Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"So, what's your verdict on the Solway, Jim?"

In the Solway the tide goes out for miles leaving either sand or mud. When we arrived at Needle's Eye these salmon stake nets were nearly covered. We knew we had little time left so we paddled out...

...into the Firth to take full advantage of the ebb tide...

... which carried us across the mouth of Rough Firth back to Almorness Point which marks the entrance to Auchencairn Bay. Unfortunately we did not have time to stop at yet another of the Solway's jewels: the little sandy cove at White Port.

We then passed between Almorness Point and Hestan Island. We could tell the water was getting shallower here over Hestan Rack, which joins the island to the mainland at low tide.

It was a relief to get back into the deeper water of Auchencairn Bay again. But our relief was short lived. In the third hour of a spring ebb, the Solway tide moves very quickly and as we paddled towards our launch point, acres of deep glutinous mud were being exposed before our eyes! The firm upper beach was already half a kilometer away on the other side of the mud and I knew my injured knee would not have a hope of surviving wading through it. Strong men and horses have lost their lives in the Solway!

It was time for a plan "B" and I only did this because of my injury. At the entrance to Auchencairn Bay there is an old slipway which led up to a gate through on to the drive to the Tower which is a private residence. I do hope we did not disturb the residents. We quietly loaded the kayaks onto the trolleys and...

...wheeled them past the snowdrops back to the cars.

If we had had time we would have paddled up Rough Firth to Kippford (here there are a couple of pubs) but we drove round. Initially we were disappointed that the Anchor Hotel had closed only the day before because the lease had run out. We did not remain thirsty for very long however. It was but a short walk to the Mariner Hotel.

"So, what's your verdict on the Solway, Jim?"