Friday, June 14, 2013

High and dry in Loch Moidart north channel.

At the east end of Shona Beag, the ebb tide was running strongly back down the south channel of Loch Moidart. once we rounded the end of the island we could see that the tide in the north channel was running east and joining the west flowing ebb in the south channel so I was pretty sure that the bar in the north channel would be dry.

My assumption was correct. High water in Loch Moidart was 08:54 and it was three days after springs. At 13:21 we were able to paddle right up to the causeway that the "road" runs over to Eilean Shona.

 Looking west down the north channel from the causeway.

Looking east up the north channel after the short portage across the causeway. For any future trips I am pretty sure that 3.5 hours either side of high water in Loch Moidart should see you through without a portage. No time was to be wasted, not even for a drop of The Singleton. We remained quite dry as we raced to beat the tide.

The north channel was emptying quickly and water was extremely shallow for a considerable distance below the causeway...

 , it was a great relief to enter deeper water.

The Sgurr of Eigg acts as a focal point at the far end of the north channel which is...

 ...hemmed in by steep rocky slopes. We called this balanced rock "the Mushroom".

 The opening to the north channel is blocked by a series of low reefs and... lagoons interspersed with...

 ...coral sand beaches.

Then we were clear, into the Sound of Arisaig with magnificent views to Eigg and the snow covered Cuillin of Rum beyond. Time for a swally *

* swally (n) a quenching of one's drouth.


  1. Hi Douglas, we were in N Loch Moidart on June 4/5 overnight on 38' yacht (and not for the first time). It's an 'interesting' entrance and for calm weather only. Yes I have kayaked it too; fantastic place. If you saw Findeln, it was us.

    1. Hi David, it was actually the 17th March that I was there with Ian. I have not managed a great deal of paddling this year due to knee and shoulder problems so I am posting my back catalogue.

      Yes I have been in there twice in a yacht, in the late '70's. First time was fine flat calm but in those days weather forecasts were not so good and we went in second time (in a flat calm) as "experts". We were caught out as the wind got up overnight and blew for two days before it dropped enough to leave. Humbling!

      I will look out for Findeln :o)

  2. Findeln was a charter, based Ardfern. Nice yacht, tho. GPS certainly makes such entrances a lot easier. That week was ideal kayaking weather; we did rather too much motoring. Yes understand you have some problems; hope you (of all people) are able to pull some strings to get whatever necessary done!

    1. Hi David even though I am a retired doctor it would be highly unethical to "pull some strings". I have been quite happy to join the NHS waiting lists and have been delighted by the surgical and physiotherapy treatments for my joint problems. Have you ever taken a kayak on a charter yacht? :o)

    2. (Sorry for late reply) Kayak on board a yacht would be interesting. No, not really enough room even on a 36' or so, to be safe. Maybe tow it? Sailing years ago in the Med, kayaks and sailboards were often piled high on yachts.

    3. Hi David, some yachts carry inflatable kayaks, otherwise you really need a very big yacht. I am not sure about towing a kayak. You would certainly need a cockpit cover but I think an empty kayak might capsize too easily.