13 Oct 2011

Evening paddle on Loch Lomond with Andy McManus 25-8-11

AND again, it's great to think you will be on the water not an hour after you finish work.
Andy McManus had asked if I fancied an evening paddle on the loch as he wanted to have another go in his new boat, and I had my Capella on the roof of the car before he could say meet you at Luss at back of 6pm.

Smoke on the water, FIRE in the sky!

A calm summer evening, we met at Luss and fired the boats in the water and we were afloat for 7pm, with hints of a nice sunset coming along.

Initially out from Luss across to the island of Inchlonaig, we rounded her and headed south to Inchfad before heading back north again around Inchcruin (by MISTAKE!) but it was a gorgeous night... and then the sky started to explode!

On the east coast of Inchcruin the sky got redder and redder like someone had just lit a match and set fire to the sky!
Andy here is mesmorised and I wanted my photo taken under the explosion.

So I gave him my camera and took up positions

Just in time to see the fire die down as Andy readied himself for the photo opperchancity...Thanks Andy!

As the sky lost it's glow Andy raced off to get in the shot...

Sorry Andy! ...

Anyway, it was still a belter of a night and the closer we got to the islands (like Inchconnachan here) the more midges got to me.

Heading up 'The Narrows' with Ben Lomond in the distance, the gloom of the night started to fall.

Heading back to Luss night fell and the street and hotel and house lights acted as guide lights, but it really wasn't as dark as it looks in the photos.. there was still a wee glow from the night sky. And Andy's reflective jaeskit...and paddles.

Luss from the water and Andy's BA and reflective pads on his paddles.
A cracking night's paddle and what a sunset!... 

4 Oct 2011

Solo trip to Inchmarnock (Marooned, naw just a bit chubby) - 30/7-1/8/11

AFTER a couple of Loch Lomond day paddlettes recently, it was time for an 'overnighter'.. Last year Alan Lindsay and I had a belter of a trip to Inchmarnock, a small island off the west coast of Bute, so, I thought..'am off..'
Weather was looking good for the Saturday (Day 1) but, none too hot the following day Sunday.. a couple of numbers up on the Beaufort Scale but nothing too heavy.. so, off to Colintravie for launch date...

A cumulonimbus cloud with attendant squal over Arran with Inchmarnock (blackened out in foreground) great view of said islands from the middle of the Sound of Bute.

Launch pad at Colintravie with the Colintravie - Rhubodach ferry plying its trade.
Looking forward to trip.

Sitting in the Kyles of Bute opposite the village of Tighnabruaich was superb. Peace, tranquility and a general lack of noise and furore. :-)

A watching Cormorant pre flight...

Gorgeous colours in, out and under the water..Yes, a bit brown these 'Wracks' - Spiral, Bladder, Saw, Toothed and Horned Wracks (sea weeds) but the water was so clear to see them all.

The Kyles are full of life and I was followed for a while by this Common seal.

Paddling down the east coast of Bute these rams paid a small jot of attention on the passing yellow boat and paddler...

After a couple of hours messing about it was time for lunch and a leg/ back stretch and so landed at Clate Point on Bute. Great views up the Kyles on a clear day before the crossing to Inchmarnock later on.

After lunch and wee tootle down to Ettrick Bay, it was time to splash out for Inchmarnock, 4km to the south west. But, the cumulonimbus cloud formation above Arran and Inchmarnock made for interesting views as the water became calm as a calm thing that's calm.

Yea, the sky really went that colour :-) but, 2km out in the middle of the Kyles of Bute the water was so calm and peaceful and everything was so quiet I could hear things going on over on Ardlamont Point over to the right here.

Blatantly showing off of the new Werner Cyprus paddle (carbon fibre BTW!) I'll not be selling it anytime soon.. 

Landing on the north east of Inchmarnock all was still and quiet and I went in search of the wee cairn mentioned on the map.
No luck, but I got a couple of wee chuckies to add to the gazillion on my fireplace (I pick a wee one up from every trip).

Good grief... (This was actually me trying to get a picture of seals that were following me).

As I rounded a small headland on the east coast of Inchmarnock at Northpark I remembered that when Alan and I were here the year before there were a number of common seals living in a colony here and yes, again they were here in great numbers, but as I arrived, the local farmer had disturbed them as he drove past on a Quad motorbike and the seals (about 20) had already dived into to the the water and were swimming about.
This is me trying to get them again on film as they seemed to know when I was taking their pix from the front and dived, hence the rear action. And I got a couple.. they were swimming under the boat and I had forgotten my camera IS an underwater camera.. the pix from trying to get the seals underwater are mince, so they're not on here..

A huge 'Spiny star fish' in shallow waters.

After a gorgeous wee paddle down the east coast of Inchmarnock (3km) I eventually reached my destination of the bay at the south east of the island where I was expecting a load of boats and campers.. but, NO ONE there.. I had the place to myself..:-)
So, tent up, stove on, boat grounded and chill time.

The obligatory Me an' ma tent' pic, with the south west of Bute in background.

The bay must have a name as it is very popular with yachts, but for now, it's just MY BAY.. as Arran's hills loom overhead in the distance.

After a meal of chilli con 'cannae', it was off for a wee wander round the south of the island in peaceful conditions.
This is the bay from the south.

Now, here are a few 'scratches' slices or cuts in ROCK! whatever they are, I still don't know or want to know what made them.. as if they do that to rock, whatever made them could do pretty much anything it wanted to to my tent.. and I had a few interesting chats via my phone to friends Pam and Alan Forsyth about what they could be.. anyway, let's not dwell on them, lol.. :-)

A closer look at scratches/ cuts on rock.. 

Sunset over Argyll from Inchmarnock.

Sunset glimmer on the sea.


More interesting rock formations looking like scales on a dragon..OH, wait, now I know what made the scratch marks on the rocks in pix above!!.. (leave it!).

So, off to sleep and awakened in middle of the night by the tent being buffeted about and the roar of the waves hitting the beach..I hoped it would be calm by morning.. I awoke later and took my ear plugs out to hear the roar louder.. good grief..
The weather forecast was for southerlies force 3/4 gusting 5.. which if it came down to it I could handle with interesting launching into wind and waves. BUT it was force 4/5 gusting 6/7.. I hoped it would die down over the day.

Most of the day was spent listening to the wind batter off the tent sides and the roar of the waves thundering onto the beach, also small walks to the shore to recce an emergency route across the 1km gap to Bute’s west coast at Carrick Point.

I could see a beach on Bute I would aim for IF, after a couple of days, I was still marooned and I could force myself to launch into the waves.

The beach on Bute was not far from the main A844 road round to Rothesay 8km away.

The power of the sea is inspirational at times and fearsome at others. I would dump the boat on the beach and walk the 8km to Rothesay and get the bus up to the ferry at Rhubodach and go across to get my car and return to pick up Kayak thereafter…
 However, after a morning in and out the tent I was getting a bit stir crazy and a big walk was in order.
I could see on the map that not far was a ‘chapel’ and farm at Midpark and I had passed the ruins the day before.
So, all kitted up in wet weather gear, off I went.

Initially up hill with good views south of the shocking weather coming in from the south, I soon met up with the popular ‘Heilan’ Coos’ that are pretty prevalent on the island.
One big beastie was NOT for moving as he blocked the whole road, and admittedly I wasn’t in the mood for trying to ‘shoo’ him out the way… so, and as no one else reads this, I turned round and started to walk away back towards my tent as I wasn’t for climbing over fences to try and get past him.. But, I gave myself a shake and went forward with my camera to get a picture of him close up and he started to walk away and took his herd with him.

However, as I walked on I discovered I was now surrounded as two coos were in the bushes at my side and another had run from another field at my back! It was all getting a bit Jurassic Park… and after the slashes on the rock episode the night before, I was interested to see where this was going.
But, eventually as I walked towards the big herd of about a dozen or so big coos, they all made their way into an adjacent field and out of the road.

Midpark Farm is derelict now and the bushes and trees will soon totally overgrow it and hide the farm buildings from view.

There is a ship-wreck on the beach down from the farm, possibly an ex-military transporter? After getting drenched out on walk, (I could have gone on further, but I was getting soaked by the rain, even in my Dry Cag and waterproof trousers and wellies) it was back to the tent to make dinner of more ‘Wayfarer’ Chilli-con 'Cannae' (which I will suffer from the following day!!).

I had to make calls home to say I was not coming back this evening and a plea to work for an emergency holiday the following day as I wouldn’t be in as I was stuck on an island!

After a night of broken sleep listening to the wind die and the tent stop shaking, I knew I could be onto a winner in the morning. Much happiness and I fell asleep.
I tentatively removed my ear plugs at 7am to hear… nothing but birds chirping! Result!
And on looking out of the tent the view was of a magnificent calmness, flat calmness in fact.
The bay water was like a mirror, and as the tide was out and due to start flooding back in soon, I would take advantage of the cracking push back up the Kyles of Bute to Colintravie.
As the tide was out there were a few rocks to contend with before launch, but after creating a gap between the rocks I knew where I could set off from.
Tent down and kit loaded in a half hour and I was sadly off from the badly storm wreckage strewn beach that was sandy the day before.

As I had watched Carrick Point all weekend I wanted to actually go there to say hello, and then head to the remains of the chapel at St Ninian’s Point – St Ninian’s Chapel (the clue is in the name). (Right).

The calmness was in stark contrast to the F5/6/7 the day before but greatly appreciated.

Common sea urchin and Channelled Wrack weed easily photographed with my camera which I keep forgetting is fully water-proofed to 33ft.
But, with the glorious visibility and calmness, the urchin and wrack on a rock close to the surface was easily snapped.

After a super three-hour paddle (The longest I’ve been able to sit in the boat without serious back and bum pain) I did want lunch.
The flowing tide had given me an easy trip up the loch and I made it all the way up to the gorgeous wee beach at Rubha Dubh on the north west of Bute.
A small boat was in the bay first with a group of fisher folk, but soon left to leave the beach to me and my ginger oatcakes and runny honey… J
It had been an ‘interesting’ weekend, one I was proud that I had made a load of GOOD decisions, and one that I often wondered..’WHAT/ WHO HAD made those scratches…?