Paddlers; Jeannette, Francis, Gordon, Colin & Hugh
Report: First overnight trip of the year and the marginal wind forced a change of venue from Loch Moidart to the secondary consideration of Loch Sunart. After a couple of hurdles in way of departure, not least a long abandoned lunch box containing some foul, greasy substance had mixed with leaked seawater and coated the entire day compartment on a Tempest with what appeared to be the contents of a soil pipe. Thanks to whoever left it for someone else to find! Anyway, we got away about an hour late but having already decided on the alternative plan based on the Saturday morning forecast, it did not impact on the day. We crossed to Morvern on the Corran ferry and headed to Resipole on the N side of Sunart where there is a good launch beach. The slip and road are private but we were allowed to use it and park in the caravan site for £2 per car – pretty fair. The forecast for Loch Sunart was 15mph (mean) gusting 26mph (max) from the NW hence the run down the loch to the SE was without fetch and relatively benign as intended. Two harbour porpoises were spotted en route. Rounding the Point of Dun Ghallain we headed for the N end of Carna but now exposed to the wind and a short chop on the water it was a strength sapping slog and when the wind went up a notch it was decided to turn SW for the E entry channel to Loch Teacuis where it was intended to camp at a known site in any case after rounding Carna. On the way in to the E narrows two otters were spotted with one venturing fairy close to a kayak in curiosity. For a wild campsite at Drochaid Charna is far from habitation with a clean fresh water stream and ample firewood (axe and saw recommended). Nearest life was on Carna where there is a group of fish farm/holiday cottages served by a small jetty and a boat. The sound of children’s voices drifted across the water to us in the early evening so could be estate run away from it all holiday accommodation.
The fire got going courtesy of Colin’s proprietary log but the cool breeze from the NW took the edge of absolute comfort and so a dram and chocolate, nuts etc had to compensate.
Sunday was scheduled to be a better day and so it was with Gordon seeing otters playing in the channel in the early morning. Leaving close to HW and after a quick look up Loch Teacuis we headed out the narrow channel W of Carna and through the passage into Loch na Droma Buidhe known as the Doirlinn, only open to kayaks at HW it is worth the effort and gives easy access to the island of Oronsay that forms the safe anchorage (for yachts) of the loch, giving quiet alternative to the night life of Tobermory.
Heading up the W side of Carna gave a scenic view of Ardnamurchan with the red sandstone ramparts of Glenborrodale Castle at the centre some 2k away. A quick stop on Carna for a shared snack of mini hot cross buns, cashew nuts, dates, pickled chillies and more chocolate (included for information Geoff) followed by a non-stop breeze assisted paddle up the S side of Sunart in pleasant sunshine and back to our starting point by early afternoon.
Total distance 17.33Nm (32k). Although classified as a training expedition due to mandatory equipment requirements, all participants demonstrated their value to an expedition and indeed the potential to lead a sea exped in due course should they wish to. Pics are courtesy of Gordon since my camera decided not to play.