Wednesday, March 04, 2015

A rough ride to Ardtoe.

West from Castle Tiorum, the south channel of Loch Moidart opens up but the loch is still...

...sheltered by a group of rocky islets at its mouth. A calm patch encouraged Ian to get his DSLR out and photograph some...

 ...seals that were all around us.

Soon the castle slipped astern and we found ourselves weaving...

...through the skerries and islands at the mouth of the loch. As we approached to open sea the wind increased to the top end of a F4 from the NW. It was a spring tide and the ebb from the loch was creating some wonderful wind over tide conditions. We went from the calm of the skerries straight into...
 
 ...a truly wonderful winter playground. Unfortunately I had not brought sails for Ian and myself as Allan didn't have one. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a wonderful 2km down wind blast through somewhat confused waters to the shelter of...

 ...the Ardtoe skerries where we...

 ...caught our breath for the 8km upwind slog back to the Sound of Arisaig

Ardtoe was a lovely spot to shelter from the wind, have a quick snack and rehydrate with water!

This is the sort of sea kayaking I really enjoy. Essentially it is the combination of a remote location, decent "conditions" in winter and being with a small group of trusted friends. We had not seen a soul or another boat since we left Glenuig.  North of Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point of mainland Britain, the western horizon stretched away across the Atlantic for some 3,300km until Orton Island, off the coast of Labrador. We were dependent on our own resources. Indeed some years ago, Ian and I self rescued after a winter capsize on this very coast. Afterwards we carried on as if nothing had happened. When I started kayaking I joined a club but soon left because weekend after weekend all people wanted to do was practice "skills". Skills for what? I much preferred getting out and going sea kayaking!

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