Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Cuillin and Soay - Part 2

"It's one o'clock and time for lunch...." but there are no lawn mowers around here. Just a slightly exhilarated paddler, a seaweed strewn beach and a rather brilliant view of Loch Scavaig and Rum in the distance. Oh, and it can hardly be 11 o'clock. Unbeknown to me while I feasted on a first lunch of sandwiches, fruit cake and a very decent coffee whilst lying on my kayak, the first tourist boat of the day had disgorged its day trippers just around the corner, and many of them were now stood behind me taking photos of yours truly in the foreground of a rather decent view. Tourists eh?!

Just to my left the magnificently short Scavaig River, which must be all of 300 metres long, discharged its flow over the boiler plate slabs of rock in to the sea.

Follow the river upstream and you come upon Loch Coruisk which lies right in the heart of the Cuillin surrounded by 3,000 foot mountains and ridges. Truly stunning. I've long held an ambition to paddle this loch, but that wasn't going to happen today.

Having scoffed and viewed, it was time to set off again and I slowly worked my way around the numerous skerries, trying not to disturb the seals off the rocks and succeeding in the case of all bar one. The views in to the mountains were quite something.

Eventually I worked my way out of the inner confines of Loch na Cuilce and Loch Scavaig, around Rubh'a a' Gheodha Buidhe and across to Soay, picking up the constant west bound tidal flow in Soay Sound. Landing on Soay and looking back a new perspective of the view opened up.

Across the Sound, the slopes of Gars-bheinn sloped straight down to the sea at a near constant angle, from nearly 3,000 feet to zero in 1.5km!

As I was paddling solo, I again exercised caution over valour and declined the opportunity to circumnavigate Soay. Instead it was straight across 4km of open water back to Elgol. My reward for that decision? Two porpoises surfacing right in front of my kayak, so close I could see the dorsal fin structures. What a day!

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