Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Frustrations at Glen Brittle

The forecast seemed to be improving day on day.  The wind had now turned northerly, force 3-4 gusting 7 with showers.  I was adamant I was going to find some shelter on the south coast today and get on the water.  My original plan was to paddle out of Talisker Bay and south east to Loch Brittle.  The more I dwelled on the forecast the less I wanted to commit myself to a long stretch of exposed coastline.  

We decided on Glen Brittle, my dad could get out on the hill from there and I was hoping to find some shelter on the south facing cliffs around Soay.
The immediate water looked flat but extremely gusty, I figured it was going to be a slog of a return journey.  11:30am now and agreed to meet my dad back at the van at around 15:30-16:00.  All being well I was thinking that wasn't going to be long enough for what I had planned so I let my dad have the keys.
We parted ways and I was off with the wind at my back at an effortless 7 knots.
I was looking at 5km to the end of the headland.  Further out as expected it got a a little lively, a good following sea to surf along, but couldn't help thinking I had to paddle back against this.
I decide to get to the end of the headland peer around and if it didn't look any better paddle back.  It was far from better and it wasn't much fun.  I wasn't going to plod on just for the sake of it, it would have just been a constant battle with the elements so I turned back.  Rather than fight my way back I aimed for the opposite side in the lee of the wind.    
After paddling at full pace at 2 knots in to a strong head wind I finally made it to the other side, and it was a different world apart from the odd down draft.
I had enough excitement for one day so turned to paddle back up the loch.
I got back to the van at 1pm just as a squally shower hit.  5.12 nautical miles over 1hr 47 minutes in total.  Where my dad was planing on going was in thick cloud so I hoped he may have called his trip short also.  I sat on the tarmac trying to get as much protection from my locked van as possible in the hope he would turn up to no avail.  
The squall passed so I took a stroll down on the beach.  I found a full cow carcass washed up on the beach, thought it was a whale at first it was so big.
Thrift in bloom.
Muscles anyone?
The heavens opened again so I sheltered in this cave trying to pass the time.
Whilst I was trying to pass the time my dad had changed his plans and taken to the coastal path to the same headland.  I thought about doing the same but would have looked a bit odd in my dry suite and neoprene boots.  Here are a few pictures from my dad's trip.
View from the end of the headland looking across to the Isle of Rum.
Black Cullin mountains.
So much for sheltered southern side of the island.
I love this picture it sums up the weather.  Blue sky's one minute, black the next.

I got back to the van, still no sign of my dad.  It started to rain again and I was getting cold now.  My dad turned up just after 4pm.  Clearly the logistics of going our separate ways doesn't work.  If I had gone with my original plan I would be stuck at Talisker Bay with no way of contacting my dad.  To top the week up so far...leaking roof, wet kit, power steering replacement, tyre replacement, broken tent, poor weather and after three hours standing around in the cold and wet I was ready to go home.  If this carried on we agreed we would go home early, but the afternoon was looking promising, more settled and feeling warmer....

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