Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Talisker & Loch Bracadale

Tuesday morning dawned and the two us had typical Applecross hangovers. We had a great night singing songs on the beach in front of the Applecross Inn with a large campfire blazing away. We wanted to go back around to Skye because the forecast for Wednesday was better than the rest of the week.
A Scotsman once told me that the two best single malts are Highland Park and Talisker (thanks John)We both have a taste for Talisker so we decided to go on a tour of the distillery at Carbost.

The tour was very interesting, the most amazing fact for me was that they produce 63000 litres of whisky a week. I make that equate to about 80,000 bottles!

Talisker put the co ordinates of the distillery on their presentation boxes. Being an anorak with a new gps I tried to work out exactly where the reading was taken. I walked around the car park looking like lemon with a GPS for a few minutes and concluded that it was probably the Stills unless anyone knows different.

We did try some Talisker '57 degrees North' in the pub later that evening.

The thought of going back into a tent was a little off putting so we managed to get a room in the Old Inn at Carbost. Tom the Cornish bar man actually gave us the family cottage at the rear of the pub with great views over the loch.

A statue of the owners old lab Buster kept us company.

Incidentally The Old Inn is twinned with The Jacobs Ladder in Falmouth and judging by the reception we received here that pub would also be well worth a visit.

Back to paddling, this trip was straight out of the Scottish Sea Kayak Guide book.

We launched from the small slip at Camas Ban, Harlosh. This is a perfect launch spot, sheltered and right next to a parking place.

We paddled South to Harlosh Point and crossed from the Point to the East side of Harlosh Island.

From here we took a bearing and headed over to Wiay Island and landed on a small beach called Camas na Cille for brew. This was not going to be a long paddle today and we intended to enjoy it.

After a short stop we went down the West side of Wiay where we started to feel the exposure. The wind was NW F3 so we were soon in the lee of Wiay and able to enjoy the scenery.

The cliffs were not the highest we had seen on this trip at just 59m but the were completely vertical.

As we rounded Rubha Garbh we could see across Loch Bracadale to Idrigill Point and a couple of Macleods Maidens came in to view. Macleods Maidains are three impressive sea stacks. According to ancient manuscripts the Irish wife of Iain Ciar Macleod left Harris in a galley with three of her illegitimate daughters and the galley was wrecked on the point by the Maidens. The Pagan interpretation of the sea stacks is far more lurid. We would have liked to visit but with only two us we thought the exposure too much of a risk.

On the south side of Wiay is Geodha nan Faochog. This is the closest thing to a bay on this side of the island and there is nowhere to land. The cliffs are truly spectacular and there are many caves and inlets.

There was too much of a swell running to go too close and the noise from the caves was quite intimidating, but not for this little fella who did not appear too upset that we had disturbed him.

On the east side of Wiay Neil paused to talk to one of our clients about work which was quite surreal given our location.

I managed to get a couple of shots of the sailing vessel Eda Frandsen which is a similar boat to the Pilot cutter Ezra. She was under full sail and heading out to sea. It is possible to book a trip on the Ezra which gives you a chance to experience what it is like to sail an old boat. http://www.sailezra.co.uk/

I think she looks great and if I did not get sea sick I would like to have a go.

Once at the North end of Wiay we made a mistake and crossed to Tarner Island. What we should have done is gone further East and paddled around Oronsay where we missed out on a natural arch. Another time maybe.

We did find one small arch on the East side of Wiay and played a game of chicken with the waves. It was only just high enough.

Tarner Island had smaller but just as impressive cliffs and sheep.

We had a head wind back towards Harlosh Point but the scenery is so good here that we did not want to finish just yet.

We spotted a beautiful white sandy beach on Harlosh Island and stopped again for lunch.

The views from here were stunning as well.

It was a short paddle back to Camas Ban and the van.

Many thanks to the guide book 'Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages', Doug Cooper & George Reid, Pesda Press.


eurion said...

That looked a great trip Jim.

James Murray said...

It was, lots of variety.

Stuart said...

Amazing trip and stunning scenery especially the pictures of the dolphins. I'm heading up to Skye in September praying for settled conditions. I think a tour of the Talisker distillery will be on the books as well!

Anonymous said...

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James Murray said...

The Talisker Tour is definitely a must when on a trip to The Misty Isle Stuart. Have a good trip you are going to love it up there.