Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Taking the plunge in Balfour's Bay

On the south coast of Erraid we came across a breach in the pink granite walls of rock. It led in to a dazzling...

 ...white sandy beach called Traigh Gheal (white beach, the Gaels were an imaginative lot!) though it is better known as David Balfour'sBay. Robert Louis Stevenson experienced the island while on visits with his father who was constructing the Dubh Artach lighthouse on the edge of the Torran rocks. Unfortunately RLS was the black sheep of the Livingstone lighthouse dynasty. He had no interest in following his father's footsteps and became an author. He later used his knowledge of the island in his novel "Kidnapped". The hero David Balfour was shipwrecked on the Torran rocks during a storm and was washed up on this beach on Erraid. He spent several hungry wet days eating limpets before he realised it was a tidal island and walked off at low tide!

Unlike Balfour we arrived in a flat calm and a May heatwave. The air temperature was 24C but the sea was still only 9C.

One by one our little flotilla landed and we...

...drew our boats up the beach for an extended luncheon but first...

...I wasted no time in diving straight into the freezing cold water. It was extremely refreshing and so I did not stay in long but enjoyed the zing as I dried in the sun afterwards. After lunch Ian and Alan also joined me for a post prandial swim and again we dried in the sun. Later, I could not resist going in for a third swim. I have found this to be the secret of sea swimming in Scotland, several short swims are better than one long one.

After the swimmers had dried we all explored different areas of the bay before making our way...

...back to the boats. I had in mind a visit to another stunning beach, much less well known than Balfour's Bay, but could I remember how to find it?

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