Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Big Trip 2009, day 1

Launch was from the campsite slipway on the north shore of Loch Sunart at Resipole. They allow cars to be left for £2 a night. The kayak is loaded up with provisions and water for a four day trip. The sun is shining and the sea loch is almost mirror calm. It was good to get on the water and start paddling.

For the first day the plan was to follow the Sunart (southern) shore. The Sunart Oakwoods are an internationally important site for mosses, lichens and liverworts as well as various vegetation communities, birds and animals. Much of the southern shore of Loch Sunart has this important semi-natural woodland dominated by oak, but there are also enormous conifer plantations and significant areas of rhododendron, which thrive in the climate here. The alien conifers and rhododendron are being removed.

There are massive areas of clear-fell and jetties exist in a number of places to facilitate the removal of the timber by coasters. This particular one looked more redundant than used.

This coaster had arrived on Monday evening for loading at a jetty on the southern shore of Loch Sunart opposite the Resipole campsite. I had seen it earlier that day heading south down Loch Linnhe near Fort William, so presumably the timber is going to the pulp mill at Corpach. 24 hours later it was loaded up and on its way back.

After a few hours of gentle paddling I reached the island of Carna, an island with narrows on either side that is at the entrance of Loch Teacuis. The hill in the background is Ben Laga.
I came across this urchin shell on top of a rock that had presumably been used as an anvil or lunch place by a gull or perhaps an otter, which are plentiful hereabouts.

The channel on the west side is narrower than on the east and has quite a few submerged rocks. The tide really rips through here and it was fascinating watching the changes of the tidal flow as time passed by.
It was at this point I decided to make my campsite. It was a very warm day and as it was my first days paddling I didn't want to over do things or become dehydrated. I'd only paddled for about six hours, perhaps covering 25km, but sometimes it is best to quit while you are ahead.

The ketch on the far left seemed to be some sort of research vessel that came in to anchor on the north side of Eilean nan Eildean. A couple of tenders were working the channel and there appeeared to be some sort of observation of the sea floor and collection going on. Apparently there are some important reefs hereabouts. Later in the afternoon the wind started to blow a real hooley from the north west and during the night the ketch had to be moved around the Eilean for more shelter.

No comments: