Mallaig and District Canoe Club

Mallaig and District Canoe Club - Trips 2014

Double click any image to enlarge. Click to decrease size again.




Latest news
.................

Touring
.................

Coaching
.................

Whitewater
.................

Open boating
.................

Trip reports and pics
.................

Contacts
and useful
links

.................


Membership
.................


For sale
.................

BCU awards
.................

Constitution
.................

Trip planning aids
.................

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1
April 5th - Kingairloch to Corran (replaced Gigha trip)
Photos Allan Lindsay

At the Corran Ferry. Disappinting not to get to Gigha but forecast poor everywhere on the west coast for Sunday.

At Camus na Croise, near Kingairloch
Kufagower bothy W.C.!
The Kufagower private bothy, between Kingairloch and Corran. Allan, Ruth and John.
Looking towards Clovullin and Corran

April 26th. - Kinlochleven
On the only windy day of the week, eleven of us met at Ballachulish. We paddled up to and under the Ballachulish Bridge, then back to the largest of the Burial Isles, Eilean Munde, for lunch and exploration of various old graves. We had a sunny, sheltered lunch spot, so were unaware that the wind had picked up a bit. Some headed straight back to Ballachulish, whilst a few of us slogged into the wind to Invercoe. There seemed little point slogging further into the wind to Caolsnacon, so we admired Roger's excellent repertoire of rolls for a while, then had a wind-assisted paddle back to Ballachulish.
Not very far, circa 8-10k, but the cobwebs were blown away and it was good to get out and to enjoy the lovely scenery around Loch Leven.
Bill Scott, Heather Lloyd, Mike Earrey, Elaine Goldsmith, Roger and Fiona Wild, Liz and Bernie Swan, David Doogan, MA Harper. Photos Roger Wild


May4th. - Rescue Day - Glenuig

Twenty hardy souls attended the rescue day on 4th May. We paddled around from Glenuig and landed at Samalaman where Mike and John gave us an excellent demonstration of assisted rescue. We then split into groups of three or four and practised bracing and towing before landing for lunch on the beach. The afternoon consisted of capsize rescues, cowboys and all manners of getting back in a boat. Enthusiasm was boundless and it was difficult to get everyone to call it a day. A few finished off with a trip around the island.

Participants were (from left to right in the photo): Martyn Green, John Jenkins, Mike Martin, Cathy Mayne, Fiona Wild, Jill Skeoch, Roy Harkins, Colin Biddulph,
Heather Morton-Lloyd, Mike Kingswood, M.A. Harper, Elaine Goldsmith, Bill Skeoch, Pat Lawson, Michelle MacDonald, Allan Lindsay, Kirsty Bloom, David Doogan, Ruth Sime. Group photo: Roger Wild. Other photos Allan Lindsay


May 10th/11th. - Loch Sween
 
After much studying of forecasts and many emails, the advance parties arrived at Tayvallich campsite on Friday evening, our base for the weekend. Despite mixed reviews
online, mine host turned out to be very friendly and the facilities very clean, with plenty of space on the freshly mown field above the static caravans. A grey but calm morning saw the arrival of a few more early risers and a couple of vehicles were shuttled to the head of Loch na Cille. Launching into Carsaig Bay, the brief glimpse of an otter was a good omen for the paddle ahead and despite low water we were able to hug the shore and squeeze past various rugged eilean at the head of the peninsula. Jura dominated the view to the west and the Paps gradually appeared out of the cloud as the weather improved. In the absence of any sandy bays, we were able to pull out for lunch near the jetty at Keillmore before paddling directly to Eilean Mor, largest of the MacCormaig Isles. For a short time owned by the Scottish National Party, the considerable remains of the 9th century chapel and the tiny rocky cleft chosen by St Cormac for his retreat a couple of centuries earlier are well worth a visit. Back on the water we skirted the Island of Danna into the sheltered waters of Loch na Cille where our vehicles awaited. To round off a fantastic day we enjoyed an excellent meal together in the Tayvallich Inn, washed down with some very tasty beers from the Loch Ness Brewery in Drumnadrochit.
 
Sunday’s weather followed a similar pattern and we launched from outside the pub, paddling into Loch Sween , east around Rubh’ an Oib and into the tangle of shallow
inlets and islets to the north. Sheltered by a lush variety of trees, including some brilliant green oaks, this gave a very different but no less enjoyable paddle to yesterday. Carpets of bluebells and even a glimpse of roe deer, accompanied by constant birdsong, the highlight was a great view of an osprey, possibly repairing a prominent old nest damaged by storms last winter. We were also fascinated by the abundant black brittlestars scattered over the sand in the shallows and stunning pink sea urchins clinging to rocks. Herons galore lined the shore! Turning south down Loch Sween, we crossed to Taynish island for lunch then paddled the narrow channel past the Ulva Islands into landlocked Linne Mhuirich before paddling back up to Tayvallich.
 
Many thanks to Elaine for organising an excellent weekend. DB/MB
 
Paddlers: Dave & Moira Broadhead, Elaine Goldsmith & Mark Stroud, Richard Gwatkin, John Jenkins, Ruth Sime, Joan Smith.


24/25th. May - NOT the Treshnish

Unfortunately the weather was not ideal for the trip to the Treshnish. However, as we had all got the weekend free, it seemed like a waste not to do something. After a bit of head scratching the plan was hatched to stay close to home and base in Glenuig, making the best of what the weather gave us.

Saturday:  We had planned to paddle down to Ardtoe and back up taking in Castle Tioram and the North Channel. We had to curtail the plan a bit as Elaine was trying a new boat and was having a few teething problems. We did go down and round Shona, and back up the North Channel, fighting a head wind which was funnelling down it.

Sunday: We were joined by Roy Harkins and Fiona Wild. Many others had hoped to come but called off. We met at Gortenachullish Beach and set a shuttle up for an out at Glenuig. We meandered through the skerries, round the point and along to a lovely beach for lunch. Roy entertained us with hatching a chick… well it looked like this little Ringed Plover chick appeared from the egg shell he had just discarded. We carried on along to the bothy for coffee. Roy and Richard stayed on the beach while the ladies retired to the bothy. We do hope Roy’s stove recovers from being hurled into the sea when it burst into a fireball.

A lumpy crossing from the skerries took us back to Glenuig. We had managed to get a 26km day in on the Saturday and 22Km on the Sunday, so felt we had made the best of our weekend. Joan headed back to Mallaig on petrol fumes and those heading south had a long detour or wait as the road south was closed, but all eventually made it back home safely.

Paddlers on Saturday - Ruth Sime, Richard Gwatkin, Joan Smith, Elaine Goldsmith, joined Sunday by Roy Harkins and Fiona Wild


1st. June - Lochailort to Glenuig

On Sunday 1st June a group of eight  paddlers set out on an A graded paddle from Lochailort to Glenuig.  The forecast had warned of gusty winds, so it was decided to stick to the south shore of the loch to gain as much shelter as possible from the south east wind.  This worked to a certain extent, although downdrafts from the hills were challenging.   The group planned to stop at the beach adjacent to Roshven House for lunch, but as they landed they were confronted by the landowner who politely claimed to own the foreshore and the right to refuse access.  Discretion being the greater part of valour the group decided to push on to the next bay for lunch.   The last kilometre into Glenuig was against a strong easterly rushing down the valley from Loch Moidart. 
Subsequently much discussion has taken place via email as to the veracity of the Roshven landowner’s claim.  It seems to be a complicated situation and discussion will undoubtedly rumble on for some time.  If anyone can shed any light, please get in touch.
Well done to all the paddlers who showed grit in the face of some difficult conditions!
Paddlers:  Roger Lanyon, Michelle Macdonald, Margie Hemingway, Pat Lawson, Roy Harkins, Dave Doogan, Martyn Green and Joan Smith.

Anyone got any more pics?


7/8th June - Bute

The idea of a paddle to Ettrick Bay on the Isle of Bute was formed out of a conversation with an old paddling friend who had enjoyed this journey in the past. 
The forecast for the weekend had been all over the place in the days leading up to the appointed date on the club calendar, but it was decided that as the group was small and experienced the paddle would go ahead.  Advice was taken from Roddy McDowell of Kayak Bute on camp spots and any likely problems with tidal streams.
The four paddlers met at Colintraive early evening on the Friday and paddled the short distance to the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail campsite just east of Buttock Point at the north end of Bute.  There was a great wooden shelter for cooking and socialising and a composting toilet, but strangely not much room for tents!  However, as the group only had 3 tents they managed to squeeze in.
The skies to the south darkened as the group set off on the Saturday morning for the 14km paddle to Ettrick Bay and the promise of tea and buns at the famous cafe there!  The wind strengthened as the day went on  and the last kilometre into the bay was a real slog into a strong easterly.  To add to the group’s discomfort the rain that had been threatening all morning began to fall.  Abandoning boats half way up the beach the group made for the cafe for hot soup and coffee....and one slice of delicious Victoria sponge!  They sat as long as decency allowed before heading out to retrieve the boats and find a camping spot at the top of the beach.  By this time the rain was truly biblical and tents were erected with some difficulty.  There was nothing for it but to snuggle down in the tents for the afternoon and read or listen to music as the rain battered down.  The plan to walk across the island was abandoned in favour of a walk along beautiful  Ettrick Bay when the rain finally exhausted itself and the wind dropped away to nothing.
Sunday morning dawned sunny and breezy and the group set off for the journey back to Colintraive via Tighnabruaich pushed along by the brisk southerly wind.  The wind strengthened and it was decided not to cross early, but to wait until the channel narrowed at Rubha Ban.  After stopping for a snack in the shelter of the headland  the group pushed on to explore the little inlets and coves at the entrance to Loch Riddon before crossing to the Argyll coast.  By this time the wind had really picked up and the last leg back to Colintraive via the Burnt Islands was hard work. 
As one member of the group commented, it was a long journey from home for two half day paddles.  However the next time we venture to Bute it will be to circumnavigate the island.  Watch this space!
Thanks to those who made the journey; Bill Skeoch, Mike and Sheila Kingswood and Joan Smith.  Thanks also to Roddy of Kayak Bute for his help and advice.


Summer Cruise 2014

This just happened to be the tenth anniversary of the club’s circumnavigation of Mull, when  16 boats took on that task and succeeded. It was poignant that the five that set off on the 2014 cruise ten years later had all been on that trip. Due to the possible constraints on camping, this was not going to be a big deputation. However, two of the original seven unfortunately had to drop out prior to leaving.

So five made passage on a playful sea on Sunday afternoon from Mallaig, round Sleat Point, to Inver Dalavil, where good camping was found near the head of the bay. However, the tide does disappear somewhat and the next morning gave us a bit of a carry to reach the water.

Monday was a cold and showery day for a twenty five km. paddle up Loch Scavaig, round the East Coast of Soay and along the Soay Sound to the Viking canal on Rubh an Dunain. After so many open crossings we all very much appreciated a bit of coast line to paddle along. The campsite that night was quite magical but there is not space for many tents. Also, getting the boats back into the water in the morning over seaweed strewn boulders was difficult and strenuous.

Twelve kilometres to Rum, then lunch at Samhnan Insir and gaze back at magnificent views of the Cuilin and Skye. We chose to go West, on to Guirdil, an old homestead that is now a bothy. Along the way we passed the eery sight of a beached trawler, wrecked and emitting spooky sounds from the waves lapping in its innards. There is good camping at Guirdil and incredibly friendly deer, although the landing is steep and stony and could be difficult with an onshore wind in a lively sea.

So far, apart from a little rain, the weather had been near perfect and the forecast sounded good enough to venture down the West Coast (although there was a chance that the wind, scheduled to be a force three to four could be a problem), but where we were it was flat calm. We took our time passing mist-clad cliffs, and enjoying a primeval atmosphere, to the point at A’ Bhrìdeanach. We were looking forward to seeing places with piratical names such as Schooner Point and Wreck bay and visiting the Mausoleum at Harris. But when we turned the corner we got a force four in our faces. Not a problem in itself,  it just meant that it would be a slog, perhaps without the chance to properly take in the sights. But the wind did mean that landing may be problematic on what little stony coastline that was available. None of us had been down this stretch of coast before.

We turned back, retracing our steps to return to Samhnan Insir. We were disappointed, but trips are like that and some of the best have resulted from a change of plans like this. Samhnan Insir is an idyllic place to camp and had us feel as if we were camping on an Ayrshire links golf course.

We could just get a phone signal and the forecast was not good. Four to Five or Six, Easterly backing Nor-easterly for at least the next two days and come the morning that is what it was. It looked like the best plan was the pub in Arisaig via the ferry from Kinloch but a couple of kilometres later the wind started to abate. It turned into the most gorgeous of flat calm days. A slog turned into a dawdle and we spent quite some time being entertained by a seal who delighted in playing with boat toggles and placing his chin and flipper on our stern decks.

By the time we reached Loch Scresort we decided that Eigg should be our goal for the day and we would risk the weather forecast. We aimed for Camus Sciotaig and its Singing Sands. There are two things to note here! According to Doug Cooper and George Reid in their book Scottish Sea Kayaking we should have endured about a three knot tidal stream passing through the Sound of Eigg. This tidal stream is not to be found in the yachting pilots and we found no evidence of it on the water. Next of note is that storms have radically changed the beach at Camus Sciotaig. Where the beach was is now a boulder garden surrounding a small lagoon. This is protected from the sea by a sand bar with a channel opening to the lagoon. This is a surf beach, though not a scary one usually. But note that there is a second sand bar just in front of the main one. You will get stuck and dumped on and pushed about in the surf on this hidden sand bar. So, when going for the shore, aim for the channel that leads to the lagoon. You won’t paddle down it but you will get a more comfortable landing. Having said all that, it may have all changed again by the time a return is made. Oh, and look out for the sphinx.

The forecast was still four to five or six the next day as we made our way on a calm sea down the West Coast of Eigg. This forecast felt like a sword of Damocles over our heads. We decided to miss out on Muck. We were running out of time and would not be able to do it justice anyway. It wasn’t until we were approaching Galmisdale that we met the forecasted wind. We had been lucky. The plan was then to get the ferry the next day. It was a no-brainer.

We camped across the bay from Galmisdale, on what had been a make-shift football pitch. The well ventilated toilets come very highly recommended. We dined in the cafe that night, enjoying the live music of the session that happens every Friday night. A perfect ending to a really good trip.

Stoer 12/13 July

It was decided to move the venue for the paddle scheduled for Poolewe on the 12/13th July north to Stoer. The wind forecast was favourable for a paddle round the Point of Stoer on the Saturday. With stronger winds forecast for the Sunday, a circumnavigation of Oldany Island east of Stoer was planned. The group of 12 paddlers was based at Shore Caravan Park at Ardmelvich north of Lochinver.....well worth a visit ....and comes with its own fish and chip shop!

The trip round Stoer Point started at Clashnessie Bay in a steady drizzle which soon cleared allowing the paddlers to explore the many caves along the east coast of the peninsula. It was decided to push on round the Point before stopping for a break to ensure slack water. The highlight of the trip was the great view of the Old Man of Stoer which opened up as the group rounded to Point. Although the tide was very low, the group was able to paddle between the stack and the mainland. One member even managed to fit a sail to his kayak and negotiate the narrow channel! Lunch was taken at a “beach” below Stoer lighthouse. This proved to be a very difficult exercise with large round slippery boulders to negotiate. The Bay of Stoer was chosen for the second break before the paddlers completed the 22km day in flat calm conditions at Ardmelvich Bay adjacent to the campsite.

A very wet night was followed by another drizzly morning for the circumnavigation of Oldany Island. As forecast, the wind had freshened, but was behind the main group which again set out from Clashnessie to tackle the circumnavigation anticlockwise. Three paddlers had decided to shorten their day by setting off from Culkein Drumbeg further west and paddling clockwise round the island. Conditions on the water for the main group were very confused for the first few kilometres until the calm waters of the narrow channel which separates Oldany from the mainland was reached. There was some debate as to whether this channel ever dries out! If it does, some would say that Oldany isn’t a true island, although we were assured by a local fisherman that it never dries out completely. Once through the channel the water was calm and the main group stopped for lunch at a beach below the only dwelling on the island. They were soon joined by the other three paddlers who had been foiled in their attempt to get round the island by a “wall of water” encountered at far western Rubha nan Cosan. After lunch it was decided to join forces to paddle up the east coast of Oldany as far as the northern tip to assess the conditions. From there two paddlers continued round to Clashnessie to collect cars while the others paddled back to the jetty at Culkein Drumbeg. Once the shuttle had been completed and boats loaded, the group took tea at the secret tea garden in Drumbeg village (well worth a visit!).

An excellent weekend! Thanks to all those who came along.

Paddlers: Mike and Sheila Kingswood, Roger and Fiona Wild, Iain Donnelly and Jo Devlin, Ruth Syme, Moira Broadhead, Joan Smith, John Jenkins, Kirstie Bloom and Bill Skeoch.

July 19/20 - North goes West

The forecast being very undecided, the majority of those signed up for the north coast trip were disinclined to travel all the way up there only to discover that the weather was too marginal. Our chairman suggested a trip from Mallaig to the Sandaig islands, where the forecast looked more settled, so that is what we did.

Day one saw us leaving a sunny Mallaig with glassy calm seas. The sun didn’t last long, becoming overcast, then wet and wetter, the sea having that feeling of paddling through cement.  After a brief “first lunch” stop at Airor on Knoydart, we headed across to Isleornsay, catching sight of  a couple of porpoises en route, where we slopped and dripped into the hotel for tea and shortbread. After paddling a little further up the Skye coast, approaching then passing behind a very slow-moving well-boat, we crossed to our camp spot on the Sandaig Islands -  a beautiful location, though sadly we were never to benefit from the stunning views and it was an evening in the party tent rather than round the campfire.


Day two saw us seeing nothing – the mist shrouding all but the nearest beach. By the time we were on the water it had cleared slightly and we set off into a brisk breeze, which was to accompany us all the way back to Mallaig and did finally succeed in clearing the mist. After crossing the mouth of “The loch of Hell” we paused for breath at Camas Garbh before continuing down to Doune, where we collapsed on the stony shore and enjoyed some sunshine. The last leg of the journey gave us some enjoyably lively seas and a slightly moderated wind. Tea (and some of Kirsty’s chips!) was taken in the Tea Garden.

Paddlers: Tony and Elizabeth Laidler, Mike and Sheila Kingswood, Joan Smith and Kirsty Bloom

Loch Morar - 3rd August

Despite the gloomy forecast Sunday 3rd August dawned sunny and calm!  Three paddlers met at Bun an Loin Bay on Loch Morar with the aim of paddling to Brinacory on the north shore of the loch, crossing to the south shore and returning to Bun an Loin via the wooded islands at the west end of the loch.
The first stop was at Inbhir Beag  bay to look at the old chapel.  Pushed along by a gentle westerly breeze the paddlers landed at Brinacory where there had been a small village with a school which is still standing.  After lunch it became apparent that the breeze was beginning to pick up, raising  little white caps on the surface of the loch.  Having paddled the kilometre across the loch the group reached the south shore and shelter behind Eilean Allmha.  The south shore has a wilder feel about it with only isolated deserted settlements along its shore where there was water and some flat land to cultivate.  Lazy beds were much in evidence as the group paddled into the stiffening westerly breeze.  They lingered at Lettermorar, admiring the dry stone wall which formed the rear boundary of the settlement.  Building this wall must have been a herculean task for the three or four families who lived there.  Leaving the shelter of Lettermorar the paddlers could see that skies to the east were darkening ominously and the rain began to fall in earnest.  However it was warm rain, so it was decided to continue paddling without cags!
From Rubh’ Aird Cumnaich the group crossed to the island of Eilean nam Breac to find the little hidden bay on its southern shore.  From there they skirted An t-Eilean Meadhoin and paddled the calm inlets of Eilean Ban before heading back to Bun an Loin and the luxury of not having to wash the salt off their gear!  A great day out!
Distance paddled 18km.
Paddlers: Kirsty Bloom, Roy Harkins, Joan Smith

Torrin 15th-17th August

The annual pilgrimage to Torrin in Skye took place from 15th to 17th August.  Twenty members had signed up for the weekend, but  a deteriorating forecast dwindled the numbers to eight hardy souls who turned  up at the Torrin Outdoor Centre west of Broadford in Skye on Friday 15th August. 
Saturday dawned true to the forecast with strong westerlies and horizontal rain!  Plans to paddle in Loch Duich were quickly abandoned in favour of walking.  Team Laidler/Carter/Smith opted for a low level walk from the head of Loch Slapin through Strath Mhor to Luib, returning to Torrin via Strollamus and Strath Beag, a journey of some 18km.  Team Wild/Broadhead (more experienced mountain folk!) decided to walk/climb further north on the island.  The numbers were swollen  on Saturday afternoon by the arrival of Kirsty Bloom and her daughters, who kept the company on their toes designing sweaters!  (Roger Wild’s design incorporating the M&DCC logo won the day!). Kirsty's "Kayak Cake" went down extremely well!!!
As trad ition dictates after dinner on Saturday evening the group was entertained by slides of paddling adventures undertaken throughout the season.
As forecast, the wind strengthened and swung round to the north during Saturday night, so there was no chance of paddling on the Sunday.  A leisurely breakfast  was followed by a quick clean up of the Centre before gathering for a coffee in Broadford prior to heading home via bridge or ferry.  Kirsty and the girls opted to stay on at Torrin to walk in the rain! 
In the annals of the club, this is probably the worst weather encountered at Torrin.  However those that defied the forecast and fronted up all had an enjoyable experience albeit not of the paddling variety!
We live in hope for next year!

"Paddlers":  Fiona & Roger Wild, Moira & David Broadhead, Tony & Elizabeth Laidler, Chris Carter, Joan Smith, Kirsty Bloom & the girls!


23/24 August - South Coast of Mull

Trip organiser Roger Wild’s original plan to paddle around Iona and adjacent coasts was scrapped because of strong NW winds forecast for the first half of the weekend. A cunning plan B was formulated: a widdershins paddle around the peninsula that lies between Loch Buie and Loch Spelve (pronounced Spelvee).  Roger and Fiona arrived at the Loch Buie launch point on Friday, the rest of us caught the 8.45 Lochaline-Fishnish ferry on Saturday morning and after a coffee stop in Craignure, joined them just after 10.
After a car for the return shuttle was left near Kinlochspelve we set off, paddling in sunshine down the loch and rounding R na Faoilinn. Watched by a small flock of feral goats, we came ashore at Port Ohirnie for lunch and were treated to close views of a pair of Sea Eagles.
Continuing our journey, we had further views of eagles and an unfolding  panorama of hills and islands across the Firth of Lorn.
The day finished at Port na Crullach, just short of the entrance to Loch Spelve. The breeze kept up and thus midges at bay, an otter was spotted offshore and the evening finished with a campfire.

Following a chilly but fine night, we launched at 9.30 and headed northwards on a glassy sea for Grass Point.  Like the previous day, we regularly saw shoals of frenzied fry at the surface, presumably trying to escape predatory fish (probably mackerel) harrying them. Retracing our route as far as Port Donain, we landed for a leisurely break before paddling into Loch Spelve. Arriving just before mid-day, the outgoing tide was by now flowing weakly and didn’t impede our progress. As we finished the paddle at the western end of the loch, a man in a boat offered us a lift back to Loch Buie, which was very kind of him but not needed as we already had the necessary wheels in place.
We’d had a very enjoyable and successful paddle: well done and thanks Roger.

Paddlers: Roger and Fiona Wild, Paul Cromey, Isla Kinnear, Ruth Sime, John Jenkins, Elizabeth and Tony Laidler. 


6/7 September – Lismore

A select group of five met at Lettershuna on Saturday morning. The flat calm forecast of earlier in the week had changed a bit with the wind picking up a little in the afternoon from the North West on both days. It was flat calm and overcast when we set up round the west side of Shuna and decided to push on down the west side of Lismore. We paddled round by Port Ramsay viewing old industry (limekilns) and new industry (Glensanda Superquarry). On our way to Castle Coeffin for a lunch stop, a sea eagle passed close overhead. A group from Drumchapel and Clydebank were at Castle Coeffin before us, but they moved on reasonably quickly. As forecast, the wind picked up slightly but from the West, but it was a straightforward paddle to the south end of the island. With the tide well in, we were able to paddle in between Bernera Island and Lismore, enjoying our first view of the lighthouse on Eilean Musdile. We stopped for a stretch and a bite in the sun, then headed towards the gap between Lismore and Eilean Musdile. As forecast, the wind picked up again but still from the west, so we had a lumpy 3k paddle (especially for Heather whose skeg would not move). The light was lovely and the views of Mull and further south were amazing but photography was not an option. It was a relief to glide through the gap and reach calm water again on the east side of the island. The Glasgow group had bagged the first camp spot beside Dun Chruban, so we paddled on to Miller's port which provided us with a fine campsite and driftwood for a bonfire on the beach. Allan put his boyscout skills to use with a fine bonfire.

On Sunday, sheltered from the NW wind, we had an easy paddle in the sun up the east side of the island with fine views up and down the loch. The wind picked up slightly after lunch but we picked our way between islands, stopping to view three limekilms on Eilean nan Caorach, then over to inspect Castle Stalker before returning to Lettershuna.
We were able to tick off six castles, eight lime kilns, one broch and one eagle during an excellent 48k paddle over two days.

Paddlers: Kirsty Bloom, Allan Lindsay, Richard Watkins, Heather Lloyd and Ruth Sime


14 September - BBQ Paddle

14th Sept was a beautiful calm and sunny day - perfect for an relaxed paddle and picnic. One group paddled in from the Rhu road, another from Morar, and all met up with some walkers-in at the southern end of Camusdarach for a feast and a delicious chunk of Kirsty’s home-made cherry cake. Afterwards those with kids paddled round to Traigh, and everyone else returned to Rhu. Lovely day, great company - thanks to all for coming along.
Paddlers were: Joan, Calum, Jules, Pat, Margie, Moira, Mike, Sheila, Freddie, Kirsty, Josie, Lily and Lucy. Walkers: Hamish, Heather, Suzie, Isla and Dougal, Josh, Sophie, Charlotte, Chloe and Bella the dog!, Geoff Campbell and wife – sorry, forgot your name :(


20-21 September - "Not the NE coast but fabulous anyway"

Again the weather played a role in the choice of weekend location. We should have been exploring the Moray Coast but with winds from the north forecast to be gusting up to 4/5, it was not the place to be to get the best from the weekend. After a bit of deliberation, tooth sucking and ho humming, it was decided to go for a trip round the Sleat peninsula. At the last minute it was a final change of plan to do it from Oronsay to Ord, taking a bit of protection from the wind on the Saturday and the fab views to the Cuillins as we came up the west coast on the Sunday.

Saturday morning did not go smoothly as Elaine’s van broke down but AA to the rescue and we were on the water only an hour late. With the wind on our backs we cruised down to lunch at Knock Castle and then on for Ice Creams at Armadale. The trip from Armadale to the campsite at Point of Sleat was beautiful, with views to Eigg, Rum, Muck and down to the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The spot we chose to camp was great as it has been so dry; it might otherwise be a very boggy spot. Allan Lindsay was the hero of the day and scouted far and wide for wood so we had a very pleasant evening round the fire on the beach.

Sunday brought a beautiful day with no wind  and lovely and warm; shorty cags were out today. It is a beautiful piece of coast as you come up past Dalavil and Toskavaig. A couple of sea eagles were spotted. Joan entertained us with the story of her first trip to Dalavil, many years ago. The views to the Cuillins were a bit obscured in the slight foggy haze but this cleared as the day went on, showing an amazing panorama.
A shuttle and time for a beer at the Isle Oronsay hotel before folk headed to get the Mallaig ferry back. The usual story of Scotland, to get the best be flexible, the Moray coast will still be there next year.
Allan Lindsay, Joan Smith, Cathy Mayne, Alan Boulton, Elaine Goldsmith