Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Scotland Mayday 2010

With no specific plan other than we fancied a trip to the Small Isles we headed North and met up at Glen Nevis near Fort William.

After an early breakfast following an unusual alarm call (dog jumping on tent) we took the 'Road to the Isles' headed over to Arisaig.

We had a quick trip around the Skerries to blow out the cob webs.

We made the mistake of launching in Arisaig itself. This is convenient for parking and toilets but involves launching and landing in stinking mud if you get the tide times wrong.

Neil and Catherine had not done this one so it was not really a repeat of Easter.

We managed to land near the harbour/marina but this involved a failry long tug with the trollies.

The campsites North of Airsaig were quite full due the fact it was a bank holiday but we managed to find a spot overlooking the Smalls and The Sound of Sleat.

The wind as forecast for the next few days was too high for a trip to the Smalls so we opted to go to Skye instead. Another early start and we were at the ferry terminal in Mallaig before the ticket office opened.

Our gamble paid off and we enjoyed the scenic trip across the Sound of Sleat to Arnisdale on Skye.

We have all wanted to visit Rasaay since our trip to the area this time last year which was disrupted by bad weather.

We opted for a day trip out of Portee. The main car park gave easy access to the water in sheltered conditions.

Leaving our little haven we headed out of the harbour and into the lea some rocks,Sgeir Mhor, this gave us a chance to view the conditions in the Sound of Rasaay before deciding whether or not to make the crossing.

We made the decision to go across but first we went North up the coast for a mile or so. This would allow us to cut and run with a following wind back into the harbour should we not be comfortable with the conditions further out into the Sound.

The cliffs on this part of Skye are some of the biggest and most impressive that I ever seen. They are not just high, the top third is rock face with the rest being grass with rocky outcrops and scree. There appears to be a path along the coast but it looks quite difficult to walk. The cliffs are home to lots of birds and we were lucky to see a Sea Eagle which appeared to be being fed by a local fishing boat.

The crossing went without incident although the very large swell coming down the Sound was not something we had experienced before.

We headed for some distinctive cliffs on Rasaay and Neil went close to explore the caves and inlets.

There was small beach, Manish Mor, next to the cliffs and this made for an excellent lunch stop.

After a bit of exploring we went further up the coast of Rasaay to Manish Point.

From here we recrossed to Skye near The Princes Cave.

On the way south back towards Portree Kath spotted a couple of Dolphins then a pod of them swam through the group of us which made an awesome photo opportunity.

The Dolphins looked like they were huntng fish along the cliff face because they made a number passes before disappearing and leaving us buzzing with excitement.

This what sea kayaking is all about.

Undoubtably one of the best paddles we have had yet and even the labourious landing (the tide had gone out) did not dampen our spirits.

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