Paddlers: Hugh, Geoff plus Steve W, Gavin and Sean
Weather: Dry and bright; occasional sun, wind F2. Occasional squall F4 with hail
Report: Part 1 of the day was the outdoor safety test; the conclusion of Sea Kayak Expedition Training. The first exercise involved rescue of an upturned paddler and was accomplished with some expertise in extremely cold water (<8 degrees).
The second task was a solo rescue using a paddle float, the most reliable method. Again a success, albeit after a few capsizes as the body twisted into the seat.
The third task involved getting warm, lunching and preparing and ready for the Trip
The Trip Part 2 of the day involves a longish journey to ensure that the paddler would have the stamina to reach safety if conditions degenerated suddenly. The chosen target was the sugar boat.
The trip out of some 8km was something of a slog for all of us. Nobody wanted to try their hand at climbing on the sugar boat and after a rather cursory visit we were off heading for Rosneath Point and Green Island.
We landed at the good beach at the Green Island signalling/degaussing station for a coffee, stretch and chance to relax in the sun.
After the 15 minute break we headed off across the bay towards the mouth of the Gareloch. On the rocky promontory were a colony of seals but in the north-east could be seen some pretty rough weather which hit us just a few minutes after departure. The wind rose to a strong F4 and the shallow nature of the bay induced a sizeable swell that Gavin and Sean were completely unfamiliar with. Unable to turn Sean was toppled into the sea and Gavin ran for the beach. Although the rescue was achieved without problem the accompanying heavy hail was less than pleasant. With Gavin relaunched, Sean’s boat pumped out and suitable head-wear found, we were off on an uneventful 4km trip back to our start place at the RNCYC.
As ever it was a good trip with the additional benefit that it taught the Beginners a great deal and showed to all of us why we carry out this safety training. As some of us had previously experienced on Loch Etive the weather can change from calm and pleasant to maelstrom in a matter of minutes.
Weather: Lovely and unseasonably warm until clouds covered sun and southerly wind got up
Route: Glen Mallon-Carrick-Mark_Glen Mallon
Report: Another hastily arranged trip to make use of a gap in the weather. Surprised to find both car parks at Finnart full to overflowing so rather than try to push through the hordes of scuba divers we headed further north to the slip at Glen Mallon (just south of the jetty). This was empty and proved an excellent choice. The disadvantages of having to unload and walk across the road (and beach at low tide) was more than balanced by the benefit of not clambering down a broken wall with a kayak amidst the throng.
The paddle north was lovely and relaxing with really just the tide to contend with.
At the light at the entry to Loch Goil we met a pair of kayakers from the Royal West Club heading north to Arrochar. As it turned out this was not a particularly good choice because as we entered the Loch the wind started to get up from the South East. We headed for Carrick Castle for a lunch break and it became decidedly breezy, running at about F3/4 deflected straight down the loch by the shape of the mountains.
Because of the breeze the paddle back up to the entrance was a bit of a challenge, albeit an enjoyable one. At the mouth the wind moved to a more southerly direction, the sun reappeared and we were swept along by the tide and wind northward. An inspection/coffee break at Mark Cottage (which was very busy with at least three groups) turned into a long and enjoyable debate on the merits of Brexit lying on the beach in the sunshine. A thoroughly enjoyable interlude before a final lovely paddle back to Glen Mallon.