Friday, July 02, 2021

29th April 2021 #7 Locked in but not locked down by a wild night in Loch Hourn.

Ian and I set to work building a fire on the shore of Loch Hourn. We chose a site below the highest tide level but, as it was just before predicted HW, we expected the tide not reach the fire.

A stiff NE breeze soon had it burning fiercely.

Unfortunately the tide kept rising and we had to rescue the wood and leave the fire to the mercy of the water. We built a new fire further up the shore.

Of course the sun did not stay out long. Yet another squall battered down the loch towards us obliterating the view of the mountains as it came. A brave rainbow framed the scene but lasted only a few seconds till it was lost in a wall of grey. The approaching storm was elemental and truly magnificent. For a while we were transfixed by its beauty but just in time, we abandoned the new fire to its own devices and fled to the tents. The noise as the wind ripped at the flysheet and alternate bands of rain and hail lashed down added to the sense of wildness.

After the storm, we emerged from the tents to find a dusting of fresh snow on the summits but more importantly the wind had dropped.

As the sun began to set on this landlocked arm of the sea...

... its still waters reflected the sunset colours of the clouds, despite the setting sun being hidden below dark enclosing mountain ridges.

As night fell and the fire burned more brightly we swapped tales of kayaking adventures. We might be locked in, in inner Loch Hourn, but we were no longer locked down!

Thursday, July 01, 2021

29th April 2021 #6 another change of weather in Loch Hourn.

No sooner had we turned our backs to the wind and rain at the head of Loch Hourn than the wind dropped. Then the skies began to clear revealing the high rocky ridges of Ladhar Beinn to the west.

A light tail wind let me try the new prototype sail from Scottish firm KCS.

Seconds ago we had been battling into a winter storm, now we were paddling past a forest of birch and alder that was bursting into leaf. It was filled with the song of willow warblers and cuckoo's persistent calls echoed round the corries above.

We were now getting a bit hot as we had been paddling against the incoming spring tide. Fortunately as we neared the narrows, we picked up a helpful counter eddy. This carried us effortlessly the final kilometre to our intended camp site.

Not wanting the day to end, we stopped at a little rise to savour the view back up to the head of the loch. What a transformation. We hardly recognised the azure blue, sunlit waters as those which we had just paddled under a leaden grey sky.

We even got the tents up in the sunshine. Of course this was still Loch Hourn and that would not last...