Brief report from Jim (no, really)

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Mark R
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Brief report from Jim (no, really)

Post by Mark R » Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:35 pm

This was sent two days ago....
----------------
Hi Mark,
Only have mobile access so I'll email this brief report. Heard briefly from the trip sub5rider was on that they had spent 2.5 days stormbound in a small cove in the outer hebrides with a force 9, we were luckier:

Sat - Morar to Armadale, direct crossing of around 13.5km (plus 1.5 for getting out of the river). Probably force 3 gusting 4, we managed to split up almost immediately - the double being loads faster than Dad & I, I was concerned that I might have to report that Dad was last seen going strong for the point of Sleat, luckily he was going fast enough that even going way south he came into view before I got worried. A mental note was made not to split up in future.

Sun - Left Armadale in calm weather and got to Isle Ornsay for lunch and then headed north for a short crossing to the Sandaig Isles. I was weathercocking with a light beam wind (dont mention deck cargo!) and decided to not go as far north as planned - excellent choice, turned 4kmph fighting the wind into 7kmph running diagonally before it! Reasonable campsite (bit touristy) but firewood was far too damp for a decent fire. 19.5km

Mon - a bit choppy setting out but not too bad. Went into Loch Hourn and had lunch at Arnisdale, Then down to Barrisdale (more weathercocking but I was able to surf in close to shore and zigzag back out which worked well (max speed 10.4kmph!). Barrisdale beach is mostly shells and shallow for miles making landing difficult, the bothy is effectively 1km inland so we left and found a spit/tidal island to camp on. Bugger all firewood and loads of rain. Another 19.5 km day.

Tue - I lay in the tent listening to the squalls battering it between lulls, and considering that it must be westerly weather which we were mostly sheltered from. We got up. loaded in the rain and set off. As soon as we turned the corner we met a stiff westerly so hugged what shelter we could. At one regrouping we identified that round the next point it could get worse - it did F5, gusting 6! Before the final modicum of shelter (regrouping point) the double was waved in by a couple at an unnamed house who advised not rounding the point (we had started looking for a campsite) and offered to let us stay in a converted outbuilding - they accepted! We managed 9.2km before wind stopped play.

Wed - Stormbound! Spent most of the day in the barn, but used a clear spell to hike along to Rubha Slisneach to confirm that despite appearances at our sheltered spot there was a southerly force 7 lashing up the sound - even at a great distance I could see that the waves were breaking over the Armadale ferry!

Thu - Forecast was for manageable weather so we made a break for it. Wind was SE or S (more weathercocking on SW leg!) and up to about 4 or 5 briefly. Airor provided no shelter so lunched at Sandaig. A lot of residual SW swell made things interesting but in big waves weathercocking is no problem, so I convinced the others to go direct to Mallaig into the waves - worked well, although after an hour paddling at the light on Sgeir Dearg I got fixated and almost failed to miss it!
Very choppy on the final leg to Morar but my concerns about surf over the bar were unfounded. Finished the last day (a day early having binned plans for Loch Nevis) in glorious sunshine, first of the trip, with a 25.2km day.

JIM

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sub5rider
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Re: Hebridean Ordeal

Post by sub5rider » Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:20 pm

Heard briefly from the trip sub5rider was on that they had spent 2.5 days stormbound in a small cove in the outer hebrides
Well, briefly....

Day1, Sat

Three of us, Nordkapp Guru, me + newbie paddler arrive Lochmaddy on ferry @ 1600hrs, faff, and depart paddling N, aiming for "Hermatray" (anglicised phonetic spelling) which is the first island in the SE corner of Sound of Harris. Arrived to find 20+ members of Aberdeen CC already ensconced. Newbie knackered (after 12k) so forced to stay & camp in most exposed spot fully open to westerlies, but OK as it happened

Day2, Sun

Newbie has the trots, stays in camp chomping immodium. Phil and I play "Pooh sticks" with our kayaks in the SoH trying to make sense of the tidal flows. Pilot is contradictory. Spent a pleasant afternoon, blue sky, sunshine, views, pair or otters, etc doing about 15k. Back to camp to find ACC departed back to Lochmaddy from whence they came, then to SE corner of island with binos to look for the "A Team". Their description, not mine. Eventually saw 4 kayaks come out of Lochmaddy (we were expecting 6) heading steadfastly straight downwind back to Skye. Another 2 newbie sea-paddlers in this group. Kittens started appering en masse, VHF's & phones turned on. When about 2k offshore they turned N and started towards us. Meanwhile the other two had come around the corner and were, sensibly, sneaking up close in. All got in just before sunset. No wood within a kilometer as ACC had burned it all ...

Day3, Mon

SW force 4-5 forecast, so we decide to go south hugging cliffs to stay out of wind, making for Floddaymore in the channel twixt NU & Benbecula.
Got about 8k past Lochmaddy when newbie was tired, again, and ended up pulling into this little cove:
here
No wood, but 2 streams, and tents scattered over half an acre and 100ft altitude. Blowing half a gale by this time, and raining off & on. Beach with wood discovered a kilometer away over moorland bog. We got some wood.

Day4, Tue

Forget what was forecast, but windy. And wet. Declared day of rest for some reason. I was happy, I had a library. Wet, windy & miserable all day. Went to t'other beach for more wood. Late SF foretold F8 SE in the morrow. Decided to be on the water at 0900hrs and to go back North.


Day5, Wed

Packed up, in the rain. At 0900 6 of the 9 were ready to go, and the seastate was OK, with little wind. By the time we got started at 1100 it was 5-6 with lots of white-caps. I had three waves break over my head whilst getting off the beach, loosing protractor compass & BDH with "snap" in it.
Distinctly uncomfortable at entrance to cove as SE swell was feeling the bottom; very short steep sea, a bit better further out but I don't like having the first 8 feet of my boat in mid air whilst waves pass underneath. Anyway aged newbie capsizes at the cove entrance, is quickly and efficiently rescued and shoved back in his boat and we all head for the "beach" again, where we spend 2 hours watching the conditions before finally calling it a day and putting the tents up again. Discover a set of paddles was lost during rescue. Wet & miserable all day, no wood left on t'other beach so we all fester in tents which are now packed much closer together due to the stream being too high to cross safely...

Day 6 Thu

Rousted out of bed @ 06-something by Phil who had heard the morning forecast which was 4-5 (I think), possibly 9 later. All on the water by 0800hrs!! There's a swell, but perfectly manageable nothing like the day before, and the wind is southerly on our backs. Aged newbie capsizes again, identical manouvre, almost the same place! Rescued, stuffed back in the boat (2 electric pumps emptying boat), rafted tandem tow for 6km to a point where the swell subsided. Into Lochmaddy with 6 hour wait for 1600 ferry to Uig, but hey, the pub's open!

Day 7 Fri

Day paddle talked about earlier didn't materialise even tho' quite a nice day, still windy tho', so we all came home tails firmly tucked between our legs.

I wont bore you with the tedium of moving loaded boats up and down rocky beaches, on and off ferries etc, ad nausem, but we do now have a better way of doing it, copied from ACC. Two 3 foot tape slings passed under the bow & stern of each boat and under the deck lines ( to prevent slippage) allows 4 bodies to carry one boat relatively "comfortably". I 'spect you've all been doing this since time immemorial?

I took only 30 photos, and a dozen of them were from the same place, same subject. It was just too wet to get camera out most of the time. They'll be on the club website later this week.

Cheers 'n Beers
:| :| :| :| :| :| :| :|
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer
Edited by: sub5rider  Image at: 4/18/04 8:24 pm

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Jim
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Re: Brief report from Jim (no, really)

Post by Jim » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:38 pm

Yep, it turned out to be a foul week for sea kayaking in Scotland, but our trip wasn't a disaster, it just became more character building than relaxing :)

On the photos front - pass, maybe 25? There was only Monday when I could really take photos from the boat anyway, it was a bit choppy at other times, and the clouds were down to sea level most of the time anyway :(

Must go, got a trip in a big ditch to prepare for now :)

JIM

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MikeB
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BP etc

Post by MikeB » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:28 pm

Character building is one way of describing it! Tuesday was foul for us in the Scarba / Jura area as well.

There will eventually be a trip report - hopefully with photos - there will however be NO photos of the Tuesday crossing!

:\ Mike.

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Hebridean ordeal

Post by Phil » Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:41 am

Or should that be Nordcapp guru?
Well done Jim and his team for making a better fist of it than we did, I bet that double flys now it has a rudder!
Yes it was a bit disappointing, however it is intended to make another attempt to complete the trip as originally planned on the 24th May. That is crossing to Harris via lord Mcdonalds tables and the Shiants (weather permitting)and on to the west coast.
I would like to offer a few comments of my own to Sub5riders report if I may.
There were 15 members of Aberdeen CC, and a very hospitable lot they were Thanks for the beers smokes and conversation guys! I also enjoyed burning their wood. The carrying straps we were so impressed with are available from Scottish Paddler supplies www.kayak.co.uk/equipment/carrier.htm
and are a very good thing indeed, also dont cut of the circulation like unpadded tape.
I am a little concerned that Sub5rider thinks the pilot is contradictory. I admit that the tidal situation in the Sound of Harris is peculiar, but I believe that the pilot in question (Imray, Martin Lawrence)is accurate. Maybe he would care to elaborate?
The tidal flow in the SOH is affected by night and day neaps and springs and is particularly weird where the flow is constricted by many islets channels etc.
this is particularly evident in our case,SE corner, where a counter stream runs quite strongly setting against the NE corner of N Uist for a short time, also the main streams flow longer in one direction than another usualy, perhaps this is the cause of confusion, having said that it is possible to get almost anywhere in the sound (with the exception of Caolas Skaari)at almost any time with care.The Cope passage tidal streams are a good basis for planning a transit of the Sound.One thing that is evident however is to have an up to date corrected chart for buoyage,as these have changed significantly since 2000 onwards.
Electric pumps, marvelous! however be aware that if you switch on and listen in a stiff breeze to check they are operational take the base plate off (as Nigel has done)otherwise they are all but inaudible, they also float if you do this.
Towing.....we did try a tandem tow but it all went pear shaped, as these things are want to do in a following sea,(strange,looks great in the books and worked fine on flat water?) We did a solo rafted tow shared by three people and only lost one towline during transitions, oops!
Lastly the £5 per kayak deal negotiated by SCA with Calmac is a bargain, just buy some decent carrying straps.
Phil

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sub5rider
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Re: Hebridean ordeal

Post by sub5rider » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:18 pm

.... little concerned that Sub5rider thinks the pilot is contradictory. ...... Maybe he would care to elaborate?
Well perhaps my understanding of it was flawed, then. But I dstinctly remember on one page where general SOH information given at the top of the page seemed to conflict with more local data appertaining to Hermatray at the bottom of the same page.

24th is good!
:eek
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

philbot
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Contradictions

Post by philbot » Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:59 pm

Yes thats absolutely right, between Hermetray and the Coast of N Uist there is a counter stream that runs opposite to the main stream for about 2 and a quarter hours (I think)I suspect the explanation for this lies in the shallow depth and large area of the majority of the Southern SOH
According to the Admiralty pilot during neap tides the main stream sets through from the Atlantic during the day and in the reverse direction at night. At springs it sets through from the Atlantic for the greater part of the time the tide is rising, but never for more than 5 and a quarter hours and in the reverse direction for the remainder of the tidal period speed between 2-6 knts depending on obstuctions to the flow. The apparently reverse direction of flood is probably explained by a level difference between the west and east coasts on the flood but apart from the fact that night time tides are invariably slightly lower I am at a loss to explain the night day thing............good job poohsticks are 100% accurate.
Phil (Nordcapp Guru)

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sub5rider
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Re: Pix

Post by sub5rider » Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:30 pm

Some not-very-inspiring pix now online at Bolton C.C. website Look in photo galleries or click the caption on the homepage's photo.
More to folow, hopefully, when folk get their fillums processed...
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

Phil
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24th

Post by Phil » Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:52 pm

Booked it today, so far the two Petes are onboard, Geoff has exam/parenting duties. I think 4 is an ideal number so you are very welcome. With two cars we can leave one at the campsite at Uig and one at DunTulm Bay (depart and return)Ive cannabalised Keiths tent for spare poles and Alastair has repaired my sleeping bag so Im good to go.Just need some de-hydrated beer........save weight. Could you get hold of a sqwalky-talky?
Phil (Nordcapp Guru)

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sub5rider
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Re: 24th

Post by sub5rider » Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:14 am

Sorry Phil, I'm afraid I was being sarcastic; a couple of emticons wouldn't've gone amiss, methinks. I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I wrote it.

The 24th is term-time, so would be impossible for me even if I had any days left.....

As for dehydrated beer, I thought your boat need the ballast? The next nearest thing is, of course, alcohol concentrate. The 1.5l (plastic) bottle of Sainsbury's Merlot was very palatable (13%) on N Uist, as was the Ardbeg (47% ?).



Cheers 'n' Beers
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

philwinchlineonenet
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Put the spare Nordcapp back then?

Post by philwinchlineonenet » Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:58 pm

No Problem Nigel, but isnt it half-term? it is for the wee boy.

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sub5rider
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Re: Put the spare Nordcapp back then?

Post by sub5rider » Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:42 pm

It's the week after for us - am contemplating (shock! horror!) the Northumberland Sea Symposium on the BH w/e. Avec tin-tent and infinitely better half.
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

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Douglas Wilcox
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Easter trips

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:31 pm

I must say I am highly impressed by the fortitude shown by completing the above trips (some of which had been planned for many months) in the Easter weather. I am afraid I practice "safe kayaking" or "kayaking for softies". I never plan to do anything more than about a day in advance but as a result I have had some amazing trips since January.

My Easter trip was limited to day trips in the Solway but nonetheless, I managed 50 km over 5 days but hardly any photos. We had some pretty breezy conditions and several Dart 18 cats capsized. In the kayaks I thought the swells were about three feet but when I took the windsurfer out they looked half that. Had good fun practicing broached surf landings.

In Force 6, over 2 hours 10 mins I sailed 82km which is an average of 38km/hr. The etrex showed the highest burst speed to be 49km. Of course since the current record speed is 85.6km/hr it's not that impressive.

It was very nice having a hot shower and a nice warm caravan and since we do not have a dishwasher we ate out at the local one Michelin star eatery

www.plumedhorse.co.uk/

The only problem was I fell off my mountain bike on a wet rocky staircase in the 7stanes Dalbeattie red run. Went right over the handlebars and landed on my head. The crash helmet bust but my head is ok just a really sore neck. I now endorse Giro helmets!

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...eattie.htm


Douglas
getting soft....

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Jim
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Re: Easter trips

Post by Jim » Mon May 10, 2004 9:25 pm

Hey Phil, good to hear you salvaged some sort of comfort from the trip and are going for it again. I thought the text to Keith that simply said "force 9" summed things up nicely!

That double with rudder - what double with rudder? We had about 1km boat to boat visibility in the chop so we barely saw the damn thing :)

This Image is exactly where I crashed skinning both knees (one took 3 days to stop bleeding) and my chin and sprained my wrist back in September (I think - you'll recall the story!).

To clarify, whilst looking ahead for the run out, my front wheel dropped off the cyclists right side of the slab level with the riders chainwheel and stopped dead (because it's about a 14" drop and as you can see there is a rock in front of that spot too). I supermanned leaving my bike stationary and managed to get my upper body to land on the grit in the foreground but my knees landed just on the granite slab, hence they were totally skinned. It was some airtime. It was also dry conditions!

7stanes trails are great :)

JIM

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Easter trips

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon May 10, 2004 10:00 pm

Hi Jim yes Dalbeattie 7 stanes is a great run. Nice to know I am not the only kayaker to eat dirt on that spot. I have been back in the dry and managed it without falling off but I was riding far to defensively all the way round.

Was up in Skye at the weekend, great for scrambling, biking and sea kayaking. Glen Brittle beach gets very strong winds funnling down the glen. It also has hard smooth sand. There were about 5 kite buggies.

Douglas

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