Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Easter 2010 Scotland Part 3 & 4

After our successful trip into Loch Nevis and over to Knoydart the weather, as forecast, turned nasty with a force 9 blowing overnight and the next morning. We managed to paddle from the camp site around the point and into the skerries off Arisaig. Not a long trip but enjoyable none the less.

We then set our sights further south to a picturesque Loch, Loch Moidart.

After an initial recce we opted to launch from a layby on the A861 next to the Loch. This saved a tortuous journey around the Loch to the beach adjacent Castle Tioram.

Launching was a slightly tricky manoeuvre, especially with a brand new boat and a large double but we managed it and paddled off leaving Ang to watch the campers.

The scenic Loch Moidart has a bit of history attached to it.

The landing point for Bonnie Prince Charlie at the start of his Jacobite campaign on 24 July 1745 was Loch nan Uamh which is situated between Loch Moidart and Arisaig. He was accompanied from France by a number of loyal revolutionaries who came to be known as the 'Seven Men of Moidart' They were remembered by seven large oak trees planted at the end of the loch. Some of the oak trees have died and been replaced,not very succesfully by beech trees. Following his landing at Loch nan Uamh the Prince moved up Loch Shiel to Glenfinnan where he raised his standard on 19 August 1745. There is a classic paddle which starts at Glenfinnan and retraces the Princes route back down the loch to Moidart, one for the tick list.

Initially the loch had a rather Canadian feel to it with conifers coming right down to the waters edge.

After a short while Castle Tiorum (promounced cheerum) came in to view.

The castle which is well worth a visit despite the difficult access is situated on a small islet reached by a causeway at low tide. Studies have shown that the castle dates from the 14th century and was used more as an admin building rather than a show home for a prominent Clan Chief. Strangely similarities exist between Castle Tiorum and Castle Coity back home here in Wales.

Apparently the adjacent beach is very suitable for landing ancient galleys of the type used by merchants.

The surrounding area is the home of Clan Ranald and in 1715 Allan Chief of Clan Ranald is said to have fired the castle to prevent it being used by Hanoverian troops.

After the castle we crossed the entrance/exit of The River Sheil and the scenery immediately changed. The trees vanished and were replaced by familiar rocks, waves and of course seals.

Apprehensively we ventured out of the South Channel entrance passed skerries throwing up white water and along the seaward side of Eillean Shona. The weather was a good force three but although the sea was messy we had a following wind and successfully made it in to the North Channel.

Once in the calmer waters with the tricky bit over we soon found a secluded white coral beach which made an excellent lunch spot. The coral beaches are very rare, there are only three in this area including Skye. Instead of the normal white sand the beach is made up of crushed shells and algae which crunch under your feet when you walk on them.

The North channel is very narrow and makes for excellent sea kayaking.

After lunch we completed our circumnavigation of Shona and with agood wind we were soon back at the campers.

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