Thursday, 9 December 2010

Loch Ailort

photo: Angela Smith
We launched at one of the fish farm slipways in to a very calm Loch Ailort and headed west towards the open sea.
After passing a few islands and skerries in the confines of the hemmed in upper sea loch, the view opened out towards Eilean nan Gobhar, with Eigg and Rhum in the distance. 
Gobhar has an iron age fort on its southerley summit and has a large pebble beach that joins the northern to the southern half of the island. This shelves steeply in to the sea and provides for a fun, often wet, landing if you don't get it right.
Eigg came more in to the view as we headed down the northerly shore.
It was very quiet and Fiona enjoyed drifting whilst admiring the scenery.

This beautifully renovated and isolated cottage (no road) is presuambly someone's summer retreat.

Meanwhile Angela had driven down to Glenuig to walk over to Smirisary before collecting us at the Glenuig slipway.... and the wind had got up.

photo: Angela Smith
We'd been having a leisurely lunch on Gobhar in the shelter from the wind. After lunch we paddled around the north side of the island and hit a very strong south-westerley head on. It was a bit of heads down battle back to Glenuig and a smug-looking wife!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Loch Moidart revisited - pt.2

photo: Angela Smith

It isn't often I spend a day on the water and don't take a photo from my kayak, but this was one of those days. Loch Moidart is my favourite sea loch and I'd decided  to be absorbed by the experience rather than fiddling with a camera.

photo: Angela Smith

When we got back to Dorlin the tide was advancing quickly across the sands, however earlier on out at the mouth of the loch the tide was so low the only way to get in to the lagoon had been to approach from the open sea.

photo: Angela Smith

The birds gathering as the evening closed in.

photo: Angela Smith

This confiding deer had been standing in the middle of the road and been very reluctant to cede its ground to my car with two kayaks aimed at it on the roof.

OK, my only photo of the day but Fiona does rather like her Isel!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Loch Moidart revisited - pt.1

 Being 300 miles further north than home, light arrives later here. This was 8.15 a.m. BST. on a cold and frosty morning

photo: Angela Smith

Having had a long journey yesterday, we were in no particular hurry to get going, especially with a superb and constantly changing view as the mist and frost retreated and Loch Shiel was gradually revealed. 

photo: Angela Smith

Eventually we dragged ourselves down to Dorlin and Loch Moidart. Time to pack the boats and get going, at a very low tide.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

First snow of the season

We were on our way to Acharacle for some long awaited paddling.

 photo Angela Smith

We spotted the first dusting of snow on the northern flanks of Ben Lomond but as we neared Crianlarich, the top of Ben More came in to view to show us some real snow.

photo Angela Smith

Over the top of Rannoch Moor .....

photo Angela Smith

..... and dropping down in to Glencoe, the weather changes as it so often does.

photo Angela Smith

Just after arriving at Acharacle the moon rose over Loch Shiel. No snow on the low lying hills here, but it was bloomin' chilly!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Pembrokeshire August 2010

We finally got down to Pembrokeshire for the first time in two years. The weather was very mixed but we managed a decent paddle around Castlemartin. The cave scenery is specatcular.

and Fiona's new Rockpool Isel caught the eye of many a person on the cliffs above - we could hear the comments!

Mauritius? The Caribbean? No Barafundle. A few years back we brought a cousin here who lives in Bermuda. It reminded her of home!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Isel has landed

So the Isel has finally arrived!

Picked it up from Rockpool on Saturday morning and then launched from Cemaes Bay...

and whizzed around to Porth Llanlleiana. Rocky landing!

The previous week-end I did a similar trip, but carried on to PorthWen.
Unfortunately there was a bit of a chop so not many on the water photos.

The remains of the old life-boat station below Wylfa Power Station

Yachties make their escape

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Isle of Man

My paddling has gone to the dogs so far this summer as my weekends have been choca with other matters BUT we have a Rockpool Isel on order for Fiona, who has now finished her GCSE's. That event was a convenient excuse to take her on a short break to Mann to see basking sharks

We had some great views of several sharks. In this pic you can see the nicks on the fin.

and these three peregrine falcons were having a play.

The Ayres

south west coast



Next time the kayaks will be on the roof.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

B&B - with a difference

I make no apology for this indulgent posting. After working in Canada for a short period there is something incredibly refreshing about returning to the UK in spring. Enjoy.

Wifey took the photos. I couldn't get the camera off her!
The photos of the badger were taken between 11.30am and noon.
Springwatch eat your heart out!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

A whizz and a slog

North coast of Angelsey, 11th April 2010.

High water was at about 09.30 and low 15.00 and it made sense to make the most of the weather and the tidal flow to have a bit of a blast from Porth Eilian in a westerley direction off the north coast of the island.

Five of us were on the water for about 10.30, myself, Ray and Kate

and Bill and Royanne.
As we were launching we were joined by a group of what looked like serious local rowers with their tub.

We paddled out of the bay under the rather dominant feature of the Point Lynas lighthouse and started heading west in the helpful westerley flowing tidal stream.

Soon the entrance to Amlwch harbour hoved in to view.....

with the adjacent chemical works.

This corner of Angelsey has a long industrial past with the nearby Parys Mountain providing copper and other ores, while more recently an offshore terminal with an onshore oil storage facility and chemical works provided much needed employment. All are now closed and the industrial dereliction is apparent.

We whizzed on past Bull Bay and the beautiful Porth Wen to
Porth Llanlleiana.

Kate, Bill and Royanne had more time to play with and carried on west (heaven knows where they ended up!) whereas Ray and I needed to be off the water by 16.00 and so decided to lunch here to give ourselves enough time to paddle back against the tidal flow.

The industrial archaelogy here and at Porth Wen is quite astonishing, not only because of the location but also because of what they were producing, although sometimes even that is difficult to get to the bottom of. Was this a china clay works, or a brick works specialising in kiln bricks, or maybe it was a shoe factory? Best check with Ray though on the last one.......!

Middle Mouse is perfectly framed through the gap between the walls

and it's a long way down without too much opportunity to bounce!

Inland are some reedbeds that would be pretty cool to investigate for their wildlife. However we needed to get back, so off we set aginst a forecast 14-19 knot easterley wind and a westerley flowing tidal flow. It was a case of head down and slogging along between headlands, battling around even the smallest of headlands with clapotis and random waves, taking a quick breather in each lee and then cracking on for the next one.

We were literally at the last lobster pot bouy before entering the final bay when the tidal flow turned in our favour. But we had done pretty well with an hour half outward paddle and a two hour return paddle, being off the water for 15.30. I wonder where Bill, Royanne and Kate got to?