Thursday, February 18, 2010
This was to be Jennifer's first paddle in the new P&H Cetus LV. We did not want to let her off lightly, so we chose a little 44km trip from Seil over the Firth of Lorn to Mull. We entered Loch Spelvie, portaged into freshwater Loch Uisge then portaged back into the sea again at Loch Buie.
Here we are at the foot of the remote and bold cliffs of An Garradh, Mull at sunset. We still have a 16km open crossing of the Firth of Lorn before returning to our start point of the Isle of Seil.
Most of the crossing was done in complete darkness with a F3-4 wind at 45 degrees to our bows and an adverse current of 1 knot. In the darkness, we could only feel and taste the waves.
There are very few untried kayaks you would trust using for a trip like this. The Cetus LV proved to be one. Jennifer found it to be completely comfortable and its behaviour in the dark and in challenging conditions, to be completely predictable and confidence inspiring. Her only criticism was an over stiff skeg adjustment.
I hope I will be able to wrest it from her hands before we finish testing it for issue 20 of Ocean Paddler magazine.
We left Balcarry Point and the expanse of Auchencairn Bay far behind as the flood tide...
...carried us eastward past the seaward cliffs of Hestan Island. The lighthouse is a recently built tardis design.
We then made swift progress across the mouth of Rough Firth and past Castlehill Point, where many oyster catchers were waiting for the tide to turn.
At high water, we entered a bay called Gutcher's Isle.
At the back of the bay there was a narrow cleft in the rocks, less than a paddle breadth wide. Where would it lead?