Archive for May, 2017


Loch Moidart May 2017

Paddlers: Adele, Kerry, Steve T., Colin, Innes, Geoff and Hugh

Weather: Blustery and sunny but with occasional heavy showers of rain and hail.

Route: Big Map

Double click on maps or photos to enlarge.

Moidart

Report: The wind report was not favourable so it was decided to head for the sheltered waters of Moidart. This remote and stunningly beautiful area is deservedly popular with sea kayakers, the club having been here in 2012 and 2014 http://www.helensburghcc.org.uk/2012/07/05/moidart-and-ardnumurchan-july-2012/and  http://www.helensburghcc.org.uk/2014/09/22/moidart-september-2014/). The journey up was something of a nightmare with heavy summer Saturday traffic and the legacy (10 miles of stop/start) of a lorry crash on the A82 north of Tarbet. Launch sites are difficult and the original plan was to come in from Glenuig, but the wind acted as a deterrent so we headed for the car park opposite Castle Tioram.

One problem with the loch is the extensive sand areas as the tide falls and at the car park we faced a substantial walk over the sand to reach the water. Instead we drove up the river to unload and then put the cars back in the car park. After the major delays en route we eventually put in at just after 3pm.

On the River Shiel

On the River Shiel

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It was necessary to follow the river bed through the sand flats until we could turn west towards the sea. We paddled on with the wind, stopping at a lovely beach just at the exit of the loch.03-IMG_5688IMG_20170513_163542948

A short break and then on along the north coast of Shona to the North Channel. This section was surprisingly quiet, with little wind or swell.04-IMG_5689

The North Channel is an impressive cut between Shona and the mainland that dries at low water. We traveled in on the tide and the causeway was well covered. Rounding the south east corner we headed for our favourite campsite on an islet just off Shona.06-IMG_5693

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After dinner the wind was getting up and there was the odd shower of rain. Kerry found an excellent location for a fire, Hugh erected a nylon tarpaulin as a communal shelter and a pleasant relaxing evening was had by allIMG_20170513_210753529 1

There was heavy rain and wind in the night but all survived unscathed. With the frisky wind(F4 and gusting) it was decided to simply explore the loch and then head back.07-IMG_569408-IMG_5697

 

It was now high tide so we headed for the memorial to the Seven Men of Moidart, prominently identified on the OS Map. We landed twice near the bottom end of the loch but both landings required a 0.5 km walk to a cairn. Unbeknownst to us we could clearly see the seven men (or at least two of them), a row of Beech trees planted to commemorate the seven men who landed in Moidart with Bonny Prince Charlie in 1745.  Fuller information with photos is given at https://www.moidart.com/history-moidart/seven-men-of-moidart .

Because were worried about the loch drying we got back in the boats and retreated, landing at a small rocky beach marked as Port Bhata for our first lunch. Much to our surprise there was a number of ruined cottages, field walls etc in a location with apparently little natural resource.

From Port Bhata we headed for Castle Tioram, a spectacular island ruin at the end of a causeway that dries at low tide. 09-IMG_569910-IMG_5700

You can still get inside the castle through a small gate marked “extremely dangerous”. As noted in the latest condition report this rather exaggerates the dangers and it is worth entering to admire the various rooms and ante-chambers that still survive. Comprehensive information on design and history with lots of photos including aerial shots can be found at https://canmore.org.uk/site/22511/castle-tioram.

From the castle we paddled back to our launch site, reloaded the cars and headed back to the car park for our second lunch.  The sunny, warm, windless beautiful location was complemented by a wonderful Sea Eagle sweeping and swirling around the castle. Sadly the power steering fluid in Hugh’s car decided to exit the vehicle for reasons currently unknown.

The journey back via the Corran ferry was fast and unhindered, although the weather across Rannoch Moor was as bad as anything I can remember, with lashing rain driven by storm force winds. Just a reminder of what we might have got into if we had not been prepared.

Was it worth the drive? Undoubtedly. Moidart is spectacularly beautiful even by west of Scotland standards. The camp site is close to perfect and the company was excellent. A great weekend.

 

 

 

Training: Kidston to Rosneath, 11/5/17

Paddlers To: Amy, Mollie, Melani E., Melani K., Adam, Robbie, Thomas, Tim, Euan, Douglas, David, Allan, Geoff

Paddlers From: Douglas, David, Allan, Geoff

Weather: Bright but very breezy. Wind became strong F4/5 at around 19.30

Report: The morning forecast was for a wind F3 strengthening after 10pm to F4. The decision to proceed with the popular trip across the Gareloch for chips at the caravan park was made and at Kidston all appeared well. As we hit mid channel however, it strengthened and by the time we hit the beach at Rosneath was really blowing. All the paddlers seemed to cope confidently and well with the following sea.

A couple of test runs out of shelter convinced us that some of the beginners would not be strong enough to cope and that any capsize would mean ending back at Rosneath. Reluctantly therefore we put into place our emergency back up. Four experienced paddlers returned into the face of the wind and after a strenuous paddle got back to Kidston where they picked up the trailer and 4 cars, drove round to Rosneath and transported everything back to Helensburgh.

Lessons? We were well equipped for an emergency and had an escape plan so there was never any danger. However a look at the met office weather forecast at 5pm would have warned us that the earlier forecast was misleading, and we could then have relocated to shelter at the RNCYC.

Midweek Paddle #132 Cumbrae 10/5

Paddlers: Geoff, Damien

Weather: A relatively cool grey day brightened as the day wore on. Wind light but present.

Report: We had a pleasant paddle from Marina (excellent launch point) to Millport for coffee in Garrison Centre. Banana Bread thoroughly recommended. As we left we met the East Kilbride Club (Retired Midweek division) paddling in. Then on up west side of Great Cumbrae.cumbrae517 001

Late lunch at north end was spent trying to identify mountains in the distance.cumbrae517 002

Back to marina just after 3pm; roughly 1 hour of breaks and 4 of paddling for the circuit.

Sea Kayak Training, Clyde, 6th May

Paddlers: Hugh, Innes, Adele, Kerry, Geoff

Weather: Sunny but with strong F4 from East and gusts

Route:

route

Report: At the end of the sea kayak expedition course  paddlers need to demonstrate that they have sufficient strength and skills to take part in a club trip rated B (or C). Typically a non-stop trip from Helensburgh to Greenock and back is the target. The dominant feature this time was the strong wind, which was just at or above the level for extended open crossings, normally set at F3/4. The return from Kilcreggan into the face of it was an ideal test of strength and stamina.

From Rhu we headed into the wind, Rosneath Point being quite choppy and unpleasant. The first respite was a small sandy beach just around the point in Meikleross Bay. After 30 minutes in the shelter and the sun the crossing to Gourock seemed less problematic. And so it proved. We landed at the beach at Royal West Boat Club and enjoyed another 20 minutes in the sun.trainclyde 003

We then pushed on (or rather blown on) to Boundary Park for another lunch break. For the record there are excellent toilets here.

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The pier at Kilcreggan was the next target but the beach there looked rough at th low tide so we went a couple of hundred metres up to a small sand beach. The ice cream from Kilcreggan was excellent. Another prolonged break for sun bathing and then on for the final leg into the wind. It was not as bad as feared;slowing us down but not producing any significant roughness and all coped well. trainclyde 006The final paddle up the Gareloch was beautiful with the seal colony by Green Island doing their bit in the entertaining business. trainclyde 007

trainclyde 008This proved to be an excellent day in potentially unfavourable conditions and a very familiar route to some was completely new to others. The upper Clyde together with Loch Lomond provides some of the best kayaking in the country and we are indeed very fortunate.

Training, Lomond Shores 5/5/17

Paddlers:

Tim, Rowan, Molly, Melani, Amy, Kerry, Robbie, Thomas, Sam

Tim, Rowan, Molly, Melani, Amy, Kerry, Robbie, Thomas, Sam (photographer  Geoff)

Weather: Beautiful but strong easterly at start of evening

Report: The second evening of the Young Beginners Course was beautiful but with a strong easterly wind. Paddled over to the marina where we got a little shelter and practiced Sweep strokes, Rudders and Low Brace turns. Then the return into the wind to the lagoon  which proved a real challenge for some of the smaller paddlers. After Draw Stroke teaching and practice on past the Maid into the river and then on the Balloch Castle pier.

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Heading North to Castle slip

Heading North to Castle slip

A short interlude at the pier, which included play in the icy water, and we returned to the beach for further play (and a roll from Sam).

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A simply lovely evening.

Clyde, 3rd May

Paddlers: Geoff, Damien

Weather: Cloudless but quite windy (NE, F4)

Route: Craigendoran to Faslane and return

Report: The beautiful weather has been a little spoilt by the easterly winds which has been at the top end of F4. Given the need for some shelter, the north shore of the Clyde seemed as good as any, and the tide rather determined the route up the Gareloch, keeping in the lee of the hills. In reality the wind was much less of a problem than expected and a very pleasant and uneventful trip resulted. The beach just this side of Faslane was perfect for an early lunch and we were back by 3pm having covered some 22km in 4 hours. Just one thing to note; progress through the Marina is not possible at low tide.

Programme May, June, July 2017

Helensburgh Canoe Club Paddles

May

Thurs 4th   Lomond Shores (Trailer Park near Maid of the Loch)

Sat 6th       Sea Kayak Training Paddle RNCYC 9am

Sun 7th      PINKSTON White Water 6pm

Thurs 11th Kidston Park

W/E 13th/14th Sea Kayak Expedition

Thurs 18th Craigendoran (Middleton Drive west of  Station car park)

Sat 20th Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (Loch Lomond)

Thurs 25th Royal Northern (Container by pier: Canoes)

Sat 27th Canoe Trip

June

Thurs 1st  River Leven

Thurs 8th  Loch Long (Car Park by Finnart Oil Terminal)

Thurs 15th Luss

Sat 17th River Trip (River Teith)

Thurs 22nd Craigendoran (Canoe Polo)

W/E 24th/25th Canoe Camp (From Aldlochlay)

July

1st/2nd Sea kayak Expediton

15th     Canoe Trip

29th     River Trip