Freesteel Blog » Ordinary Sea Kayak Week in Scotland

Ordinary Sea Kayak Week in Scotland

Monday, May 20th, 2013 at 7:46 pm Written by:

This is paddling back along Loch Carron from Plockton to our lovely hostel in Stromeferry with a 20mph tailwind on Monday 13 May.

It doesn’t look remotely exciting in the photos, though it was considered scary and marginal conditions.

Last time I was in Plockton was in 2007 where we kayak dived Loch Carron and saw flame shells. I much prefer kayak diving to this labour of effort.

We stayed in the hostel for three nights while it was blowing a gale or pouring with rain, because it looked like this inside.

After that we were told to leave because they were completely booked out from then on — as they deserve to be.

Luckily the weather had improved so we could put our plan of kayak camping into action, which involved driving down to Corran on the shores of Loch Hourn at the end of a 30 mile single track road, right about here:

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First, all four of us (crammed into our single car with far too many kayaks on the roof) paddled all the way to the end of the loch, and then back to the narrows and set up our campsite.

Yes, that is a full diving drysuit hanging up in the tree. Me and Becka are wimps and didn’t want to take any chances with the cold.

So that was our first ever kayak camp. Seemed remarkably easy — if you don’t count the serious domestic we had during the initial packing of the canoes where I was saving a nice big space in one hatch for the big bag of clothes, only to turn my back for one second for someone else to fill it up with lots of little packages that would have been more appropriately crammed into those awkward spaces around the skeg. Why do I always undo other people’s work because I always think I’m right and everyone else is wrong? I’ve been seriously annoying people like that for years. All my life. What a terrible person.

And so, the trivial issue of where to put one tin of vegetable soup escalates into a life-threatening crisis.

I think I am working out the deal with sea kayaking. My original plan of circumnavigating Raasay Island had been scotched as being too exciting. The idea is to pick boring water to kayak on, where the views are stunning — rather than interesting water where you are just following a shoreline that has a road full of cars and streetlights.

Camp 2 (following a restocking of food and water at the car on the way past, lest you think we are capable of being self-sufficient) on the Sandaig Islands sent us to bed with a view like this:

And woke us up to a view like this:

But don’t mention the ticks.

Then we headed north. I got out at Glenalg to fetch the car while the others continued through the narrows and on to Letterfearn where I was supposed to meet them.

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However, after driving all the way down that single track road, I had a better idea, backtracked and drove up the other side of Loch Duich to Dornie and the carpark where tourists take pictures of the castle, and got quickly out on the canoe to head them off, but instead wound up sitting in the freezing wind on this stupid big flat island shaped like an embryo for two hours waiting for them to come past — when they had already pulled up at the destination behind me and were having their lunch wondering where I’d got to. Amazingly, mobile phones still work out here in the middle of nowhere.

We headed south past Fort William and camped at Achindarroch, where it was okay because it’s not yet the midge season. There are signs everywhere warning you about the carbon monoxide dangers of cooking in your tent. But believe me, when it comes down to it, it’s either that or being eaten alive. Choose your fate. One is less painful than the other.

On Saturday we bailed out of kayaking because it was too windy, and walked up a random hill on the A85 that turned out to be part of Ben Lui, got blown around the top by a wind that felt like a bike pump being shoved up your nostrils, and then drove 6 hours down the motorway to home.

It’s still cold here.

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