Sunday, October 21, 2007

Eye of the Storm Gathering

On the second day of the Stornoway Storm Gathering we left the shelter of Bhaltos and Caolas Pabaigh and emerged into the Atlantic swell. It was breaking over the rocks of the exposed point of Eala Sheadha and through its great arch. Murty Campbell from Stornoway Canoe Club(centre) and Jeff Allen from Sea Kayaking Cornwall (right) probed the white stuff at the entrance to the arch. Eleanor MacGregor (left) goes in for a good close look.

Murty wants some photos and calls for a photographer! Clark Fenton asks if anyone fancies going in but there seems to be some reluctance to volunteer as another huge swell pounds through the arch.

Photo Clark Fenton
At last, a reluctant photographer inched in towards the impact zone.

The photographer then turned his kayak to brave the surges within the arch. Jeff and Murty nonchalantly stood by in the worst of the breaking waters. Clark now moved forwards, waiting for his chance. More sensible kayakers hung well back. Note that big incoming roller behind Murty's head.....

After noting its approach, I calmly pressed the shutter then....

....fortunately I floated over unscathed.

Photo Clark Fenton
Seeing his chance, Clark now went past me through the arch to the outside and got his camera ready for a photo. Jeff went through next and again stood by while I attempted to turn my kayak between the sets crashing through the arch. Finally, I emerge and thankfully am still upright. I sprinted between the breakers surging into the wall of rock at the far side of the arch.

Water, water everywhere and my mouth was dry as dust.


  1. Well done for taking those photos in those conditions. I think I'd have had both hands on my paddle!

  2. Hey Douglas- I'm so impressed with these photos- it looks really scarey and there I am bobbing up and down- how cool! Cheers Eleanor MacGregor

  3. THank you Simon, I do not want to say how many times I was nearly over!

    Hello Eleanor, thanks for dropping by. It didn't just look scarey, it was scarey!


  4. man, I know i'd have got hung up trying to go through there! Yeah, I am looking at old posts. . . :)

  5. Hi Derrick, although this arch is in a very remote part of Scotland, (you probably got to Puerto Rico in less time than it takes for me to get to the Outer Hebrides from Glasgow) I had been before, some 15 months before that trip. I had explored the arch in calm weather and so knew where the reefs were. Even so when those big sets came through...

    Needless to say I had my helmet on!