Paddlers: Tim, Allan, David, Geoff, Damien, Hilary, Mark, Lee
Weather: Dry and Grey. Completely still.
Route: Craigendoran, Ardmore, Newark Castle; Sugar Boat Craigendoran
Report: The trip was originally intended primarily as a little bit of exercise for a couple of regulars with no planned route or target. In fact the trip proved memorable in a lot of positive ways with only one of the group having previously visited Newark Castle and for most it was a first visit to the sugar boat.
We set off around 10.15 and set a fast pace across to Ardmore. From there we headed across the Clyde towards the Ferguson shipyard at the east end of Port Glasgow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferguson_Shipbuilders). Here, the consequences of “not planning” were illustrated fully as at the deep water channel we had to battle against the peak tidal flow which runs at between 2 and 2.5knots. With boats only making a maximum of 4 knots , it was a tiring 20 minutes.
Newark Castle lies directly adjacent to the shipyard. Built in 1478, the castle is well worth a visit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newark_Castle,_Port_Glasgow) Sadly it was closed until April!
After a half hour break for food and drink it was back on the water heading for the sugar boat. The Clyde between Cardross and Port Glasgow is one huge complex of sandbanks at low tide. The direct route led straight through these but apparently there was a channel which we believed would be negotiable in kayaks.
Sadly we were wrong and for around 200 yards we were walking in between 3 and 9 inches of water in the middle of the Clyde.
The sand was surprisingly firm and all negotiated them with ease, before settling down for the paddle to the sugar boat.
A short good article on the SS Captayannis can be found at http://www.clydesite.co.uk/articles/captayannis.asp.
Nobody could be persuaded to climb up on to the boat so after the customary circuit we set off back to Craigendoran, arriving just after 1.30pm. An excellent, interesting and enjoyable paddle of around 17km.