Paddlers: Geoff, Colin, Lee

Weather: Fantastic

Route:route

Report: Portencross is a cluster of houses around a small castle. By the castle is a tiny dock that provides easy launching but no parking. Fortunately 135m before there is an excellent car park so it is recommended that you drive to the dockside, unload and park in the car park.

Leaving Portencross

Leaving Portencross

The weather was superb with just a light breeze and a gentle swell to keep things interesting. Arran looked wonderful in the glaring sunlight.

Heading for Wee Cumbrae with Arran on our portside

Heading for Wee Cumbrae with Arran on our port side

After rounding the headland we headed for the old lighthouse station.

The old lighhouse station

The old lighthouse station

We landed at the foot of the cliff on rocks and broken concrete that once formed a dock for the lighthouse and its community. There was once a considerable complex here with three houses, the lighthouse itself, a huge fog horn and numerous ancillary buildings. From the ruined dock materials were transferred by a small railway  then lifted up the cliff by a jib crane. A steep long set of steps provides access on foot.

Lee recovers from a landing mishap

Lee recovers from a landing mishap

The Complex

The Complex

Looking down to the dock from the lighthouse

Looking down to the dock from the lighthouse

The Crane

The Crane

Exploration of the site and an extended lunch break in the sun added the best part of an hour to our journey. The choice was then to cross to Bute or go for an ice-cream in Millport on Great Cumbrae. We opted for ice cream.

The paddle across to Millport was surprisingly bumpy. Just off the beach we met a mature trio from Clydebank Canoe Club out from Largs for a paddle in the sun. The beach itself had a coating of small children and mature enjoying the sun. The ice cream was delicious.

Millport Seafront

Millport Seafront

From Millport we paddled back into a stiffening breeze, to the east side of Cumbrae where there is another small castle and a lovely house passing hundreds of seals and a variety of sea birds including Geese and guillemots.

Common (or Harbour) SEals basking in sun

Common (or Harbour) SEals basking in sun

Seals, Geese and Wee Cumbrae Castle

Seals, Geese and Wee Cumbrae Castle

View from Wee Cumbrae castle towards Portencross

View from Wee Cumbrae castle towards Portencross

The cluster of houses and the castle belong to an Indian doctor who, with his wife, is a devotee of an Indian sect based upon Yoga and meditation. Wee Cumbrae appears to be an important centre of the sect. The castle is well preserved, fully open and well worth a visit.

After a prolonged coffee break in the sun, we headed back across the sound to Portencross.

1-little cumbrae 021

The return to Portencross

It was a hugely enjoyable paddle. Wee Cumbrae is thoroughly recommended as a destination and Portencross a recommended departure point.

 

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