yacht owners that pay them to moor their boats, access the slip with their tenders and carry or trolley their tender up to their storage spot. The complaint being that the slip has several kayaks on it, blocking it for up to one hour while denying access to others. This infuriates the yachties and therefore the marina owners.
4.If approaching from the sea, carry your kayak up and off the slip. Put it somewhere that is tucked out of the way and to the best of your knowledge will not cause inconvenience. Then go and ask permission to leave the kayak if going to the pub or shop etc. You might be asked to move the kayak, a pain I know but it's the best way to foster good relations. If the marina is closed, short of carrying your boat off their premises I have no advice to offer other than pre-arranging a leaving spot.

If at all possible, buy a coffee, tea or even gift from the marina tea room and shop. They would like that and it would help me in my dealings with them.
Sound suggestions.

Some years ago it was possible to launch out of Craobh Haven marina, and leave cars, on payment of "slipage" - which was fine. That subsequently changed and while I never managed to get to the bottom of exactly why we were refused, it seemed that there had been some problems.

I'll add another suggestion, which is about shopping locally wherever possible - and by that I mean all the necessities for the trip. Accepting that many places won't have adequate shops, there are many which do. This was one of the issues raised when the campervan community started going to the outer isles - they took almost everything "in" and bought little locally except bread and milk.

Good seamanship - and good manners and consideration go a long way.

MIke.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by OGB » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:55 am

MikeK wrote: Another slip not mentioned is Lochailort. This has a lot of kayak use, the issue of blocking it doesn't really apply as it is rarely used by other craft, the problem here is parking.
Unfortunately parking isn't the only problem. Recently a member of the Inverness Club parked there - and I know that he wouldn't have done so carelessly. When he returned to his car he found, luckily before driving off, a Stanley knife blade wedged between one of his tyres and the ground - pointy end up! Someone must've been upset enough to do this and we'll never know why, unless it was just a mindless act carried out by a passer-by. Likely?
The implications here are possibly ambiguous, but we don't go there anymore. Nor do we go to the hotel just around the corner for a post-paddle coffee either....

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Jim » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:14 pm

I did a trip from Croabh Haven a few years ago, I was actually supposed to be racing my friends yacht but it was too windy for them. I asked at the Marina office and was told no because the yacht owners get nervous about kayaks paddling amongst the yachts (bearing in mind I was in company with a yacht owner at the time), I was told I could launch from the north beach behind their trailer parking area or to try the outdoor centre accross the causeway. For me as a day trip with my friend to help me carry the boat down, the beach to the north was fine, but it would not be ideal for setting off for a week or if you have had ACL surgery or something, it is a steep bank :)

I think I have used the slip at Lochailort, I wasn't sure if it was a public one or a private one. I also can't recall where the guys parked but it was very much a drop the boats and kit off and then move the cars ASAP type affair. My recollection is of something quite long and narrow, and maybe not a slip at all but a jetty? Maybe that's the disrepair?

The interesting thing is that later on that trip we visited the Glenuig inn - wasn't aware that they were kayak friendly at the time but we did land outside and send some drier people in for beer and ended up going in for food! We then finished the trip there another day, but I think we got off at the slip to avoid cluttering and changing in front of the pub, and because we came in pretty hot with a good tailwind and waves and I wasn't sure how easy it would be to land on the rocky beach! We actually landed on the beach on the downwind side of the slip, but it is another spot where there is very limited space to load, and since the Glenuig Inn advertises to kayakers I would always go there for a pint and a meal and ask permission to launch off the beach!

The public slip in Mallaig is nasty, well it was 15 years ago! It is another steep bank and limited parking but for kayaking I would launch on the River Morar (move cars to the small car park, don't leave in the layby). We had a sailing dinghy, small powerboat and inflatable to launch at Mallaig, coming back we asked at the boatyard because the public slip was so traumatic! I seem to recall there is nowhere to park at either and the road is very narrow so you have to be pretty slick to avoid annoying the entire town!

I have never actually launched in Arisaig, or even paddled into it, but if staying the night before and after a trip I have found the local campsites to be quite accommodating, with beach access. I guess it is a really popular spot for day tripping though.

I have to say I find it amazing how often slips are involved, I would rather launch from a beach any day, even a stony one! I usually only use slips to get onto the adjacent beach!

One spot I visit often we pull up at a slipway to go to the pub, we always land beside the slip rather than on it and have a good rapport with the local boat owners, and the pub. Actually, I haven't been for ages, need to get my act together!

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:24 pm

Jim>
One spot I visit often we pull up at a slipway to go to the pub, we always land beside the slip rather than on it and have a good rapport with the local boat owners, and the pub. Actually, I haven't been for ages, need to get my act together!
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You will indeed Jim. Also we do put change in the donations box at the harbour.

Douglas :o)

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Colin C » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:44 pm

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Jim>

One spot I visit often we pull up at a slipway to go to the pub, we always land beside the slip rather than on it and have a good rapport with the local boat owners, and the pub. Actually, I haven't been for ages, need to get my act together!

That looks like Dunure, and last time I was there I made a donation to the harbour trust and they were happy for us to leave our car and use the beach.

Colin

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:28 pm

Spot on Colin, our little group has made a significant contribution to the local economy over the last 11 years!
Douglas :o)

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Owen » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:50 pm

Jim wrote:
The public slip in Mallaig is nasty, well it was 15 years ago! It is another steep bank and limited parking but
There's a shingle beach at low tide at the back of the bay, Mallaig is the only place I know with signs saying "parking for up to 10 days". These signs are all around the bay stacks of parking.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Jim » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:37 am

Owen wrote:
Jim wrote:
The public slip in Mallaig is nasty, well it was 15 years ago! It is another steep bank and limited parking but
There's a shingle beach at low tide at the back of the bay, Mallaig is the only place I know with signs saying "parking for up to 10 days". These signs are all around the bay stacks of parking.
To clarify, the steep bank and limited parking referred to the River Morar.
The comments about Mallaig were based on 3 cars with boat trailers, not so relevant for kayaks except to illustrate that asking about helped!

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Robert Craig » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:45 pm

While I couldn't disagree with the need to be considerate in parking and use of slips, and the need for recreational users to keep clear of those making a living, it would be interesting to know which slips have been paid for by public money.

There is a general need for a bit of public money to be spent improving access from road to sea - doesn't need concrete slips, just somewhere to park and a bit of access facilitation. Problem, I suppose, is that such things are generally funded locally, despite being for national benefit.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Boots » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:06 pm

This slipway Jim? Sailed from here back to Arasaig a great change to paddling. The port control were very helpful and even warned us of the steep ramp but we found it ok even with a dinghy. And there is parking for free at end of the harbour
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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Jim » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:41 pm

Yes that slip.
Not sure why we had such a hard time, it was a long time ago - maybe there was just more green slime on the steep section? Maybe the drivers weren't very experienced with slips?

When we returned there was a force 6 blowing right into the harbour and it was rough everywhere unless you were close to the piers! The powerboat we had left on a mooring (which we were pointed to after asking around about where we could leave it) the previous day after an exciting trip in having passed the point of being committed before we realised it, the other boats got towed back by something larger. It was a good week!

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Grian » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:59 am

Re parking at Ulva Ferry

Many people put in in Laggan Bay area and the farmer overlooking the bay is likely to be amenable to people leaving their cars in her yard so long as its not unusually busy. She has just started paddling and really enjoys meeting folk accessing the water locally.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laggan-U ... ref=stream

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by PeterG » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:01 pm

Seeing the post viewtopic.php?f=4&t=129195 on Ulva and toilets that became a discussion on access, I thought I'd resurrect this thread.

We had some problems at Ulva recently, a man in a 4wd pick-up more or less told us to go home and not come back, however, a lady who said she was Ulva born and bred suggested we ignore him and invited us to use the corner of the car park. This was down at the slipway and not near the Turus Mara car parking. However, there is obviously friction in some quarters.

Camping on Canna a lady asked us why we were camping on the beach and not at the campsite, which she admitted was run by her sister. We just said it was too far from access to the sea, which she found fair enough. Only 1/3 of the yachtsmen using the community moorings pay their fee in the honesty box, so she said on reflection that kayakers had quite a good track record of contributing to the community.

Apart from Ulva Ferry I've never met anything other than friendly helpfulness around slipways and piers when asking advice on where would be a good place to launch and park.

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:19 pm

Basically, just try to find out about local conditions/problems beforehand, rather than assuming you have the right (that can be on arrival)

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Re: West Coast - keep the locals sweet!

Post by Grian » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:02 pm

Re Laggan parking, the yard is now too busy to accommodate extra vehicles. 2 - 3 cars are more likely to fit in space below the house opposite the telephone exchange and field gate. This is used at times for other purposes so it’s appreciated if people ask before leaving cars. :)

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