The lonely sea and Skye

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Mark R
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The lonely sea and Skye

Post by Mark R » Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:48 am

Heather and I just returned from a glorious week on Skye. We launched from Elgol with food and gear for a week and bimbled up the west coast at leisure, taking in hill-walking, midge-feeding and occasionally paddling. Heather was paddling a Capella hired from Bournemouth Canoes and it was pefect for her, she was surprisingly comfortable in some moderately hair-raising seas.

We didn't get particularly far in total, but the coasts got more spectacular and the weather wilder, the further we went; we pulled out a couple of days early at Loch Eynort when the wind got excessive enough for Heather to be travelling backwards whilst paddling forwards. Since then we've been walking and touristing...all great. We'll be back for the rest of the coast when the midge bites go down.

Image

We've already cancelled our walking trip to the Pyrenees at the end of July, we're taking the sea kayaks to Brittany instead.



-----------Mark Rainsley

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Mark R
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by Mark R » Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:25 am

As I can't sleep, an anecdote to send you to sleep. Bear with me.

We were somewhat committed, exactly here, at the base of 500 foot+ sheer cliffs and faced by a towering sea stack (with a big hole through the middle, oddly) with a vicious headwind blasting into us and the sea doing confused things. Definitely a, "How did I get my poor wife into this much danger?" moment, well outside her comfort zone. Getting past the stack looked tough.

To delay the hardest bit, we had lunch in the boats trying to get some shelter behind the stack. Heather somehow made an entire tin of red salmon and a McVities Ginger cake vanish in the time it took us both to be blown from one side of the eddy to the other.

I lined up to paddle the gap between the stack and the cliff; I had to make this look easy, or I was convinced Heather would freak out and refuse to follow. I had to put my head down to paddle against the confined wind, the gap was dark and narrow. Halfway through this claustrophobic gorge...something fast, sharp and black shot out of the sky into the water inches from me. Tightly wound up already, I nearly soiled my pants there and then. The hundred yards of sea after the stack was dire, thrashing clapotis and confused currents. I reached the end of this and waited anxiously for Heather.

She paddled through at a leisurely pace, but made it without any problems. I steeled myself for the inevitable stress-induced tears, but Heather was actually in tears with laughter.

Why? Partly because she'd just done the whole thing with the entire Ginger cake still in her gob, and partly because she'd watched me jump out of my skin when a large cormorant decided to divebomb me at pointblank range.

Well, maybe you had to be there...


-----------Mark Rainsley
Edited by: guidebook at: 6/6/04 1:30 am

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:23 am

Hi Mark, I hope your trip lived up to expectations, it is a long way from the south coast. I have the advantage of being able to go at short notice when the weather is good, it is about 4.25 hours from south glasgow to glen brittle.

A useful strategy on a longer trip when the weather breaks is to avoid the more exposed coasts that link the sea lochs by phoning waterloo taxis

www.isleofskye.net/cairnban/waterloo/

to take you back to the car and move to a more sheltered part of the island, the next sea loch or even the other side. The hard men will mock but its a great way to get the most out of a family holiday.

Here are some pics of my own bank holiday trip to Skye, not sea kayaking this time but the 4 tops of sgurr a mhadaidh. I know there are enough sea kayakers who participate in a range of outdoor activities that it might not be seen as too irrelevent to the topic of your post.

More at "whats new" page

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



Image


Our campfire competes with the moon and jupiter to illuminate glen brittle beach.

Image

Steep scrambling up the nw ridge of sgurr a mhadaidh (skoor a vatee)

Image

The vertical climb to the second top.

Image

Loch coruisk, loch scavaig and distant elgol where mark's paddle started.

Image

A wonderful swim in the fairy pools. The four tops are on the top right of the skyline.



Douglas
:)

Helen
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Sounds as if u had ..

Post by Helen » Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:53 am

a fantastic time. last weekend I did my first sea paddling weekend trip - round the Sound of Arisaig area. It was brilliant and I've written up a report for the guide. Will be with u next week once get the photos sorted out. I love hearing about everyone elses adventures - inspires me to get out there and do more.

Happy

paddling/walking/climbing/scambling/biking/kiting/surfing etc everyone.

Helen

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Sounds as if u had ..

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:22 pm

Helen, did you get to this beach in the Sound of Arisaig?

Image

We had a brilliant trip there at the end of november.

Douglas

Helen
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Sound of Arisaig

Post by Helen » Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:50 pm

Don't think we made that beach Douglas - the one we found was opposite an island with a fort on. Idyllic didn't even begin to describe it. Will post photos next week - have left my disc at work - and will find out name of beach. (Mike - what's it called?)

I'm sold on sea kayaking! Just have to work on sidey ony waves a wee bit! Not too keen on them!

Helen

Mike Buckley
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Sound of Arisaig

Post by Mike Buckley » Sun Jun 06, 2004 3:13 pm

Nope, not on that one. Our first camp was just north of Eilean a Ghaill (un-named beach). The one shown might have been the one where we saw some folk on the beach and decided it was too crowded!

Which reminds me that indeed I saw far more sea boats that weekend on car roofs then I've ever seen before. How long will it be before the remote areas are so full of sea-paddlers that they become like the hills?

Should we be worried?

On another subject, I'd love to see Mark's pics of Skye and Desolation Sound, but the links give me "Not Found" - "The requested URL /sea/skye/index.htm was not found on this server." (And similar for the Desolation Sound pics)

Any thoughts??

Mike.

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Mark R
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Re: Sound of Arisaig

Post by Mark R » Sun Jun 06, 2004 3:25 pm

The Skye pics aren't quite there yet...give it another 15 minutes.

The reason you can't get the Desolation Sound pics seems to be to do with a really irritating upper/ lower case problem, which I think I've now solved...again, try again in 15 minutes.


-----------Mark Rainsley

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Mark R
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by Mark R » Sun Jun 06, 2004 3:40 pm

Douglas - 'I hope your trip lived up to expectations, it is a long way from the south coast.'

It's not so far from Dorset, after a kip at Gretna Green services we were in Fort Bill by 10 am Saturday morning and camped at Coruisk by nightfall!

As your photos show, the bank holiday weekend weather was fantastic. It deteriorated daily henceforth, first getting windier, then wetter. Whatever, that's Skye for you...certainly the best weather and best trip to the isle I've had of the five or so times I've been there.

Rubh an Dunain (sp?) in particular is a magical place, we could have stayed there forever...

Image

Our big hillwalking excursion was up Bla Bheinn rather than Bruach na Frithe, simply because we could access Bla Bheinn right from the water....we paddled around from our camp near Coruisk and did a quick change...

Image

...before dashing up the hill, and home to Coruisk via the seal colony. We hoped to get onto the main ridge later in the week, but the weather kabooshed that plan.

The photos should be up by now....



http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/sea/skye/index.htm
Last edited by Mark R on Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Mike Buckley
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by Mike Buckley » Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:52 pm

Yep, works now. Rather nice. Come on Helen, get that report and pics over to Mark!!!

Helen
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Report!

Post by Helen » Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:58 pm

You me are just SO impatient!!! manyana! Can I send the one of you - doing - you know what! :eek

Helen

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Jim
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by Jim » Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:10 pm

Fantastic!

Glad it all worked out well for you. There is still an awful lot of coastline up here that I still need to paddle!

JIM

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Mark R
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by Mark R » Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:25 pm

Until Douglas gets around to publishing his photos and writings on Skye (seen pages 36 and 37 of July 'Paddles?'), everyone should own a copy of this book, incredible photos backed up by good writing.

This is also quite a piece of work, a huge compendium of info on every Scottish island over 40 acres. Tiddly islands like Soay get four pages of data, a real trainspotter's dream.

Books. Gotta have 'em.


-----------Mark Rainsley

Andy L
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Cuillin ridge

Post by Andy L » Tue Jun 08, 2004 1:03 pm

Glad you had a good time in Skye.

I have climbed a few of the peaks of the Cuillins in the long distant past (Sgurr Alisdair, Sgur Dearg and Sgurr nan Gillean). The Cuillin ridge is very exposed and scary! A knife edge ridge with 1000 foot drops on either side. Some of the best hill climbing I've ever done.

Glad you had good weather (it never stopped rain for 3 days when I went - trapped inside a youth hostel with because the weather was too bad to go outside).

Andy

lukebrambkes
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by lukebrambkes » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:50 pm

Thanks for sharing guys :) Helen, the pics on your report look amazing!

During easter, there's two teams going from my uni up to Skye, as part of a charity race type thing. One team will hike from the north tip to the very south, and the other team is planning to kayak a similar route. As one of the kayakers, I'm extremely excited about the whole thing.

We're still in the (very) early planning stages, so was wondering what people's thoughts on it were?

PlymouthDamo
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Re: The lonely sea and Skye

Post by PlymouthDamo » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:00 am

Impressive thread resurrection. You are Jesus, and I claim my fish and loaf.

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