Corran Narrows, Ardgour & Kingairloch

Adventure-wise it’s been a frustrating Summer so far; I’ve had various work commitments regularly taking me away from the Highland’s since Spring. My genetic need for adventure ; aka “feeding the rat” has been gnawing away at me…

There were lots of “hash tags” recently on Twitter regarding a “supermoon” – when full moon coincides with it’s closest approach to the Earth in it’s elliptical orbit.  …and so with the Sun-Earth-Moon all lining up to create the regular spring tide, with the moon closer than normal; this also created a bigger than usual spring tide.

The mean range of “springs” at Oban is 3.3m and on the afternoon of our trip it was forecast to be 3.8m.  At the Corran Narrows, where the ferry runs across to the Ardnamurchan peninsular, that extra half a metre in ebb and flood of Loch Linnhe would increase the already fast 5 knot flow.

The weather forecast was good, and soon we were being catapulted on the ebbing tide South West through the narrows and on our way…

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We visited the pirates store en route and our journey took us past lots of wildlife; orchids, starfish, hermit crabs and the local heard of feral goats.

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Eventually we pulled in for lunch at Camas Chil Mhalieu when we spotted this huge buoy washed up on the shore. Stuart really had difficulty climbing up on to it…

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Weather improved as the afternoon wore on…

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…and eventually we were spat back through the Corran Narrows on the flood tide.  My GPS registered we were travelling at 9 knots…

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Date : 13 July 2014 – 1 day before Spring Tide.
Oban : HW 07:03 LW 13:21 HW 19:28
Max Speed : 18.3Km/h
Trip Odom : 37.8 Km
Moving Time : 5h 48min
Moving Average 6.5Km/h
Forecast – Wind W F3, Sea Slight, Weather Cloud, some Sun, Visibility Good

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Back on the water

Finally with the rain cleared, sunny skies coincided with a weekend free to get out sea kayaking…   However the forecast strong winds led to a change in plan and we sought shelter in the Lynn of Lorn.

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We launched at Port Appin and were soon making headway for Eilean Dubh

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The snowy backdrop was captivating, here looking across to Beinn Sgulaird (937m)

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After crossing to Lismore, we eventually made for Eilean na Cloiche for an extended lunch break, hidden from the wind and basking in a sun trap. We caught two friends on the VHF who joined us shortly after our arrival.

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The sun continues to shine, and what cloud there had been melted away. The afternoon journey back to Port Appin was just spectacular.

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Date : 23 March 2014 – 5 days after Spring Tide.
Oban : HW 09:32 LW 16:12
Max Speed : 11.1Km/h
Trip Odom : 21.9 Km
Moving Time : 4h 20min
Moving Average 5.1Km/h
Forecast – Wind NW F4 gusting F7, Sea Slight, Weather Sun, Visibility Good

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Arrival of Spring

Now don’t get me wrong; I love living in the Highlands (who wouldn’t?). Every day there is something to gaze and marvel at but this last Winter has dragged on, and on, and on…  We had a succession of storms, sometimes with hurricane force winds starting early in December with other storms lined up across the Atlantic, waiting in the wings ready for attack. Wind speeds in excess of 140mph were recorded 15 miles away at the Nevis Range Ski area of Aonach Mòr.  I could count the number of dry days on one hand that we’ve seen over the last 5 months and, although we lost 36 tiles from the roof, I’m thankful that we’ve not seen the flooding that’s taken place further South in England.

On the 1st of March each year the Sun finally rises around mid-day above the hill South of our house. At this time I find myself counting down the days looking forward to warmer times and (more importantly) longer days.  …I love March.  I’ve said it before.  It’s my favourite month of the year with Spring springing, the whole of the Summer to look forward to and plans for future adventures being made.

The sun shone this week, dragging locals out from Winter’s malaise. It’s amazing how the Sun makes one feel alive.  I took the chance to take some photos.  These that follow are a few that I’ve snapped over this last week or so and have previously posted on twitter

I hope Spring and Summer are good for you, and that you grab your chances of the adventures “just waiting for you to turn up”.

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Sunrise over the Pap of Glencoe (742m) and  Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (967m)

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Looking across Loch Leven to Glencoe and Stob Coire nam Beith (1107m)

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Eilean a’Chòmhraidh on Loch Leven – “The Isles of the dead”

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Loch Leven across to Mam na Gualainn (796m)

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Sgorr Dhearg (1024m), Beinn a’Bheithir

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BCU 4 Star (Sea)

Wind : Southwest 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8 later, veering northwest 5 or 6 later.
Sea state : Rough or very rough.
Weather : Occasional drizzle, rain later.
Visibility : Moderate or good, occasionally poor later.

Two years of preparation…

Two days of stress and anticipation …

4 Star (Sea) ….  PASS!  Open-mouthed smile

….time to chill for a while….

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Bergen, Norway

Currently enjoying a short break in Norway with Annie. Weather’s pretty good too.

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West is Best

Annie and I headed over to Ardnamurchan today for some chill time. I’ve blogged about a committing sea kayaking trip about this peninsula in the past, though today Annie and I were just going for a walk and a bumble; to snap some scenery, and just generally have a good time in what may have been one of the last warm days of Summer.

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I was inspired by a post on the Kilchoan blog earlier this week regarding fossils on Ormsaigbeg beach.  I hoped to find myself an ammonite – but no such luck.  The views were good though…

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Annie and I wandered  v e r y   s l o w l y  along the beach taking about 3 hours to cover just 2km.  Rockpools are always fun.

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Eventually we returned to the car and made our way over to the light house, the most Westerly point on the British mainland.  We watched several ships and this yacht, “Lark”, pass the point.

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Luck lets us down with finding any ammonites, but right on cue, a pod of dolphins passed the point just below us putting on a great show…  Smile

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Sunset

A brief gap in the showers last night produced a beautiful double rainbow and in the other direction a fantastic sunset…

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