Sunday, 30 May 2010

Ledaig to Oban

The trouble with having access to an area with a wide range of classic paddling options is that certain areas are neglected for more classic wild/remote days paddling. The paddle from Ledaig caravan site to Oban Bay was not the most adventurist day paddle ever planned, but as it turned out, it was to be a very enjoyable day trip.

Jim Breen launching at Ledaig.

The plan was to paddle from Ledaig south west, across to west of Dustaffnage Castle and follow the coast passing Camas Rub na Liathaig, Ganavan Hill, Ganavan Bay to Maidan Island near the narrows between the Island of Kerrera and the mainland into Oban Bay. The paddle revealed many small coves and ideal landing places along the Dunstaffnage Castle area. The whole area of this coast was adorned with wild primroses, a sprinkling of thrift and interesting geology formations. Ravens from Ganavan Hill and the occasional seal kept us company as we headed for Oban Bay.

The Lismore ferry heading out of Oban Bay.

We thought it would be a good idea to give way to the Mull ferry heading into Oban!!!!!

The north tip of the Island of Kerrera, near the narrows into Oban Bay.
Taking cover from a sudden down pour of very heavy rain under one of the many piers in Oban Bay.
The rain lasted for about 5 minutes.
Lunch on the east shore of Kerrera.
Exploring the coves near Dunstaffnage on the paddle back to Ledaig.
Nearly back at Ledaig. Looking east towards the Connel Bridge.
In all we paddled approximately 24km. It turned out to be a very good day’s paddle.

The End

Friday, 28 May 2010

A Perfect Day on The Firth of Clyde.

Past experience of paddling the waters on the Firth of Clyde have always been grey, wet and windy affairs, with the result that this diverse area has been neglected over the years. After watching the weather forecast plans were made to revisit the Clyde. We would launch from Largs Marina. The weather Gods did look kindly on us this weekend (Sunday) and my perspective on this area has changed. The paddling plan was to leave Largs and paddle North West, completing a figure of 8 around Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae. As it turned out, this was to be a very memorable day’s paddlefor all the right reasons.
Launching from Largs Marina.
What little breeze was there, soon fell away, leaving mirror like conditions.

Myself, enjoying the Clyde as I have never experienced it.

Taking a short break on the west shore of Great Cumbrae.
Paul and his hat!!!!!
Little Cumbrae Castle built in the 16th Century. Cumbrae House in the background is now a yoga and meditation centre.
Lunch time on the West side of Wee Cumbrae: at the old pier and lighthouse. We were welcomed by a fine display of thrift and other flowers.
The Lighthouse on the west coast of Wee Cumbrae.
It does not come any better than this.
The End.

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Kyles of Bute. (Porpoise, Maids and Clouds).

I had wanted to paddle the Kyles of Bute for a few years now but for some reason never got around to it. I was to meet Eddie at Colintraive where we would launch the kayaks. There is always the added excitement of paddling in a new area. The geography of the area and the low lying cloud hanging over the hills and mingling with the forests created a sense of intimacy that continued to grow throughout the day.
We were then rewarded by our paddle to Eilean Dubh and the bay behind it by a totally tranquil atmosphere.
The Burnt Islands, a short paddle NW from Colintraive turned out to be a paradise for wildlife. Large numbers of Eider Duck (I have never seen so many in one area) swam, dived, courted or just sat contently on the shore. Their Oooooing sound drifted from all directions. Numerous Gulls sat paired on these islands. Herons fished, Oyster catchers, Curlews and Waders called. There were a few seals basking on rocks and more kept an eye on us from the water.
View from near Buttock Point looking North towards Eilean Dubh on the left and further in the background lies Loch Riddon/Ruel.
We then headed to Tighnabruaich. As we approached Tighnabruaich we were privileged and surprised to be in the company of pod Porpoises of approximately 15 to 20 in number, which rolled on the surface over a large area of water. I did not manage to get any pictures of them. I gave up trying and enjoyed the moment. Fantastic and undoubtedly the Porpoises were the highlight of yet another wonderful day on the water.
Lifeboat at Tighnabruaich coming in from an exercise.
Paddling north back up the Kyles.
Lunch on the west shore of Bute.
Myself with the Maids of Bute.
The Maids of Bute.
Before ending the days paddle we again explored the Burnt Islands. On the way back to our landing spot we again spotted a few Porpoises. The perfect way to end a magical day.
The End.