Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The view from the summit of Little Ross Island.

From the summit of Little Ross Island we looked west down to the waters of The Sound with the point of Fox Craig beyond. It is often instructive to view paddling conditions from above.

From sea level, just 20 minutes before, the wide angle lens made the conditions look much calmer than they actually were.

The tide race was swirling round the south end of Little Ross and this was wind with tide! This large yacht was making her way up to Kirkcudbright from the Isles of Fleet where she had spent Saturday night. She had reached down under foresail alone. Because there was live firing on the range she.had to pass within 200m of the SE shore of Little Ross so she started her engine and motor sailed in before hoisting her main once in the more sheltered waters of the bay.

This is the view east from Little Ross and all the sea and land in the photo is in the exclusion zone when the range is firing. In the middle distance, Gypsy Point marks the far side of Kirkcudbright Bay. In the far distance, Abbey Head is 7km away and the firing range extends a further 3km beyond it. Despite the wind, the noise of medium and large calibre firing travelled far over the water.The flood tide runs east along this coast and the ebb west. At springs the tide makes 4 knots in each direction.

As we did not want to paddle north up Kirkcudbright Bay against the 3.5 knot ebb tide (I stopped using my Greenland paddle for everyday use after the last time I did that!) it was now time to make our way back to our kayaks to catch the end of the flood. The lower light at the north end of the island is aligned with the lighthouse astern  to give a transit for boats to find the start of the buoyed channel up the River Dee to Kirkcudbright.

As we approached the store at the west quay, the Gallovidian III was still at anchor on range duty but the other recreational boats were already making their way up river to avoid the ebb tide.