Saturday, 24 July 2010

Clyde taster.

On Wednesday it rained, and it rained some more, then it rained again. I know because this was the first day of a 3 day trip from Arran up towards Bute, but by Thursday night the weather was just great and all was forgotten, the tent was dry again and watching the sun set over Kintyre made the journey work out fine.
Funny thing our summer weather.......

This was to be a trip with company but what with one thing and another it ended up just myself, we where going to do a round Arran trip but solo I could get in a journey that has taken my fancy for a while now. So on a rainy morning peering out over the Clyde with everything grey I hit the water at 9am with a rough plan to head up the coast and out across to Inchmarnock.

With enough food and water for 3 days the boat was heavy, the forecast said improving to dry, hope so.....

I launched at the north side of Brodick bay at the end of the road to my house, this was to be as simple a journey as possible with little costs. The first leg up past Corrie and Sannox is a place I paddle often and know well, its a great coast for the sea birds and otters, this is my back yard paddling area and I never tire of seeing it. At the Fallen Rocks, I stopped to eat and have a look at the crossing, do a quick radio check with Clyde and phone in some details of the route with a friend, then off.

Its an hour and 40 mins across to the small island of Inchmarnock and visibility came and went from ok to no sight of land, Bute would show itself eventually and the compass bearing was good bringing me on to the southern bay for lunch. Took a short walk about while the Trangia boiled some water, there seemed to be a worlds smallest crab contest going on in the rocks below high tide! The place was teeming with them, common shore crabs? This was one of the slower smallish ones.

The rest of the first day was a slog up to the top of Bute to camp at the Burnt Isles, a total of 45kms for the day, tired and wet through, happy and very hungry the rain held off till the tent was up. I did fancy camping on one of the Burnt Isle but when you see the amount of birds at this time of year its not possible, apart from anything the noise was deafening, so I pitched camp just north of wreck bay on the northern tip of Bute. Got the stove going for a coffee and some food and sat and watched the rain.

Now this may look like a pretty crappy way to camp with the rain and all, but I got to say I was lovin' it!

Hit the pillow, or should I say a rolled up Buffalo, at about 9 and didn't wake till 7 on Thursday morning, it was dry! Still overcast but no rain. Had a good breakfast and broke camp to get on the water for 9.

The sea was pan flat, mist lingered over the trees and the place seemed deserted. All was very quiet, I got a ride on the tide back down the Kyle past Tighnabruaich towards Ardlamont point where the gaff rig boat Ezra passed by, this is a boat we see when sailing around Arran a lot, she is a 44ft Scillonian pilot cutter, beautiful.

A school of porpoise passed by quite close but other than that the trip back down to Ardlamont point was fast and quiet, the GPS reading 8kmph with the helping tide. The coast from here on towards Portavadie is worth exploring and the sun once again showed itself.

The wee light is on Sgat Mor above, good camping on this little island and I will return there soon. From here I crossed over Loch Fyne to have a look at the Kintyre coast from south of Tarbert down to Skipness, this is another interesting shore with lots of places to camp and one I sail up quite regularly but don't get to see very close.

Skippness beach with Arran in the background, amazing clouds growing in the heat of the day.

Says it all really......

Skipness buoy, 45 minutes away from the Arran coast now and a great evening to camp.

Finally got everything dry from the previous days rain! The evening was really nice, met a couple of fellow kayakers out for an evening paddle, had a good feed, took some photos and went for a walk into Lochranza to say hello to some friends.

Friday seen another fine day and again I hit the water for 9 and got a ride with the tide around the north of Arran to Laggan. This place used to be a busy place with salt pans for the herring, a coal mine and farming all nearby.

Laggan cottage.

Millstone point.

The fallen rocks, just north of North Glen Sannox. Apparently the noise of this rock fall was heard in Campbeltown!

Marvins seal, a wood carving that sits off the shore at Corrie.

Last stop before home, this is a little known harbour just south of Corrie that only has water at high tide, I have never managed to find out much about it.

Back home, 101 km later and another memorable summer holiday.

Not minimalist camping by any means! Thank goodness for big boats.

Till next time..............................

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Big water fun at Pladda.

The weather forecast:    South East Force 6, heavy rain.

           Work cancelled.


Grieg and I headed to Pladda for some gnarly paddle play. Not a force 6 to start, we launched at the Yellow Port out into 1m waves and surf and maybe a force 4.

 Staying off to the west to keep out of the flat water downwind of the Island we moved south and then across the causeway around to the east side into sheltered seas. Great place to get in some rolling practice before heading out into the big seas at the exposed south side of Pladda. The south side of the Island is rocky and unforgiving in strong onshore winds, large breaking surf onto the rough shore leaves us with a sense of caution and awe. Not a place to go swimming. Reflected waves mix with the wind waves and the sea gets chaotic and big with the wind rising.
2m waves with some breaking tops give us a great thrilling time, try as I might the photos just don't do it justice.

This was definitely the most intense part of the trip, but the best fun, well that was going downwind heading back North. Surf fun, the wind starting to ease again and the waves big and fast.
As we reached the side of Pladda all the fun was too much and our adrenaline fueled heads where starting to overheat, so rolling and rescue practice looked like the only way forward!

Going for a roll.

Self rescue practice.

Heads starting to cool off now....

More self rescue.

Wait for it.......

Fantastic day for a lark about, the return to land was again surf fun and we played for a while before finishing.

Happy days.