Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Scotland May 09

It has been a very busy few weeks and there is plenty to blog about.

The first trip was off to Scotland for May Bank holiday.
We had looked forward to this trip for months and we were not disappointed.
The plan was to travel to Applecross and meet up with Kath, Helen and Sarah. We had arranged to borrow a couple of boats from The Venture Trust so that the three girls could have a paddle over the Bank holiday weekend.
Neil and I would then go off on our travels around Raasay and The Inner Sound or over to Portree and Skye.
However, the weather had other ideas.
The first part of the plan went fine until we reached Fort William where a road accident blocked the A82 at Spean Bridge. This forced an overnight stop at Glen Nevis under the Big Ben and an early RV with the girls.



The two new Banshees were easy to put up and we nick-named them the twins.
Saturday morning we resumed our trip this time in convoy with Kath and stopped a few times on route to enjoy the views.





There are two ways into Applecross.

Guess which way we chose?
The Bealach na ba (Pass of the Cows) was an interesting drive, it is actually the highest road pass in the UK.







As soon as we reached Applecross we visited The Venture Trust and took delivery of the kayaks, one double a Wilderness Systems Northstar and a Valley Aquanaut.

After pitching the tents we set off south for look at the coastline and to blow out the cob webs from the drive.


The wind was blowing from the south so we managed a couple for miles before surfing back in time for food at The Walled Garden.

On Sunday the wind continued to blow and the forecast was not good so we decided to forgo the idea of wild camping and stay on at The Applecross campsite instead.
We opted for a sheltered day paddle out to The Crowlin Islands.
We launched at Toscaig which was very scenic.



The Crowlin Islands consist of three islands, between the largest two there is a picturesque natural harbour which is home to a seal colony.

Once on The Crowlins we had lunch
and tried a spot of fishing, as usual we caught nothing.









The seals as usual were very inquisitive.



Before leaving we explored the northern end of the islands where there were spectacular views across Caolas Mor to Skye.
The wind picked up again to force 6 on Sunday so we headed north to Sheldaig hoping for a sheltered paddle on Lochs Torridon and Sheldaig.
We enjoyed a cream tea in the highly recommended Coastal Cafe before heading off into the lee of Sheldaig Island.



















The paddle was about six miles in a force 6 and was good experience for all of us.
We then took the coast road back to Applecross where the girls returned the boats and headed back down south.


Tuesday saw an improvement in the weather but the outlook was still poor in fact Thursday was predicted force 10.

After considering the weather we decided to opt for the tourist option and visit Beachcomber Cottage some six miles up the coast.


This was the location for the programme Monty Hall's Great Escape.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An15Gz9hQDI














Wednesday was wind as usual so we headed for a secret location where we were told some dolphins could often be seen.



After a short paddle in a wind of force 5 -7 the dolphins came out to play and we enjoyed about half an hour surfing with them which was the most amazing experience.
We could not get back to the spot where we launched because of the wind. So we bailed out and Neil had a couple of miles run back to the transport.



The weather got steadily worse and we did experience a force ten wind on Thursday so that was the end of the paddling and we headed back home on the Friday - what a week.

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