Friday, 18 September 2015

Loch Bracadale - Isle of Skye

Visiting Macleod's maidens by sea has been on the bucket list since we first visited Skye.  In 2013 we hiked out to Idrigill Point to see the Maiden's from land but I have since wanted to return and sit bellow the 200ft sea stack towering above me.

The ideal trip starts out from beyond Neist Point in the west but the 32km trip has very few landing/escape points.  I'm writing this 19 months on but I seem to remember the tides for this trip didn't quite work so I opted to launch from a small beach called Camas Ban near Harlosh in Loch Bracadale to the east of the Maiden's.
It was a perfect day, probably the best weather I've had on Skye.  I launched from the crystal clear waters at Camas Ban leaving my dad behind to explore the coastal path around Harlosh Point.

Leaving the shelter of the small bay there was just enough wind to fill my sails aiding my 2.5km crossing over to the eastern reaches of Loch Bracadale.
Reaching the towering cliffs a white tailed eagle soured high above (pictures not worthy of uploading).
I poked my nose into the first cave and looked up at the full height of these magnificent cliffs.

Nearing the point the cliffs gave way to it's secret passages only a kayak can reach. A series of caves, arches, tunnels and stacks followed that only Pembrokshire can match.

Reaching Idrigill point I was now a good 7km from any road and possibly to early for anyone to have hiked the 5 mile walk out here.  I was truly alone. 
Rounding the point the view of the Maiden's opened out.  This is why I paddle...

My face says it all...awful trip!  I seem to remember in Grodon Browns DVD they landed under one of the stacks for lunch.  I had a little paddle around but the tide was a bit low to get up on the ledge.
A short distance away was a small pebble beach where I soaked up the view and had a bite to eat.  
The stacks from this side took on a ghostly look.  I only took a few more shots before I moved on...

The wind had dropped and the sea was mirror flat.
Turning back east I opted for the 4km crossing over to the small isle of Wiay.  In these perfect conditions I kept my eyes peeled for any movement on the water.  Last time we walked here we were lucky enough to spot a pair of whales feeding in the loch. 
Enough wind picked up again to take me along the southern reaches of the island.

I took some time exploring the caves on the eastern side of the island before moving on to it's smaller twin Tarner Island.

With views of the Cullin ridge off to the east I skirted the western side of Tarner Island before crossing back over to Harlosh Point. 
My dad was perched upon Harlosh Point and took the following photos of my crossing from Tarner Island and around Harlosh Point back into Camas Ban.

A fantastic trip, well recommended if you want to visit the Maiden's if you haven't got the tides, weather or time for the Neist Point trip in the guide book.  There is enough parking for a few cars at Camas Ban and the trip can easily be shortened or lengthened.

1 comment:

James Murray said...

That trip is surely up there with the best of them. Nice pics Stu.