Monday, August 30, 2010

No otters at Otter Ferry, Loch Fyne!

David, Phil and I arrived at Otter Ferry which is about half way up Loch Fyne, one of Scotland's longest sea Lochs at the head of the Firth of Clyde. There is an excellent pub here just by the sea shore.

We were welcomed by the pipping of the resident oyster catchers at the end of the old pier.

Otter does not refer to the furry mammal but to "oitir" a long spit of shingle that extends for a long way across the loch just under the water.

Leaving one car at Otter Ferry we drove up to St Catherine's jetty near the head of the loch to launch. The sharp witted reader will have already sussed our route in this long narrow loch!

Monday, August 23, 2010

From the Dorus Mor to Crinan

From the Corryvreckan we had to paddle at a high ferry angle to get round the north end of Reisa an t-Sruith. Once past here we were propelled through the Dorus Mor (the gap behind the paddlers) and thence towards Crinan still at 11km/hr!

All was quiet as we approached Crinan...

...and landed at the slipway...

...after a superb day of tidal assistance.

A trailer makes light work of transporting 4 kayaks on the long road home.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Corryvreckan eddy.

We waited at the SE entrance to the Corryvreckan for 1.5hours after slack water, to let the east going ebb tide build up a little bit. We then launched into a counter eddy, which took us back west at 10.8km/hr into the Corryvreckan again.

We were passed by a west going yacht, motoring at full belt on top of the 10.8km/hr of the eddy. It was really nice to see its single handed skipper displaying such a confident knowledge of these tricky waters. We exchanged waves of mutual respect!

Tony and I then broke out into the main ebb. The eddy line was rather stimulating and then, out in the main current, huge boils, 150m across, erupted on the surface from the depths below. However, there was not a breath of wind and the surface of the Corryvreckan remained surprisingly calm. Even a light wind can turn these waters into somewhere very unpleasant. We were entertained by some porpoises feeding on confused fish.

After spending some time in the eddy, Jennifer and Phil came out to join Tony and I. It was their first trip into the Corryvereckan other than at slack water.

Once we were all in the main ebb, we found ourselves "drifting" along at only 14km/hr!

All too soon, we were ejected from the Corryvreckan. This is Phil's "Been there, done that." photo!

This was our track through and across the Corryvreckan from west to east. Slack, before the east going ebb, was predicted at 16:00, it was 3 days after neaps. We entered the west end of the Corryvreckan at 15:38, passed 180m SW of the pinnacle over which the whirlpools form at 15:52. at 16:01 the sea went glassy calm indicating slack water. (Note: tidal predictions here are very dependent on air pressure and are only reasonably accurate in the middle of a high pressure system.) We landed at Port nam Furm, at the SE entrance to the Corryvreckan, at 16:18. We relaunched at 17:18 into the west going eddy and finally left the Corryvreckan at 17:46, an hour and 46 minutes after slack water.

Don't be fooled by the calm conditions we encountered in the Corryvreckan on this current trip. This photo with a little wind shows the Corryvreckan in a much more serious mood.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Waiting for the ebb in the Corryvreckan.

We entered the great gulf of Corryvreckan just before slack water. There was no swell and we had never seen the SW of Scarba in such calm conditions.

Jennifer tried to look under the water to see if she could see the Old Hag that stirs the Corryvreckan but the witch must have been scared of Jennifer's goldfish hat.

Even at slack water there was some stirring as we paddled over the submarine pinnacle that throws up the "whirlpool".

Even Phil had found the whole experience somewhat anticlimactic, so we decided to stop for an evening meal...

...on a lovely cobbled beach on the NE tip of Jura.

We had a grandstand view of the Corryvreckan as we consumed our victuals and washed them down with a fine malt or two. We would now wait until the ebb had built up sufficiently for a little fun...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sea Kayaking desktop wallpaper calendar August 2010

August, The Sound of Gunna.

The August desktop calendar is available for download here. will have limited posts for the next few weeks.