Friday, 29 July 2011

Thirty Years After

At pretty close to midnight on the 12th August 1981, thirty years ago, Mrs Smith and I met for the first time just on the other side of that headland. We were both Assistant Leaders on a Schools Hebridean Society expedition, her to lead kayaking, me climbing and both with some marine biology and ecology thrown in. My recollection was that the opening greeting was something of a Dr Livingstone / Stanley moment. The island is Colonsay and although we've visited many if not quite all of the other inhabited Hebridean islands since, we had never been back to Colonsay until June this year.  

 The changes have largely been subtle. Certainly part of where we camped is now beach. The island also has this developing whale sculpture. The artist Julian Meredith started this 183m long beast on a raised beach and visitors are invited to continue to fill the outline with stones.
Then there are the beaches...... according to a Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Repot No. 048, "The Beaches of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland", four of the top twenty beaches in Scotland are on Colonsay. This is one of them, Kiloran Bay. OK, the report is largely subjective but I could easily add a couple more to the four!
Oh, and guess what we had with us! My objective, perhaps not shared with Mrs Smith, was to kayak from/to the said four beaches. This is Kiloran Bay and I launched and paddled solo here in large surf and significant swell. There are no on the water shots and Mrs Smith stayed in the cottage, so there are no paddling photos from the land either. The kayak is my daughter's Rockpool Isel, which was superb in the very challenging surf but a little cramped for me. Landing was very interesting! 

2 comments:

Ian said...

Happy Anniversary!

What a place to meet, and to return to.

Kind regards

Ian

Vince said...

Thanks Ian!

Loved your series on St.Kilda. I must get out there myself sometime.

Vince