Monday, 8 September 2014

Staffin to Portree - Isle of Skye Day 2

"Come back tomorrow" 
We arrive as we did yesterday at Staffin beach.  The sea looks welcoming, the sky blue and the wind is just a brisk breeze.  The given forecast for the day was north westerly force 3 with sunny spells.  I launch from the slipway for the second time and round the breakwater where I am greeted with a spectacular view...

Suddenly I feel very small, insignificant and alone.  Walls of almost black water roll in to my rear left.  To my right 200ft columns of solid dolerite cliffs towered above.  In front at least 10 miles to the nearest possible landing.  I couldn't ask for a much better day but I couldn't shake this nervous feeling.

Two and a half miles I reached Kilt Rock.  I stood on the top of that cliff in previous years when the wind and waves battered the cliffs bellow.  It felt strange now being down here on the water.  It has been an unusually dry summer and there was barely a trickle cascading down the cliffs.
Looking back at Kilt Rock.  With the sun in my face it was sometimes better to look back and take the photo.
A fulmar joined me for a while as they usually do, gliding in effortlessly close.
Ahead of me now the cliffs dipped and presented the summit of the Storr, the highest point of the Trotternish ridge (719m).  As I look up at the Storr somewhere up on the summit is my dad.
Distracted for a moment from the stunning view, waves break some distance off shore ahead of me.  Must be a reef.  I continue forward keeping my eyes locked on where I saw the wave.  Nothing, then clonk! my left blade bounces of something "bugger I've hit the reef"  I look over my left shoulder only to see a dustbin lid sized jelly fish.
I paddle by the headland I was so worried about yesterday.  The following conditions do amplify slightly around the headland but smooth glassy water follow beyond.  Further along is Inver Tot, a diatomite works from the late 1800's we visited last year here.  I don't pland on landing here but is a possible landings spot.
The cliffs become more green but no less impressive.
The water was absolutely crowed with these Lion Maine jellyfish of various sizes.  I could guarantee passing by one with every other paddle stroke with their long tentacles clinging to paddle blades when I lifted them out of the water.
I reach my landing spot for the trip, Bearreraig Bay, where there is an working power station.
It has become overcast and dull but the views across to Rassay, Rona and the Torridon range beyond are far from it.
Careful where you step.
I assume this is an old part of the cable railway that runs down the steep slope along the hydroelectric piping.  Doing a little research I find that this beach is famous for it's fossils.
The hydroelectric station.
After a bit of lunch I'm back on the water paddling by Holm Island.  Here a White Tailed Eagle flies past well camouflaged along the cliffs in the opposite direction.
Steep grassy cliffs rising up beyond 1200ft now replace the vertical rock columns for the remainder of the trip.  The swell and wind dissipates allowing me to get up close to the base of the cliffs for the first time.
After almost 6 hours I arrive back at Portree having completed a sizeable chunk of the north east coastline of Skye, and it's only day two.  Finally some good weather and progress on the Isle of Skye.   We celebrate our first sucesful day with drinks in the Pier Head Hotel, blue building above. 


Unknown said...

Great trip, Stuart. Accompanied with great photo´s!
May I ask which program the screenshot is from? The program showing the GPS track, I mean.

Stuart Yendle said...

Hi, thanks. I use Runtastic app on my phone. Some of my friends use Strava which will do the same thing. I just then take a screen shot of the map.

Unknown said...


Always looking for alternatives / best practices
I'm actually using OruxMaps (android) for tracking. It doesn't have a fancy web interface, but I think I'm going to use Google Maps for sharing / embedding in my blog. Something like: