5 Top routes on Scotland's West Coast

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
Post Reply
User avatar
Simon Willis
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 1:27 am
Location: Ardnamurchan
Contact:

5 Top routes on Scotland's West Coast

Post by Simon Willis » Fri Feb 11, 2005 6:14 pm

I thought I'd mention this sea kayaking article will be in the Weekend Living section of tomorrow's edition (Sat 12th Feb) of The Herald.

I've posted the full version on my website for anyone who can't de-crypt the first sentence of the printed version!

Truly diligent readers of both may even see the wonderful subbing process in action.

The story is running to coincide with the publication of 50 Great Sea Kayaking Voyages, by Doug Cooper and George Reid. I have had the temerity to invite some people, with a lot more experience than me, to narrow 50 down to just 5 Top Routes along Scotland's West Coast.

I could easily have had an entirely different top 5, so it started me wondering - what's YOUR top five routes in:
a) the world?
b) the UK?
c) Scotland?

Might this make an interesting thread? Or another article? Or you might want to keep them to yourself!
S

User avatar
Helen M
Posts: 1717
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:40 am
Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland

Top trips

Post by Helen M » Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:02 pm

My top UK trip is Arisaig - however, it was my very first sea kayak camping trip in fantastic weather - will take a lot of beating. Am going to be doing a lot more exploring this year - Dave has just bought a feathercraft Klondike so we may even venture abroad with it.

Ask me again next year.

H - x

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13497
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton

Post by Jim » Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:39 am

I've only really done 5 routes as such and a fair amount of pottering so it wouldn't really be right to list my top 5 because it would be all of them.

Of the 5 the one I would like to do again most now I have more experience is the Bristol Channel trip - Weston-Steep Holm-Flat Holm (overnight)-Weston. This is always goingto be a reasonably serious undertaking on account of the tides, we got unforecast weather and good bit of excitement thrown in for our first real trip, but didn't actually get to see all that much of the islands!

Of the others the Summer Isles was probably my favourite trip because we had such a kickin' group. Going back this year with at least some of the same people and weather permitting I reckon we will get some more bits done!

The trip I most want to do is around southern Skye and the Cuillin.

I haven't paddled around Arisaig (a bit further North at Morar) but I have seen a little of it from the village and old road and I reckon it has to be one of the most beautiful spots I know (so don't all go at once!)

JIM

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by MikeB » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:48 am

I'd put the run from Arduaine out to the Garvellachs, via the Dog, as one of the great classics.

Arisaig is worth the effort as well. Jura is another one - surprised not to find it in the new book, btw.

Mike.

User avatar
Zoe Newsam
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:06 am

Favourite Scottish paddle

Post by Zoe Newsam » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:47 pm

Blimey, where do you start???!!!

I've done variations on all 5 of the trips listed in the article, & coincidentally did the Loch Scavaig trip with Gordon Brown who picked it as his favourite. They're all right- all those places are wonderful.

I'd say my best trip yet was from Barra south around the West of Sandray to Pabby for lunch, then on to Mingulay, camping overnight in Mingulay bay, above the abandoned village (I think this would qualify as the most remote place I've camped, certainly in the UK!). Next day we paddled south again round Berneray under the Barra Head lighthouse (or the 'Lighthouse at the End of the Universe', as we nicknamed it!), up the West coast of Mingulay (5 hours of stomach-churning clapotis under 800 foot sea cliffs!) & back to Pabbay for lunch again (on the most beautiful beach I've ever seen!), then North to Vatersay for a VERY good night's sleep!

This was part of an 8-day trip & we continued up the East coast of Barra, across the Sound of Barra, round Eriskay, & up to Lochboisdale. We were incredibly lucky with the weather & had an average of about F4- I know lots of people who've failed to get down there because of the conditions, so I feel priveleged to have had the chance. A truly awesome place.

Zoe

User avatar
Zoe Newsam
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:06 am

Tee Hee!!

Post by Zoe Newsam » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:49 pm

Glad Jura's not in the book ;0) - going there in April...
Z

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13497
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton

Post by Jim » Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:15 am

Oddly no-one has yet noticed that my Bristol channel trip was on the west coast of the wrong country, I could have editted it out and hidden my failure to remember the thread title for the length of time it took me to read the thread, but I won't :)

JIM

tonyP nli

top 5

Post by tonyP nli » Sun Feb 13, 2005 7:40 pm

My current top 5 would be:
1. The MacCormaigs from Carsaig back via loch sween and Tayvallich.
2. The West Coast of Jura.
3. The Garvellachs from Loch Melfort via the 'vreckan, and back via Cuan.
4. The Treshnish Isles.
5. Ailsa Craig.

This may change this year- Im planning to get out more as the pull of science weakens and the lure of the sea increases.
Tony

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: top 5

Post by MikeB » Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:11 pm

tonyP nli wrote:My current top 5 would be:
1. The MacCormaigs from Carsaig back via loch sween and Tayvallich.
2. The West Coast of Jura.
3. The Garvellachs from Loch Melfort via the 'vreckan, and back via Cuan.
4. The Treshnish Isles.
5. Ailsa Craig.

This may change this year- Im planning to get out more as the pull of science weakens and the lure of the sea increases.
Tony
Interesting to hear you like the McCormaigs - a much underrated wee trip me thinks. You got any pics / fancy doing a write up of that one Tony????

Mike.
Last edited by MikeB on Sun Feb 13, 2005 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Phil Kneen (the real one)

route

Post by Phil Kneen (the real one) » Sun Feb 13, 2005 9:36 pm

Oban, around Mull clockwise and back to Oban on a mirror sea.

Could I just add that I and several other Manx sea kayakers have been the victims of 'hoax' posters. I would like to hope that regulars can recognise the real posts from the hoax ones. ( I have actually been banned from this site!) . The joy of shared computers.....

Many thanks, Phil Kneen.

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24087
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Contact:

Re: route

Post by Mark R » Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:14 am

Phil Kneen (the real one) wrote:Oban, around Mull clockwise and back to Oban on a mirror sea.

Could I just add that I and several other Manx sea kayakers have been the victims of 'hoax' posters. I would like to hope that regulars can recognise the real posts from the hoax ones. ( I have actually been banned from this site!) . The joy of shared computers.....

Many thanks, Phil Kneen.



Phil...email me and explain the situation fully if you feel you have been banned unfairly.



mark@ukriversguidebook.co.uk



I am however in Spain until Friday night, so, you'll have to be patient in waiting for a response.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
tpage
Posts: 481
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:44 pm
Location: Glasgow

Re: top 5

Post by tpage » Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:10 am

Interesting to hear you like the McCormaigs - a much underrated wee trip me thinks. You got any pics / fancy doing a write up of that one Tony????

Mike.[/quote]

Hi Mike, I love this trip- cant lay my hands on the images at the momment.
But.. pick a fine spring day, with spring tides thrown in (Tayvallich is so close to the central belt that you can get the forcast the night before, make a descision, set the alarm and go next morning) . You have to get the tides right for this one though. You need about 3 hours of ebb to get down to the MacCormaigs. I prefer to go down Loch Sween. Spend an hour or 2 on the Islands- visit the chapel and cave. Then get back on when the flood is pumping and enjoy the free ride all the way back to Carsaig. Ive done this trip several times by myself- it is a great introduction to experiencing tide races and their benefits. Tony

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by MikeB » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:43 am

Tides = indeed! We had a pleasant wee visit there a year or so back - down from Tayvallich (nice campsite / good pub!) and down to the islands where we camped (not wonderful camping, it has to be said, but we had a pleasant enough evening).

The chapel is superb! Then up the coast to Crinan (good campsite, albeit spolied when we were there by the lads with their Range Rover, big tent, large quantity of beer and total lack of concern for where they toileted!!!)

If you've come with large vehicle, then surely you can bring a spade or a chemical toilet!

Conditions the next day forced a change of plan and having decided not to battle the SW force 7, the ladies hitched back to the cars and I enjoyed the cafe at Crinan.

It's not a trip I hear about often - surprisiing really. Its so nice.

Mike.

User avatar
seismicscot
Posts: 224
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:05 am
Location: London

Top Fives

Post by seismicscot » Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:24 pm

For the World:

1. Russian Gulch to Mendocino/Big River, California: some of the best open coast, rough water rock gardening anywhere. Some unbelievably long tunnels through Mendocino Head. Best on a day of big, but long period swells! Phenominal surfing at the sand bar break at the mouth of the Big River on 'big' days - the place to practice endos, even if you don't mean to!

2. Van Damme SP to Albion, California: Similar to above, but better caves and classic pour-overs. Plenty of sea lions, sea otters, and sharks for company.

3. Puerto Escondido to Isla Danzante and on to Isla Carmen, Baja California. Magical; leathery, weathered desert peaks and alabaster beaches. Dolphin escourts, and flying bat rays. Take snorkelling gear and Find Nemo!

4. Algonquin Park, Ontario. Many, many wild lakes. Take wheels and portage off into the wilds. Remember your bear cannister and don't forget the DEET!

5. Muir Beach to Horeshoe Cove, California: Big surf launch, Potato Patch clapotis, stunning cliff scenery, surging waters around Point Bonita, and then a whitewater tidal race in under the Golden Gate Bridge. Finish with a beer at the Presidio Yacht Club overlooking San Francisco!

For Scotland (some are real and some yet to be realised!):

1. Rubha Huinish, Skye: Kilmaluag to Totescore. Great coastal scenery and wild weather at the top end of Skye. Don't go if it's calm - it spoils the atmosphere!

2. St. Abbs Head (see Douglas' photos!). Next weekend up north, that's where I'm heading for.

3. Eh....ask me in a couple of months!

Cheers,

Clark
Clark Fenton

Post Reply