Sunday, September 12, 2010

Goat bhuna and the Mull of Cara

From the Boathouse on Gigha, we made our way south through a series of skerries. The Mull of Kintyre and the pointed summit of Cara lay beyond the skerries.

We soon picked up a convoy of curious common seals who followed us through the channels. (Thanks to Will for identification.)

Phil and I in the kayaks got through shallow gaps that Donald could not risk with his outboard motor.

After crossing from Gigha to Cara, we made our way down the west coast of Cara. The water became increasingly rough as we approached...

...the south end where the small tide race was flooding northwards at its height, as we were now 3 hours after slack water. There is a gap in photos as for about 400m, both hands were required to be on the paddle to maintain an upright posture. Donald's little boat managed remarkably well, despite the Mull of Kintyre disappearing from sight every so often.

The water flattened off once we had rounded Cara's SW point and we were able to photograph the Mull of Cara which is its most southerly point. It is only 49m high but it is a rather impressive sight from a small boat.

We now made our way up the east coast of Cara in sheltered water to this magnificent shell sand beach. The rocky shore to its south had some pretty smelly goats on it but they are far fewer in number since a Yorkshire gentleman, with a chain of Indian restaurants, brought a refrigerated lorry and some friends with rifles north to Kintyre. When I was in the Punjab, I developed a taste for goat bhuna, though I tended to leave the trotters at the side of the plate. I hope this gentleman returns soon, as there really are too many goats on Cara. After his last visit, the spring flowers were seen in profusion for the first time in many years.

Clear skies over Gigha.

The forecast for mainland Scotland was not looking good; with the possibility of torrential rain and thunderstorms but lightish winds. We looked west to Gigha, which is a beautiful low lying isle of the west coast of the Mull of Kintyre. I reckoned it would not have enough area to create a thermal uprising for a thunder cloud.

Donald had been going to head up to the far north west but had been equally dubious about the weather there. So we met up with Phil at Tayinloan pier.

Donald loves the sea but is not exactly a sea kayaker. He explores the west coast in a little inflatable boat powered by a 2.5hp outboard with another 2hp outboard as backup.

It was not long till we were afloat...

...and heading across the Sound of Gigha. The distant Paps of Jura heaved above the low hills of Gigha in the foreground.

At first, dark clouds rose above us but...

...we soon left the clouds above Kintyre behind and... the time we had crossed the Sound of Gigha, the sky was clear. We landed on Gigha at Port na h-Atha near the Boathouse...

...with its little white sand beach, backing a bay of crystal clear water. Donald's little boat looked quite at home between the two kayaks.

It was still a little early for a cold drink but I noticed that since our last visit, the Boathouse Cafe Bar now serves draught beer. They have also installed a filter coffee machine, so we settled for some coffee, while we planned the rest of our itinerary...

You can follow Donald's view our trip to Gigha here.