Monday, January 21, 2008

Little Cumbrae: a touch of the Hebridean Wild West.

Little Cumbrae lies deep within the protective arms of the Firth of Clyde and so is not strictly speaking one of the Hebridean Islands. These lie off the remote Atlantic coast of Scotland from the Mull of Kintyre in the south to Cape Wrath in the north.

The highest point of the Little Cumbrae is only 47km from George Square in the heart of Glasgow, which with its commuter belt has a population of 2.3 million people.

Despite this proximity to so many people, we found ourselves completely alone on a winter Saturday lunch time. Of course in the summer there will be innumerable yachts, motor cruisers, speed boats and jet skis on the horizon.

We can now enjoy the solitude of this wonderful place, which in winter is as quiet as any remote Hebridean Island. As Billy, Tony and myself paddled round Little Cumbrae, it rekindled memories of a truly memorable trip, which was only the second time that we three had paddled together.


Scarp, Outer Hebrides.

We had gone on a trawler supported trip arranged by Andy Spink of Hebridean Pursuits to the "Wild West". Andy has been organising these trips (for six years now) with the aim of getting to the remoter parts of the Hebrides, including when possible St Kilda. This year, the week long trip leaves from Oban on 16th May. It occurs to me that it would be an ideal introductory trip for some of the regular visitors to this blog who have not yet paddled in the Hebrides. Of course when I say introductory, what I mean is to the area not to sea kayaking! You would need to be used to paddling in exposed rough water conditions. Full details are available from Andy tel. 44(0)1631 710317 and email