20 April 2007

Biting the bullet once again

It was Friday and the last opportunity to get out paddling, however there was still no water in the rivers so once again I headed out with the group of sea paddlers that I had ventured out with yesterday. Today, however their trip was something slightly more extravagant to yesterday's jaunts around the islands off Arisaig so I was put in a sea boat (fibre-glass Skerry), which was going spare. I would now be able to keep up with the group on the planned 10.5 mile paddle.

The location of the trip was to be Loch Hourn, an isolated sea loch, accessible only by a twenty-five mile single track road, found on the northern tip of the Knoydart peninsula. At first the prospect of this single track road terrified me, but on completing the drive, before we even got on the water and off paddling, the day had very nearly beaten all those that had gone before it. The scenery along this single track road was some of the most spectacular I had seen and something that not every one will see in their lifetime. This makes it that bit more amazing. Like yesterday not a lot can be said about the paddling, but I'll leave you with some pictures.

On the drive up the single track road we came across countless herds of Deer.

The sea boat I was borrowing for the trip, laid at the waters edge by Kinlochhourn, ready to be put to water for the trip.

Looking westwards from the Skerry into the unknown and where we were heading.

Two of the group, the one in the back was the person who lent me the Skerry, paddling down the southern shore of the Loch.

The canoe club's chairman paddling up to Eilean Mhogh-sqeir where many Herons nest.

Once again the mascot for the sea paddlers came along for the trip. Here he is sporting a rather fetching shell baseball cap, available at all good retailers.

One of the many bothies that line the shoreline. This area is one of the last remote havens of the United Kingdom for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts and the countless bothies provide them with accommodation on their trips.

Dinner was spent on an island, Fraoch Eilean, which is at the eastern tip of Barrisdale Bay. We started out return journey from here.

The house at the foot of the Loch.

On finishing the trip we headed along the road to the house (pictured above) to see if the Tea Shop was still open. It was not, but when stood at the gateway deciding what to do the owner appeared at the door. After a polite conversation he re-opened the Tea Shop and served us tea and coffee. It was just what was needed after a great day out on the water in such amazing scenery. Once re-hydrated, the owner of the house chatted for a while and even in such a short period of time you got a true feeling of the remote Highland life: no electricity, no running water, no gas, snowed in for up to two months of the year, no refuse collection, etc.. I honestly don't know whether I can say I could survive in such a place even though I enjoy being in the mountains so much. I prefer being somewhere remote, but I don't know whether such extreme remoteness day in, day out where the next person you see could be a week away is for me. It sure does put life in perspective.

Six days complete, three rivers done, two sea trips done, no more days to fill.

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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