Monday, 12 April 2010

Busy, busy, busy.

Last week I went up to Skye, over the weekend I was camping at Sligachan the windist place on the whole west coast. I was using a tent I'd been given a couple of years ago and hadn't gotten around to using. It's a Vango Equinox - not really a mountain tent - so it did well to stay up.
On Sunday I went for a walk arond the base of Sgurr nan Gillean (965m). Last time I went winter climbing on this mountain I was avalanched out of a gully along with my Brother and his girlfriend.
Sunday night the campsite was hit with a force 8 gale and torrential rain, still the tent stayed up. I didn't get much sleep so by first light I was packed up and away down to Breakish near Broadford. This is Gordon Brown's new home; I was doing my four star training with him. Fortunately we were in the classroom for the first day as the gale blow itself out.
Tuesday saw us down at Armadale rockhopping. Now I love rockhopping and this was doing it in conditions that I'd never get anyone from my club out in, let alone anywere near the rock. Needless to say there was quite a lot of gelcoat left on the rocks. One lad even managed to snap the nose off of one of Gordon's plastic Nordkapps. Really good time but can't say I really learnt much.
Next day we went to Kyle Rhea, here we did self rescues, practiced pretending to repair a holed kayak whilst still afloat. Delt with unconscious casualties in the water, did the scoop rescue, paddled in tide and wind, rolled, much more like I was expecting. All in all a great if expensive time.
This Saturday, I played along on my friend Ray's three star assessment, we did this on our home water, the Firth of Forth. That really is enough BCU crap for sometime, so Sunday we went for a layed back paddle on Loch Long.
We put in by the RFA jetty north of Portincaple. There was a yanky Destroyer on the jetty, the police launch guarding the destroyer pulled us over as we set off. The copper on board was most apolgetic as he took our names and addresses. After that we went around to Carrick Castle for a bite to eat, then onto Ardentinny for another break. Out in the Clyde a submarine was going through manoeavers, surfacing and diving. This was the first time I'd been paddling without a drysuit this year and it felt really good to be without that tight neck seal. On the way back I even went without my cag it was so warm and calm.


  1. Hi Owen was that launch spot in Loch Long, the one beside the old phone box at NS240952? I hadn't heard of people being stopped there before. Good luck with the 4*, I don't even have a 1*.

  2. Hi Douglas,
    The launch spot we used is about a km north of the one by the phonebox at NS248962 much nearer to the RFA jetty. I think the police were just going through the motions to reasure the Americans. They said the yanks were "paranoid about having canoes near them".

  3. Thanks Owen, I don't think I have ever launched from there. Is that the one just north of the Glenmallen burn where a layby is on the far side of the road and you carry the kayaks across the road and down a little concrete ramp onto the beach? If so you were well outside the military exclusion zone and as the cops said, the Yanks were being paranoid. In the 60's CND sea kayaker Hamish Gow tried to climb up the greased anchor chain of an American ship in the Holy Loch.