Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thank the Lord, for the Ortlieb Aqua Zoom bag!

After crossing the Sound of Bute, it was a relief to land on the welcoming granite sand beach at Sannox on Arran.

Photo by Ian from Mountain and Sea Scotland.

This was my longest trip in a kayak for six months as I have suffered increasing instability in my left knee and pain in both knees. I am only able to go sea kayaking with the help of my understanding friends. Thank you all. Ian's photo shows Phil assisting me from my kayak. I was hardly able to walk up the beach to the shelter of some gorse bushes to be out of the cold breeze. We sat enjoying second luncheon washed down with a very fine 14year old Glefiddich followed by more 10 year old Jura.

Unfortunately I had been in so much pain when I landed, I had not pulled my kayak high enough up the beach. A combination of a big spring tide and increasing shore break capsized my kayak and filled the cockpit with sand and water. My trusty Ortlieb Aqua Zoom camera bag (with my 5D mk2 inside) was trashed beneath the upturned kayak by the waves for about 20 minutes. Ian and Phil helped me empty the kayak while I inspected the bag and camera. Not a drop of water had got in. I thoroughly recommend this bag to any kayaking photographer.

Leaving Sannox at 1406, time was just a little tight for the last leg down the east coast to Brodick. Nonetheless, Phil and Ian saw the resident otter off Merkland Point.

We landed beside the pier at Brodick at 1548, some 20 minutes before the ferry berthed. The usual ferry, MV Caledonian Isles, was away for her winter refit and her place was taken by Loti*. We enjoyed some banter with her Highland crew as we loaded the kayaks onto the car deck. Then it was up to the cafeteria for curry and chips and fish and chips and a very pleasant chat on the way back to Ardrossan. After running the shuttle, Ian had a 200mile drive back to Aberdeen!

What a day!

*MV Lord of the Isles.

The finest scenic sea kayak crossing in Scotland?

 The crossing of the Sound of Bute from Garroch Head on Bute... Sannox on Arran... probably one of the most scenic in Scotland and at 10.6km requires just a little commitment.

I (and very many others) also like the crossing of Loch Scavaig from Elgol to Loch na Cuilce on Skye but it lacks the commitment of an open crossing, as you can keep to the shore.

So I would like to propose the Garroch Head to Sannox crossing as the finest scenic sea kayak crossing in Scotland.

The Carradale trawler FV Caledonia (TT34) was still trawling her nets... we reached mid channel.

Gradually, the mountains of Glen Sannox on Arran began to dominate the horizon to the SW.

 We were entertained.. an ever changing vista... the low cloud...

...drifted and swirled round the corries and peaks.

Then, when we paddled under the clouds,...

...we too were  alternately in their shade then...

 ...back in the sunshine as we made our final approach to Sannox.