Safety is always a priority when sea kayaking, but solo paddling further heightened the vulnerability factor. With this in mind safety procedures were put in place to minimise the possible risks: email to Stornoway Coastguard with details of
• My personal details
• Trip dates
• Discription of kayak, colour and kayak’s name
• Paddling area ( route dependant on sea and weather conditions)
• safety equipment carried: selection of flares, VHF, GPS, mobile phone with contact number (Stornoway Coastguard number in memory) and first aid equipment
• Emergency contact name and number
• Vehicle description and reg, and where it would be parked during the duration of the trip.
Contact with the Coastguard would only be made if delayed or an emergency situations.
The launch point for the trip would be Glenuig Bay, Northern Moidart, with access to the Sound of Arisaig and some of the best sea kayaking areas in Scotland. The car would be left at Glenuig Inn and Sea Kayaking Centre (as arranged through the forum), run by Steve MacFarlane, an enthusiastic kayaker and ambitious businessman. Trip details were also left with staff at, Glanuig Inn. The Glenuig Inn website is worth a look. Good luck with the business Steve. www.glenuig.com/
On the water at last. The sea and weather conditions were fantastic as I paddled north across the Sound of Arisaig. Like the heartbeat of the ocean, the swell from the west came in on sets, and added to the enjoyment of the crossing as it passed under the kayak lifting and lowering it, as it continued on its rush towards Ardnish Point.
I paddled on to explore An Glas-eilean and other islands and skerries that lie at the mouth of Loch Nan Uamh. Flightless black back gull chicks strutted about the skerries as the adults sinisterly patrolled the skies overhead. Shags dived from the rocks into the pristine waters of the Sound and the shinny heads of inquisitive seals bobbed around the kayak giving the occasional snort.
I beached the kayak at a near by bay next to another two kayaks to view a bothy that sits high on a cragg. Inside the bothy were Andy, and Perry, kayakers from Sheffield who had set up home for the night. They were kind enough to invite me to stay for the night but I wanted to push further along the coast. I hope you managed to see the otters.
I was soon paddling along the southern coast of the Arisaig Peninsular. My companions were the delicate and streamlined terns as they dived for eels in the turquoise waters near the shore and the occasional red deer as they grazed on the succulent summer grass on the small hill tops that run up from the sea.
There are many places to camp along this area, but I found this little bit of paradise to set up camp. The view from a hill top of the campsite. What a view from the tent door.
A wonderful end to a perfect day, the Island of Eigg shrouded in cloud. Stunning, just stunning.
The skies were mostly blue and the sea was calm as I paddled to explore the numerous islands and skerries that lie at the mouth of Loch nan Ceall, west of Arisaig village. The Island of Eigg and Rhum in the distance. These skerries and islands were a haven for seals and other wildlife.
A convenient sign post for sea kayakers looking for the village of Arisaig. Back at camp and after a well deserved meal I was of fishing from the shore around the bay, with some success.
The end of another memorable day, and another fantastic sunset.
Today I would break camp and head back east along the coast towards the Ardnish area. It was hard to leave this wonderful campsite and the wildlife that I had shared it with: otters, seals, ravens, herons, terns diving for eels and gannets further out. The list could go on and on.
Cliodhna packed and ready to go. The journey will continue in the posting: Arisaig to Ardnish.