Mallaig and District Canoe Club

Trips 2008

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This year's AGM was well attended. Soup, sandwiches, cake and meringues were very welcome after a fairly long and productive meeting. There were some resignations and new appointments made. Minutes will appear in due course once Joan has processed them. Lunch was followed by an afternoon paddle on Loch nan Uamh in glorious conditions, departing from the viaduct, complete with concrete-encased horse, and following the northerly shore as far as Ghaoideil and returning round the outside of An Glas-eilean - a total of 13km. The paddle was followed by a welcome drink, but a most unwelcoming reception from mine hostess at the Lochailort Inn.





Beam me up, Roger!

AGM paddle   AGM paddle Loch na Uamh





Joan raring to go

29-31 August, - Torrin, Skye
Torrin hostel Torrin Torrin Idrigall Idrigall
Saturday - the Stornoway club team set an impressive standard with the sandwich making (following on from the impressive dinner making of the previous night) and we braced ourselves for a trip to MacLeod's Maidens, determined to make it all the way there this time. Put in at Uillinish - rather rocky - and headed for Idrigall point and into some bouncy sea. After lunch near the waterfall we made it just past the Maidens in deteriorating conditions, so the photos were poor. Heading back across towards Wiay, rather than heading up the coast to the waterfalls and caves as hoped, we met a strengthening head wind that gave us a bit of a work-out and we were relieved to gain the shelter of the island after a bit of a slog. A short break in a sheltered cove gave us the strength to get back to Uillinish and on for the evening's entertainment of chili, curry, some nummy deserts and some excellent slideshows of trips from a variety of destinations - Murty's St. Kilda pics capturing everyone's imagination .
Idrigall MacLeods Maidens Elgol Soay shark factory Michelle
Sunday - broke calm and clear and the group split into three; one group headed straight for Soay to catch up with friends and visit the old shark factory, another group went for a circumnavigation of Soay, also visiting the shark factory, and the third group headed for Loch Coruisk. A great day was had by all. Another most successful Torrin weekend. Thanks to Joan for the organisation.

17th August - Loch Leven

The Moray coast trip was cancelled so, instead, 10 paddlers had a leisurely glide down Loch Leven. Putting in at Kinlochleven we sailed along with 5 or so knots of tidal assistance and wind. Bill tried the umbrella sailing technique only to watch his inside out umbrella sink gracefully to the bottom of the loch after a swift escape from his clutches. Lunch on Eilean Munde was followed by an inspection of the beautiful slate gravestones on this, the traditional burial ground of the MacDonalds of Glencoe, Stewarts of Ballachulish, and Camerons of Callart. Those murdered in the slaughter of 1692 are buried on the island. Tradition has it that Alasdair MacDonald, (MacIain of Glencoe), was buried here after the massacre in 1692. The island takes its name from an Irish disciple of St Columba, St Mundus or Munn, who settled there for a period in the 7th century. Paddling a short way west we circumnavigated Eilean Choinneich (Kenneth's Island), meeting a brisk breeze whistling down Glen Coe and Glen Fhiodh as we rounded the south corner. The journey back to the take-out point, close to the Loch Leven Sea Food shop and cafe, gave us a bit of a workout and justified a visit to the Corran Inn for refreshments to finish off the day.

Loch Leven Eilean Munde Loch Leven Loch Leven Loch Leven

3rd. August - Plockton.

Marine biologist and paddling author of "Hebridean Waves", Ewan Gillespie, led a paddle with a look at seashore life in this beautiful area.

28 June - 5 July - Western Isles


Our illustrious leader


Base camp!

Our forecast provider

Optimistically billed to be a trip from the south of South Uist to Lochmaddy, weather condtions forced a camp based week on Berneray with day paddles where possible. A wee slideshow from the trip pics so far here. If you have any good pics you would like to send in please email them to me.

Sunday 29 June 2008      Berneray

After arriving the previous day and pitching on the dunes near the Gatcliff Hostel, we launched off the adjacent beach at mid-afternoon, the wind having subsided to more manageable levels. We did a widdershins paddle to just short of the beach below Beinn Shleibhe: the F4 breeze and increasing swell deciding for us that we had come as far as comfort allowed. Paddlers: Mike & Sheila, Bill & Jill, Joe & Ed, EL, TL. 6.5km

Monday 30 June 2008       Loch Mhic Phail

Launched off the beach at 10.25 and headed down to Torosaigh, the island beside the causeway. Quite a tough paddle into the wind and the party got rather strung out. We followed the islands and reefs into Loch Mhic Phail and sought refuge behind a little peninsula for lunch. On the water again, we headed southwards for a kilometer or so, but the freshening wind and forecast of “gales later” made turning round a sensible option and we surfed rapidly back to base via Berneray’s shop. Paddlers: Mike & Sheila, Bill, Jill and Rebecca, Roger, Joe, Ed, Muffin, Chris Carter, EL, TL. 16km

Thursday 3 July 2008        Loch Euphort

Back on the water after two days of rain and high winds. Mike left the Mazda as shuttle car at Lochmaddy and we put in at the pier at the head of the Loch Euphort, about one mile from the main east-west road. The tide was ebbing and it was an easy paddle down the narrow loch, with tidal action providing some play spots in places. We came ashore about 3km from the entrance to the Minch and enjoyed lunch in some very welcome sunshine. Out into the Minch, the calm sea and brilliant sunlight made for a stunning scene. We dawdled northwards, looking at the orange Ascidians hanging from the rocks and little Sea Gooseberry jellyfish. As we gathered in a little bay, a small boat motored over and the ‘sea dog’ at the helm called out that if we went over by the rocks he would attempt to feed a local Sea Eagle by throwing fish for it. Sadly the bird didn’t perform for us – apparently he had fed it earlier in the day. At the entrance to Loch Maddy, the three Americans, Roger and Jill decided to paddle back to the campsite; the rest of us going for a tour of the loch before returning for the shuttle car. We headed over to the north side of the loch and had a break that included some member of the party practicing their paddling party tricks – very entertaining. We went over to look at the Camera Obscura and then landed at the village slipway. After an enjoyable pint at the Loch Maddy Hotel we returned to camp. Paddlers: Mike & Sheila, Bill, Jill and Rebecca, Roger, Joe, Ed, Muffin, Chris Carter, EL, TL. 24km (return to base group did 34km).

Friday 4 July 2008               Sound of Harris
We launched from our campsite beach at 10.00 and headed for Killegray. Conditions were calm as we headed for the island. A heavy shower was followed by a basking shark encounter – only about 3m long but unconcerned by our presence. We followed the west coast of Killegray, then over to Ensay (surprisingly little tidal flow) around it until we landed on the Harris facing shore, near to where “Cairn” and “Standing Stone”were marked on the map. After lunch, we followed Chris on an exploration of the adjacent part of the island. We found the prehistoric standing stone; Ensay House appeared to be inhabited and the nearby chapel was in a fine state of repair. The chapel door was carved by the Mouseman, Robert Thompson. After this most enjoyable stop, we headed over to Harris, with another basker en route. The coast was followed to Leverburgh and after a brief halt we set off across the Sound, roughly following the lines of the ferry buoys. The weather was glorious – sun, blue sky and virtually no wind. Plenty of seabirds and the mournful calls of many seals added to the magical quality of the place. Eventually we turned in the direction of the campsite; the tide now against us and the clear water showing how shallow most of the Sound is. We landed in warm sunshine after a wonderful paddle. Paddlers: Bill, Jill and Rebecca, Roger, Joe, Ed, Muffin, Chris Carter, EL, TL. 28km .


13-15th June


We had a f f f …..freezing w/e of it! 10 of us arrived on the Friday night at Scourie campsite and enjoyed the warmth of the on site hostelry. (Sometimes official campsites are a good thing!)

Simon joined us for the day on Saturday, hoping that we were going to paddle round Handa, but sadly that was not to be. The wind was a Force 4 Northerly, so we opted for a circumnavigation of Loch Laxford, which proved lively enough. The sun came out in the afternoon and we enjoyed a relaxed exploration of Loch a’ Chadh-Fi and a look at John Ridgeway’s Adventure School at Ardmore. Then a bracing paddle back to Fanagmore. Allegedly 2 puffins were sighted. Total distance 15km.

We were hoping for better luck on the Sunday. A Northerly 3 was forecast, so we went to try our luck round Handa.

Handa Island
Ready to launch at Tarbet - Handa looking benign

Stac, Handa Island
The Stac

Tarbet tea room
The tea room at Tarbet

We were hoping for better luck on the Sunday. A Northerly 3 was forecast, so we went to try our luck round Handa. We paddled north from Tarbet to check out the conditions, but sadly there was too much swell and we retreated South down the Sound of Handa and along the south shore (a semi-navigation), before heading back to the beach for lunch, accompanied for several kms. by a playful seal.

After lunch, we walked over to the Great Stack to see the birds.  At last…puffins...but few in number. We also saw guillemots, razorbills, skuas and fulmars.                                                          

Total distance 11km.

It’s a shame we didn’t manage to paddle round Handa, but at least we didn’t get eaten alive by midges!

Great skua

Sunday 1st. June

BBQ paddle Arisaig

View BBQ paddle extravaganza slideshow of the day's stars and the "prizewinning" desserts

What a great day for a paddle. That’s what anyone with a kayak would be thinking when they woke up on the 1st of June. Even better if a bbq is involved. What a great day it turned out to be as well. There were 17 paddlers in the morning and 18 in the afternoon - don’t ask (at least we didn't lose any)!


bbq paddle

Spot the recurring theme

The paddlers were joined by a ground support team at lunch time, which swelled our numbers to a massive 32. I guess the MDCC marches on its stomach and in particular it’s bbq dessert stomach. Dessert was the bbq theme and what fantastic desserts were on offer. If I had known how great they were going to be I wouldn’t have had any main course. See for yourself.

bbq pancake
bbq bananas
bbq crumpet

Oh yes the paddle.

We set off from Arisaig pier and went the long way round to Camusdarach, doing about 15k in calm seas and sunshine. On the way out we met an Irishman on his way to Eigg and wished him luck. We passed Oyster catchers, terns, various types of gulls and another 3 kayakers on their way to Arisaig. We warned them that we were lucky to escape from there alive so not to go, but they were determined. We never saw them again. Camusdarach came into sight and we bumped into another 4 kayakers coming out of the channel we were going into. Just as I was thinking we need to install traffic lights I realised that it was Richard Cree, his son and party. Duly forgiven, we chatted for a few minutes, but hunger got the better of me and I raced ashore.

Post lunch, most people decided to drift into Morar Bay  and catch a shuttle back to Arisaig and the cars. A few, who quite clearly weren’t nearly full enough, paddled on to Mallaig. About 3 and 6 kilometres respectively. The wind did increase a little but not much, really can’t remember to be honest, the bbq paddle isn’t about paddling after all, it’s all about food and, this year, barbied deserts. Most memorable? Joan’s delicious looking pancake with chocolate sauce and cream, Deirdre’s fantastic banana with chocolate, Sue’s scrumptious crumpets with melted marshmallow and blueberries and not forgetting Alex and his barbecued soup. A special mention has to go to Lauren for the ice cream and John for the wheelbarrow full of beer.
We met the Irishman again who went to Eigg and back and didn’t see a thing. He should have come with us!

Sat/Sun 17/18 May

Two Glens

Glen to Glen

DAY 1:

Launched 10.40 at Glenfinnan and a coolish NE breeze scooted us down the loch. Early lunch just short of Glen Aladale. Next stop was at the Green Isle, a.k.a. Eilean Finnan.

The island is reputedly haunted, with many gravestones stretching back quite a few centuries.

Arriving at bottom end of the loch by 4.30 we decided to carry on down river while the level was low. There was a fair fair amount of scraping and getting stuck! Arrived at the river mouth at 6.00p.m., just after HT, so it was completely flat - no rapid running needed.

Camped at the foot of the curtain wall on the west side of Castle Tioram, ancient stronghold of the MacDonalds.


Green Isle   Finnan's Isle

Cross and bell

Castle Tioram
Azaleas and Rhododendrons and old Celtic crosses amongst the bluebells on St Finnan's (or the Burial) Isle
Steal this bell from the ruined chapel and you will be cursed.
Castle Tioram

DAY 2:

Out of S Channel and round the outside of Eilean Shona.

Met up with 4 other club members who came out from Glenuig to join us. Lunched at Goat island, opposite Roshven, at the mouth of Loch Ailort, then had a pleasant ride up the loch to the jetty.


Rum and Eigg

Eilean Shona

The Isle of Rum hiding behind Eigg
Morning launch onto Loch Moidart with Eilean Shona in the background

20 April Loch Sunart to Lochaline

The first paddle of the touring calendar to take place set off from somewhere along the southern Ardnamurchan coast and headed towards Lochaline. If anyone fancies doing a wee report that would be great - I was nursing my bad foot at home!