Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Ardnamurchan Point

Apologies for the indulgence but that streak on the horizon is one of my favourite islands and I would have loved to have been on that ferry to Coll. This gentleman was there recently...... grrrrrr! and he can take real photos..... GRRRRRR!

Instead I "kayaked" (ahem!) to Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerley point of the island of Britain.....

....or is it? What about that bit that sticks out a mile or so further south? The land in the background is the north west coast of the Isle of Mull.

Kayaking books and websites talk about the few places to land if rounding the Point. Most if not all refer to the bay on the north side of the point but this one to the south looks to be do-able so long as the weather is not from the general direction of the west.

Portuairk at the southern end of Sanna Bay is the most approachable place by road to unload kayaks and kit and launch. A larger parking area is a couple of hundred yards up the hill from this view. I met the postie several times while reconnoitering Ardnamurchan. Her round starts at 10am (I guess the mail comes over from Tobermory on the ferry) and finishes at about 5.30pm, and she doesn't hang around either! Is this one of the longest postal rounds in Britain?

Kilchoan harbour, where the ferry lands from Tobermory on Mull. The lighthouse on Mull in the distance is the same one as seen on an earlier blog for Day 2 of this trip.

Nice bay is it not? If on the second day I had continued to paddle around the headland for another couple of kilometres instead of turning and paddling a couple of kilometres in the other direction to camp on Oronsay, I could have camped here. How annoying!

And what superb views! McLean's Nose is the significant headland.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


Small enough to pootle around but with plenty of interest and stunning scenery to keep you occupied for a full day, Loch Moidart has to be my favourite sea loch.

Castle Tioram, formerly home of of Ranald, son on Somerled, Lord of the Isles, sits on small island that can be approached on foot along a tombolo at most times other than higher tides.

Eilean Shona is a large tidal island that splits Loch Moidart in two. Much of the north channel dries out at low tide and is shallow at high tide, being passable for a kayak but most other craft will struggle. Large parts of the island are wooded and there are a number of properties scattered around the island, some of which can be rented from the estate as holiday homes. A cracking place to get away from it all.

I spotted this old trawler from my launch spot so headed up the loch to get a closer look. I have this thing for old wooden fishing boats.....

There are a small number of superbly located cottages along the coast and islands of Loch Moidart. Dream on.

Turning towards the southern channel of the outer loch you soon get sight of the skerries that guard the entrance and passage of the outer loch. Seals, otters, popoises and eagles, both golden and white-tailed can, and were, seen here.

At the mouth of the loch the view opens up from Ardnamurchan to Muck and on to Eigg and Rum.

Close to the entrance of the loch a sandbar joins Eilean Shona to one of the skerries. A group from Rockhopper Seakayaking were on a day trip in the loch and had decided on the same lunch location, but it was easy enough to lose one another here.

After lunch I slipped out of the loch and headed out to some of the offshore skerries, working my way through the many inlets and channels, enjoying the rise and fall of the swell on the outside of the rocks and the push and pull of the wash through the channels. Given the big skies it was easy to see the weather changing. The pattern of the week, a rising and strong afternoon northerly wind, was brewing again, so rather than heading further up the coast I turned south to Farquhar's Point and headed back in to the loch, exploring the southern shore of the Loch, then the northern, and back to the southern side again.

The wind really picked up, the rain started, and stopped, but soon the loch was a mass of white horses and I was on the south-side with breaking waves and the wind beam on. Oh joy! I ground out a tough paddle, switching to the north shore to avoid the shallows where the River Shiel flows in to the loch before finishing back at the castle.