Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Easter 2010 Scotland Part 2

Just in case you are wondering, part 1 comprises the 'New Boat' post.
Once we had enjoyed two days of pampering at our favourite hotel it was time to head West and join the Bank Holiday traffic. Our first port of call was Fort William where we RVd with Kath & H outside Ellis Brigham. Of course this resulted in the inevitable visit inside the shop and part with some more cash.

We left Fort William and took 'The Road to the Isles' this is the A830 which heads West to the Coast. Our destination was Arisaig which is a mecca for sea kayakers.

On the way we passed through Glenfinnan famous for its monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie and more recently the railway viaduct which carried Muggles on the Hogwarts Express. The scenic railway journey from Fort William to Mallaig is a popular tourist day trip.

At Arisaig we found a campsite right on the beach.

Kath took photos of the views across to the Small Isles, Eigg, Rhum & Canna.

For our first paddle we chose Loch Nevis with a visit to The Knoydart Peninsular.

A short trip North from the campsite and we were at Mallaig described in its tourist guide as a picturesque fishing village.

We only really saw the harbour which is very busy. Mallaig (founded 1840) is a terminus for the West Highland Railway and ferries depart the harbour for Arnisdale on Skye, The Small Islands and Inverie on Knoydart. It is also the main commercial fishing port on the West Coast of Scotland.

We off loaded the boats on the East side of the harbour where there is ample parking.

We headed out of the harbour and into the Sound of Sleat with views across to Skye and the Small Isles.

The weather was superb, but this was the lull before the storm because a force 9 was forecast for during the night.

We handrailed the coast Northeastwards and turned into Loch Nevis.

We then took a heading of due North across the entrance of the Loch to the island of Glas Eilean. The view down the Loch with the snow covered mountains was stunning. The rain over the coming two days was to wash away most of the snow so this was the last of the winter views for this year.

Past Glas Eilean there were a few buildings close to the shore so we turned East and found a secluded white beach where we stopped for a brew.

This would have made an excellent campsite.

Suitably refreshed we continued to follow the shoreline until we came to Rhubha Raonuill and the prominent statue of the Madonna.

This statue is actually made of fibreglass and has rather disrespectfully been nicknamed 'Plastic Mary'

Once round Rhubha Raonuill we could see Inverie which is overshadowed by the impressive peak of Sgurr Choire Choinnichean (796M) so not quite a Munro.

As we approach Inverie there are views of the 'Rough Bounds of Knoydart' hills including Sgur Coire nan Gobar (787M)

Knoydart is considered to be the last wilderness in the UK. Inverie is only accessible by foot which involves a 16mile walk or by boat. There are 7 miles of road on the peninsular but they are not connected to the UK road network. The few vehicles we saw were not taxed and definitely would not have passed an MoT.

A RoRo jetty was opened in 2006 which has improved access but I doubt speed cameras have reached here yet.

In 1997 The Knoydart Foundation acquired ownership of 17500 acres on Knoydart and they are committed to preserving the area and using as a resource for educating people interested in the great outdoors.

We pulled up in front of The Old Forge pub renowned as the most remote pub in the UK.

I had a coffee and the girls had the customary J2O's.

We posed for a couple of snaps before heading back. The wind was due to increase and was in our faces for the return trip.

We crossed back to North Morar in the shadow of Sgurr an Eilean Ghinbhais (522M)

Again there were fantastic views this time across The Sound of Sleat to Skye and The Cuillin Ridge.

The ferries were still busy as we turned back into the harbour.


Stuart said...

Very nice trip James, stunning scenery it doesn't get much better than that! I wasn't aware that 35 years was a kayak, only another 32 to go! Very nice boat it is too.

James Murray said...

Thanks for reading Stuart, there are parts 3,4&5 still to do but its too time consuming at the moment.