Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mud, tides and windmills on the Solway

Back at the end of January, we drove south to Auchencairn Bay on the Solway Firth. We parked behind the hotel and trollied the kayaks down a delightful lane to the shore. In the distance, beyond the shoulder of Hestan island, our destination, the Colvend coast, lay tantalizingly on the far side of Auchencairn Bay .

Launching here is very much controlled by the tide. The window extends for about 2.5hrs either side of HW Hestan Island. If you arrive and see the mud is still exposed, don't even attempt to cross it, it is glutinous, evil smelling stuff that you will carry round with you for many weeks to come. Being the Solway, the tide will come in very quickly, so be patient and wait just a little until it is covered.

On launching, we first turned west along the cliffs of Balcarry Point. In the spring and early summer, these cliffs come alive with thousands of sea birds such as guillemots, razorbills and fulmars. Today...

...all was quiet as we explored the stacks at the base of the cliffs....

...before turning east to cross Auchencairn Bay. To the south, the windmills of the Riders Rigg wind farm were silhouetted against the distant snow covered mountains of the English Lake District.

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