Monday, 26 December 2011

First ski of the season.

Last weekend was gloriously cold and sunny up here in Scotland, I headed up to the Ben Lawers group; always a good spot for some ski touring. As I walked in with skis still on my pack I saw these tracks, don't come out very well in the photo, but I'm fairly sure their cat. Thing is there's no houses for something like six miles from where I took this. Could it be a Wildcat?

I skinned up into Coire Odhar, quite warm in the sunshine. Beinn Ghlas in the background.
Looking back towards Loch Tay.
Beinn Ghlas from my high point. The snow was mostly windcrust but it held my weight and didn't collaspe under me. The ski down was a bit rough and jerky at times but it was good to be out once again.
I felt fine all day but as I drove home I started sneezing, by the time got to my house I'd developed full on flu. A week later and I still haven't shaken it off and the snows all gone. Oh well.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Out in my back yard.

I've not been doing much kayaking lately, I'm looking forward to hopefully getting some skiing in this winter. Yesterday I went for a walk with my friends Ray and Tracy along with Olly the dog. We drove to Dollar and walked back to my house via the Doller gorge, the Glen of Sorrows (how did it get that name?), Lord seat Hill, Andrew Garnell Hill, Ben Cleuch and Ben Ever. Lots of snow and a couple of squalls. A really good day out.
In the Dollar Gorge.
Above Castle Campbell.
The Glen of Sorrows.
Soup time
On Lord Seat Hill.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

More photo's

More photo's here.

Night Paddle.

Every year the Fife club go to Loch Lomond for some night orienteering around the islands at the southern end of the Loch. This year was a cold, clear and still night, it was great for paddling. Didn't do quite so well at the orienteering this year but who cares. Afterwards we had a barr-be and a few drinks. On Sunday we went round again and picked up the markers, this time in thick mist. Even at night when paddling on a bearing you can usually find some reference points to help you stay on course. In the thick mist we had no such references, trying to stay on bearing is really hard without them. However, we all made it across a 3km crossing and were only 25m out.
An air photo of Loch Lomond, taken from a microlight, at the time we were paddling on Sunday.
Wanted dead or alive!

Setting off.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Gigha Megatrip.

Last year I organized a trip to the Isle of Gigha, it was a really laid back chilled out trip for the five of us that made it. So this year I put another trip in the club calendar. I was somewhat taken aback when at one time over twenty club members wanted to come. In the end seventeen paddlers arrived at the Gigha boathouse campsite in three waves. One friday afternoon, one friday night and some on saturday morning. Once the tents were up we set off for a circumnavagation of Gigha and Cara. Sunday was quite windy, steady force 4 with gusts of force 6. We'd be paddling down wind but as the group was one of very mixed ability we took the ferry back.

Friday, 19 August 2011

St Abbs

The combined climbing and kayaking trip on Skye didn't come off, oh well you have to keep something back for next time. The consolation prize was a fantastic paddle around Fast Castle and St Abbs heads.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Heading North.

I've finally managed to get a week off work. I was planning a two week trip up the far north-east coast in June but just couldn't afford to get away. Now I'm going up to Skye for a few days, after that I may stay on the island or I could head for deepest darkest Knoydart. Either way I hope to mix some sea kayaking with some mountain scrambling. When I first started paddling I had this idea of going rock climbing from a kayak, only ever managed it once that was on Lundy many years ago. Now I'm to fat and artritic for rock climbing (or am get fat and artritic because I don't rock climb anymore?). What ever, I'm really looking forward to a long ridge scramble after a good paddle.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Last day.

Monday 6th June.
Nothing much to do but head home. Here are some more photo's from Canna.

Waiting for the ferry.

Here's a link to Crofty's video


Sunday 5th June.
Dawned misty and cold, not sure what to expect. (Ray rang home from the phonebox, remember them?) His wife looked at three weather websites they all said widely different things. Decided to paddle around Sanday the smaller neighbour to Canna. As we set off the weather improved. Out in the sound was a dive boat, her skipper gave us a good forcast. We decided to split the party as some wanted to go over to Kilmory Bay on Rum. I've been there a few times but haven't been around Sanday. Four went to Rum whilst three of us stayed on Sanday, Nick had already taken himself off for a walk. The South side of Sanday is fantastic, load of caves skerries and at the western end a blow hole. Crofty tried to film me paddling into the spray. The tide was out, so the channel under the birdge that connects Sanday to Canna was dry. We left the kayaks on a beach and went for a walk.
RHIB for sale, one careless owner.

Pirate ship.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Saturday 4th June.
A cold north wind got up during the evening, overnight it shock the tent hard. Would we be able to paddle? Ray was due on the morning ferry, it got in at 10.00. Half an hour later we were on our way. We went clockwise, doing the sheltered south coast first, very quickly we were poking our noses into caves and dodging around every rock in sight. By the skerry of An Steidh at the western end of the island we regrouped. This marked the start of the very prominant underwater reef. What would the north coast be like? Would it be too rough? What was the wind doing? We'd go as far as Garrisdale Point and see. We shot a gap between the main island and a skerry and out onto the north coast. It was ok.

At the rased beach of Conagearaidh we took a short break before hitting the main high cliffs. Lots of clapotis. It was hard to look for long at the sea birds as the sea was so lively. By the stack of Lorcail a White Tailed Sea Eagle was locked in deadly combat with a Peregrine Falcon. At first the smaller more agile falcon had the upper hand. Then the eagle did a barrel roll and faced the peregrine eye ball to eye ball, beak slassing. I nearly capsized I was craning my neck so much. Who won? No idea, they were still at it the next day.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Return to Canna.

Friday 3rd June 2011,
How can 150 miles take over four hours? I thought I'd left home with plenty of time, but it was 12.15 as I skidded into Mallaig. A tour bus blocked my way into the calmac ferry terminal. I shot into the seamans mission loading bay. Like a man possessed I stuffed dry bags into my kayak, my mobile rang, it's Anne, "where are you, I can't see you".
The others show up and take Anne's kayak away. I heave mine up onto my trolly, the tyre blows, I swear.
"We'll take it, you park your car."
I shoot off. The long stay car park is chock-a-block. I'm driving around like a maniac. I find a space at the other end of the bay, just about as far from the ferry as I can get. I'm running, jesus I'm unfit. I burst into the ticket office, just what they made of this short, fat, boldy guy, sweating and wheezing I can't inagine.
"Canna please coming back on Monday."
"£21.05 please, I'll radio ahead and tell them your coming."
12.40 I run down the ramp as it closes behind me.

Two and a half hours later our ferry - the MV Lochnevis arrives on Canna. The seven of us, now a little more compossed, disembark. Three trolly and four paddle around to the village campsite.

Some go for a paddle, some for a walk, we all end up at the Gille Brighde for some local beer.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Blown out.

I'd advertised the club trip to Loch Sunart as an introduction to kayak camping for beginners. In the end the weather had other ideas. Saturday it was blowing a force six with heavy rain. Three of the guys did try to get out but not for long. The rest of us went for a coffee followed by a walk.

Sunday started off better and we did manage a few miles up the loch, it was even sunny for a bit.

Christine enjoying the sun.

Mark wasn't to sure about his stablity to start with, but managed fine.

Loch Sunart.

Around eleven a big black squally cloud covered the sky and the wind returned. To get back to the campsite we had to head into the wind at 45 degrees, a really awkward angle. Things got a bit fraught trying to keep everyone together, a couple of paddler were going very slowly while another was shooting off in front. In the end everyone made it back safely if a little wind blown. Not quite the gentle introduction I'd hope for. Just as well everyone did very well.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

New Photo.

I've just changed the Photo at the top of my blog, just felt like a change. It was taken on the south side of Canna last year by my mate Brian Woodward. It shows me looking at a Basking Shark.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


The club had a meet at Arisaig last weekend, 13 paddlers enjoyed the event. Saturday was around the Arisaig skerries with a quick visit to Rubh Arisaig. So that Fiona could experience clapotis. She handled it really well, especially as this was only her second time paddling on the sea. Afterwards we went to the village of Arisaig for an icecream, only it was shut.
On sunday we drove around to Loch Ailort and paddled up to Peanmeanach Bothy, the photo's are from this paddle.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Guinea Pigging.

Friday afternoon I drove up to a very windy Isle of Skye, almost thought I'd loose the roof rack and kayak going over the bridge. I was acting as a guinea pig for a four star assessment being run by Gordon Brown and Oisin Hallissey. We went paddling out of Armadale both days, saturday was group management and sunday was wet stuff plus a little playing in the rough stuff near to the rocks.
Oisin Hallissey.
I think he past.