Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Inch Kenneth

Regular visitors to this blog have expressed some concern for our livers and our ability to continue to find oases of refreshment in the wilderness. I thought it wise to post about a day in which we did not manage to find such an establishment. Despite this, we still had an enjoyable paddle, though we all felt the effects of a drouth which came upon us as an unexpected Scottish sun beat mercilessly down on us. (There was no thirst the following day due to the truly torrential nature of the precipitation.)

Let me continue with our summer adventure. After paddling the Wilderness coast of Mull we headed across Loch na Keal for Inch Kenneth ,which in great contrast to the Wilderness, is a remarkably fertile island. Indeed, but for the lack of a pub, some might say it is as near to Paradise as you can get to on this Earth.

Nearly there..

Inch Kenneth at last, after a long and fantastic day's paddling.

On Inch Kenneth we met up with Mike again. He had chosen to have an easy day there as his arm was very stiff after having been bitten on the hand by a venomous snake during a South African adventure. Despite an easy day, he caught a 5lb pollock and spent the rest of the day in the hot sun cooking and eating it! It's a tough life when you are on location for!


  1. but on a more serious note - I'm surprised that you kayak after drinking alcohol. It seems at odds with much of the other stuff you have written on safety and the equipment you wear/carry for safe paddling. As alcohol has a negative effect on your judgement and performance it compromises your safety. I keep my malt whisky drinking to the evening after paddling is finished. I don't think thats puritanical its just common sense

  2. Hi Gordon, thank you for your post. You raise an important point and alcohol does all the things you say and your advice is sensible and most certainly not puritanical in any way.

    An additional risk is that someone who has been drinking will survive less time in cold water than someone who has not.

    I have previously posted the following "Health warning.
    Reviewing sea kayaking pubs is an acknowledged risk activity. Participants should do so in a responsible manner so that they neither compromise their own nor others’ safety."

    I think this was too light hearted.

    An adult male will metabolise and clear from the system the alcohol in an average pint of bear in about 1 hour (NB this cannot be extrapolated to 8 pints in 8 hours!) Looking at a recent GPS log, Tony and I spent over 1 and a half hours on Seil after our visit to the Oyster Brewery Bar. This was not entirely unplanned as we were waiting for the tide to turn in the Cuan sound. As I have said many times, we paddle at the leisurely end of the sea kayaking spectrum and often enjoy a long lunch.

    We almost certainly had less alcohol in our systems on our subsequent paddle than someone who drives to work after a good night out.

    I hope that helps to reassure you and thanks again for your sensible comments which restore the balance of my light hearted approach.


  3. I hate to think I've carefully drilled out the shafts of my take-apart Greenland paddle and now am told I shouldn't drink and paddle. I've already given up driving... (just kidding... Never drink and paddle).

  4. Clark Fenton07/09/2007, 13:47

    But it's good for you:



  5. Hi Michael and Clark, thank you. "Sea kayaking pubs" will continue to be posted but with a cautionary footnote based on Gordon's sensible advice. Clark thanks for the link. I have no doubts about the beneficial effects of a Guiness now and then (not so sure about the Grey Dogs Strong Ale). As long as its in moderation. I worked for 4 years in general medicine, I saw then that too much alcohol wrecks lives.