The next morning the stiff breeze had gone and we were gifted with a beautiful sunny day, maybe the last.
There was no immediate rush to get on the water. The flood tide that will take us north doesn't turn for a few hours yet.
I sat on the makeshift bench outside the bothy under damp bits of kits, eating my pre-packed porridge rations, the staple diet of any kayaker.
A green shipping bouy mid channel leaned heavily, straining on it's moorings with the force of the tide ebbing out of the Sound of Islay. Boats cruised past with ease and rafts of sea birds drifted by carried on the tide. The only sounds were that of the lapping waves on the shore and the short sharp screeches of oystercatchers picking their way through the shallows. Life was good.
The added time gave me chance to organise and pack my boat. For some strage reason there was far more space in my hatches than there was previously. I had eaten some of the contents but still.
Carraig Mhor lighthouse commissioned in 1928
From here on the plan is to circumnavigate the southern half of Jura, making our escape via a 1.9km portage from Loch Tarbert on the west to Tarbert Bay on the east, where we landed breify yesterday. We would then cross back over the Sound of Jura to the mainland. It meant another long day, over 50km, but at least we would achieve something of our circumnavigation and explore some of the rugged west coast.
The northern tip of Islay across the water.
The Isle of Colonsay on the horizon.
Martin above and me below exploring a dyke.
Jura's Northern extremities
There was no respite when we finally made it to the far side however. There was still at least a 3 hour crossing ahead of us and it would be dark before then.
Here followed a little confusion. The tide was running against us, pushing us south where our destination was north. In our rush to escape the midges we hadn't formulated a plan. We dithered between ideas not making much ground before finally deciding to simply get to the other side before dark and work it out from there.
The sun had set and the still waters turned to glass.
The rain drummed on the tent durring the night and the edges shook and cracked in the wind. Any doubt that we had been to hasty to abort our expedition was wiped away, we had made the right decision. We donned our wet gear one final time to pack away the gear and headed off Inveraray for breakfast.
The northern half of Jura still remains unexplored. Thanks to Simon, Chris, Jules and Martin. We would have to return again, there's always a next time....