More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

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andreadawn

More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by andreadawn »

This is what I did on my summer holidays this year. I had intended to go to Shetland Islands to the north of the Scottish mainland, but when I thought about it properly & was really honest with myself, I decided that my solo paddling skills were probably not really up to that yet.

So I went to the islands of Mull & Skye instead. Not that any excuse is needed to visit such places. These photos were taken on a mix of day trips, overnight trips and one three day trip, using my motor caravan to travel around and make the best of the weather.

I went to Mull and its neighbouring islands first. Iona seemed like a good place to start. This was my fifth visit by kayak, and my first in completely calm conditions. I had my lunch on the little island of Eilean Annraidh at the north end.
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After a perfect first day, the weather proved a little frustrating. Although sunny, the wind was consistently force 5-7 from the east. This was fine close inshore but things quickly got more exciting a little further out, thwarting my plans to go out to the Treshnish Isles. Drifting along with two Basking Sharks, one on either side, off Treshnish Point was pretty good compensation though.
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As was a night at one of my favourite wild campsites with its lovely views of Ben More across Loch na Keal.
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Perhaps best of all were two seperate sightings of White-tailed Eagles, this one flying along the Ardmeanach coast. These birds were persecuted to the point of becoming extinct in the UK by the early 20th century. A re-introduction programme was started in the 1970s and the number of breeding pairs is now in the thirties with plenty of immature birds steadily increasing the numbers.
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After that I went to Skye, a place that never disappoints, whatever the weather. This is near Rubha Hunish at the northern tip of the island.
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The coast of the UK, and particularly Scotland, is guarded by many tide races. This is at the very northern tip of Skye. Close inshore it was merely a bit lumpy. A hundred metres further out it looked very rough.
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This is along the coast of the nearby island of Eilean Trodday, and is fairly typical of the cliff scenery on much of the UK's western seaboard.
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There was a lot more of the same along the Duirinish coast. It's hard to do justice with a camera to the endless succession of stacks, caves, arches and waterfalls along this coast. These three stacks are known as MacLeod's Maidens, commemorating the drowning of the wife and daughters of a MacLeod chief.
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This campsite lost the sun quite early, so I cheered myself up with a big fire; much bigger than intended thanks to the breeze, although it burnt down to nothing more than ash, and a bit of re-arranging the rocks soon hid any trace.
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From up on the cliffs at dusk, there was a lovely view across to South Uist, one of the Outer Hebrides.
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The western tip of Skye, Neist Point, is also guarded by a tide race. From the reading I had done, it had me a bit worried, but an hour and a half before slack water it was dead flat.
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This elegant little arch was just beyond Dunvegan Head at the mouth of Loch Dunvegan. There are many of these sea lochs biting deep into the coast of Scotland, often giving reasonably sheltered water when the weather is bad.
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On my last day, I had a delightful paddle along a stretch of the Skye coast that doesn't seem to recieve much attention. It's an area which is largely ignored by the guidebooks so I won't say where it is. Sometimes it's nice to discover such places quite by chance. It was one of the finest bit of coast I have ever paddled with caves, arches and waterfalls, and lots of wildlife.
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Sadly, that was the end of another summer holiday and back home to the chaos of washing and cleaning kit.

Andrea.

Christov_Tenn

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by Christov_Tenn »

Terrific pictures and report. What's the water temperature like there? Another question: What tent is that? I'm envious - just green-water lakes and a couple of rivers around here to paddle. The coast is a long distance off.

mje
Site Admin
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Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by mje »

Great photos, great narrative.
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster

Romainpek

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by Romainpek »

Thanks for your pictures !

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chrstjrn
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1724
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
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Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by chrstjrn »

Yes, beautiful. I forwarded the link for the thread to several people.
Chris T.
Klymit Packraft
In storage in the US:
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind
'64 Klepper T12
Early '90s Old Town Canoe
Previous:
'04 Pakboat Puffin II
'05 Swift (prototype)
'84 Hobie 16.

andreadawn

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by andreadawn »

Hi Christov,

Despite being on the same sort of latitude as Newfoundland, the water around here reaches a balmy 60 F in the height of summer and drops to around the low 40s in winter. With the advent of high quality breathable drysuits, more people are now paddling all year round. When it gets really hot in summer though (quite rare), it's very difficult to decide what to wear as the water is still pretty chilly.

The tent is a Terra Nova Laserlite, an ultra lightweight design. I bought it for backpacking but don't really do much of that anymore. It's OK for a couple of nights away, but not great, being a bit fiddly to pitch and the porch is very poorly designed. I probably wouldn't buy the same design again.

The UK is a great place to live for sea paddlers. You are never much more than 100km from the sea, and there is 12,500km of coastline, 60% of it in Scotland.

Andrea.

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maryinoxford
lord high faltbotmeister
Posts: 574
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:55 am
Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by maryinoxford »

Andrea, when you were moving from place to place, did you dismantle the kayak, or roof-rack it? Most people would car-top a K1 rather than assemble it for a day paddle, but getting it up on to the roof of your campervan would be harder work.

Also, on the island ferries, when they usually charge by the length of the vehicle, would there be a surcharge for a long roof load?

One day I hope to go on travels with my folder, so any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

Mary
Not in Oxford any more...

Christov_Tenn

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by Christov_Tenn »

Hi Andrea,

I thought the tent looked like an Exped Vela 1, and was wondering what you thought of it.
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60's not quite bathwater-warm, but sure beats low 40's. Again great pictures and report. Please post more illustrated trip reports as you find time.

Chris

andreadawn

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by andreadawn »

Hi Mary. Sorry I haven't replied sooner; I've been away for a few days (sadly, not paddling!).

I only tend to take the boat apart when driving long distance. Whilst I’m just driving around the islands, it does indeed go up on the roof. Fortunately it's quite a small van so is not too difficult.
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I’ll try and describe how I get it up there. Writing it down takes a lot longer than actually doing it. It does require a bit of strength when doing the sliding up over the back bit.

Firstly, I have a large cone of closed cell foam cut from an old Karrimat that slips over the stern to protect the rudder. Then I feed one of my straps through the deck lines just behind the rear hatch, so that it will hang down on either side of the boat. The boat needs to be positioned at about 45 degrees to the van, with the stern about 8-9 ft behind it and the bow poking out to one side (it will be roughly level with the rear wheel).

Now I pick up the bow and get both hands under the hull so that I can start ‘walking’ them towards the stern. Once the bow is high enough I swing it round and rest it on the back of the van roof. (A roller might be helpful here but there is nowhere to attatch one on my van as the rear of the roof is hollow - instead I have another piece of foam taped to the rear of the roof to protect it)

Now for the hard bit. I grab the stern and push so the boat slides up and over the rear roof bar. Once it passes the pivot point, I hang onto it with one hand and grab the straps I left dangling earlier. I can then allow the bow to drop down gently. It should come to rest on the front roof bar.

Next, I put my little ladder against the rear of the van just to the left of the boat. From the top, I hang onto the rear roof bar with my left hand. I get my right shoulder under the keel and wrap my right arm around the boat. I can then lift it slightly and slide it forward into the correct position. Then it’s just a case of positioning the ladder so I can tie the boat on. It’s very secure once attached. The ladder and the cone of foam live inside the van when travelling.

Getting it off is just the reverse. I leave one of the straps dangling so once I get the boat near the pivot point, I can climb down the ladder and then just pull on the straps to get it to tilt towards me. I then grab the stern and allow it to slide gently down to the ground. Come to think of it, a roller would make this bit a bit too exciting!

Phew, that was easy, wasn’t it! Actually it’s not that difficult. The only problem is in high winds. I was toying with the idea of getting a couple of folding uprights for the rear roof bar, so when sliding the boat on and off, the wind can’t blow it off one side. That has only happened once though on a very windy day. The boat didn’t seem to suffer any damage but I’d prefer not to drop it from 8ft up! The keel strip probably suffers a little extra wear from all the sliding so I try to clean any sand off of it first. It all sounds complicated but only takes a couple of minutes in reality.

I've never had any problems on Calmac ferries with surcharges, only ever paying the lowest rate. The cut off point is 5.0 metres. My van is 5.1, so I'm just....er....economical with the truth about it! Nobody has ever queried it or mentioned the overhanging boat.

Andrea.

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maryinoxford
lord high faltbotmeister
Posts: 574
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:55 am
Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by maryinoxford »

Thanks, Andrea. I thought a ladder must be involved somewhere... You'd get away with the overhang on the ferry because your boat is higher than the cars. Next time I'm travelling Calmac, I must take a look for any normal-height cars with "spears" of GRP bow/stern threatening the neighbours.

Mary
Not in Oxford any more...

Kheya Shunka

Re: More Feathercraft Adventures in Scotland

Post by Kheya Shunka »

Don't you just love the Water Planet? .. gorgeous shots...

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