Paddlers: Sue and Hugh
Route: Loch Pooltiel (Skye) to Lochmaddy (North Uist)
Report: With settled high pressure giving very light winds it was decided at less than 24 hours’ notice to attempt the crossing at 0700 on Saturday 17th October (having not managed any of the other feasible dates) when tidal streams and wind gave assistance. The short notice resulted in only two experienced kayakers being available. Having camped overnight at the launch site on Loch Pooltiel on Skye we departed in semi-darkness at 0720 on a N going tide and with a light SE breeze. Although it had been very cold overnight both of us wore light clothing for the crossing and were very comfortable. During the crossing two pods of dolphins (10+) came and said hello, one even jumping between the kayaks. Only two vessels, a freighter and a fishing vessel were encountered, one at close quarters. The GPS recorded only 12 minutes of stoppage time of which 7 minutes was the single food stop. The rest were photographs and navigation checks. The crossing to the entrance to Lochmaddy was timed at 4.5 hours and the ferry terminal 5.33 hours. Total distance recorded was 16.7 Nm (19.25 miles, 31k) at an average speed of 3.24 knots (6 km/hr). After getting ashore the beer in Lochmaddy Hotel tasted superb!