Friday, November 16, 2007


Thom here on Thursday…

Another glorious day paddling on mirror smooth Scottish waters. Each day now moves us closer to full neap tide so strong currents and tidal races become harder to find. The temperature dropped a bit from yesterday and the sky was covered with low clouds. We rarely saw the sun. Nonetheless, paddling conditions were great for exploring the coastline as wind was nearly nonexistent and aside from a mild ebb tide, the day and the loch were ours.

We rose early once again and headed off to paddle Loch Sunart which is essentially an hour and a half southwest of Ft. William. To save driving 50 miles each way we jumped a ferry across Loch Linne at Corran then drove west to our launch point at Glennborrodale. As always the scenery on the drive was spectacular taking us along several lochs and over a low pass as we proceeded out the Ardnamurchan peninsula (the most western point on the British mainland).

Just a bit of a portage from our parking spot and we had our kayaks sitting on seaweed ready to launch. After dallying just a bit in Glennborrodale harbor we set out east along the coast, practicing strokes and setting up a ferry angle to cross Loch Sunart to Carna, an island on the opposite side. Our plan was to circumnavigate Carna, then hopefully continue west and on around the west end of the island of Oronsay, which is exposed to the sea and likely to have a rugged west coast along with some swell to play in. Because of neaps the current was running a mere 2+ knots and crossing was easy. We quickly rounded the east end of Carna and stopped for lunch.

After lunch we passed along the narrow eastern channel looking for sea otters and other sea life and practicing strokes whenever we found interesting currents and eddy lines. Once we turned west the ebb tide in the channel carried us towards Oronsay. But alas, we had tarried too long and the entrance to the backside of Oronsay was blocked by the receding tide. A ~200 yard portage across the seaweed and mud was an option, however, time was running short and the better decision was to turn north and head back across Loch Sunart to our original launch location.

Another lesson learned (over and over)… pay attention to the tides. Had we launched earlier, or possibly inverted the direction of the trip we may have squeezed through. Nevertheless, we had another great day on the water and are once again ensconced in our lodging looking forward to a rest day and preparing for the Assessment beginning this coming Saturday. Thanks for following along and think good thoughts for Jen.

Regards - Thom

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