Wednesday, 8 July 2009

West Coast:Seil/Easdale/Cuan/Torsa

The fantastic weather forecast for the weekend did not let us down. This weekend would not be about big mileage, but leisurely paddling, exploring, extended lunches/breakfasts and taking in the wonderful environment around Easdale, Torsa and Seil. We launched the boats from Easdale (Seil Island, South of Oban) and christened Jim Breen’s new Quest before heading to Cuan Sound where we enjoyed the over falls.

Loading the kayaks at Easdale.

Jim Breen's new Quest is launched in style.


We headed out of Cuan through the south east channel at Torsa Beag (Torsa Island) then up the west coast of Torsa for lunch at Caisteal nan Con.

Lunch on top of Caisteal nan Con with Clachan Sound in the background.

Bridge over th Atlantic

The campsite.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Loch Sween (25/04/09)

There is always something exciting about paddling and exploring an area that you have not paddled before and Loch Sween did would not let us down. Before parking up and getting the kayaks ready we headed to Tayvallich and then to Carsaig Bay to view Jura which lay shimmering in the spring sunshine.
The cars were eventually parked at the forestry parking area (B8025, looks like a passing place: 871 752) at the entrance to Coal Scotnish and the boats were prepared for the days paddle. After launching we paddled NW to the head of Coal Scotnish, exploring the small islands on the way. The scenery is wonderful in this area and wildlife was abundant: seal, geese, cormorant, shag, heron, many shore birds and the call of the cuckoo keep us company.
After paddling back down Scotnish we had an extended lunch in a small bay just west of Rubh an Oib. This small wooded bay was awash with bird song and a shoal of small fish could be seen breaking the surface of the mirrored water.

The smell of bacon filled the air and after a brew up there was nothing for it but to relax and enjoy the sun.
John Burns

After lunch we headed round Rubh an Oib and paddled NW toward the fairy islands which is a magical place that has to be explored at high water to be able to circumnavigate the top islands in the chain. This area has a sandy bottom and one of the top islands is the most perfect island I have seen, covered with scots pine, birch, lush vegetation with a blue haze that turned out to be bluebells. If you are going to get fairies in Scotland, then I would look for them here.
The rain was already falling as we made our way towards Tayvallich. However it seems that the fairies were not very happy with us for entering their kingdom: the clouds built up the rain got steadily heavier and there was the rumble of thunder in the distance. The thunder came closer, the rain got heavier and the clouds darkened. Did I mention the rain got heavier, torrential is the word I am looking for. Now I don’t want you to think I am exaggerating, but it got heavier than torrential: monsoon quantities of water fell on us. Not only that, but now, lighting and thunder was right over us , it felt as though it was about ten feet above us, that might be exaggerating, but it was close, very close.

We got off the water safely. Just as we were emptying the boats some of the clouds cleared and the sun once again appeared, the cuckoo began to call, the birds sang and a woodpeckers drumming echoed across the water.
A perfect end to a wonderful day.