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Paddlers: Colin, Steve W, Geoff, Francis, Robert
Weather: Fantastic. Sky Blue, Hot Sun and some quite strong breezes from all quarters to make life interesting
Saturday: Developed as a weekend alternative to the Outer Hebrides, the trip proved to be wonderfully successful. In part this was due to the fantastic weather and in part to the excellence of the scenery and the camp site.
After meeting at 8am, stops at the Container and Finnart for boats and people we left the are at 8.45 arriving at about 10:45. Unloading the cars and packing the boats added another 30 minutes so that we eventually got away by around 11.15 for the longest paddle of the trip, the crossing from Claonaig to Lochranza, a distance of 9km. The sea was surprisingly bouncy but without any big swell and the 2 hours soon passed. The only incident worth recording was the rafted stop to allow Colin to pump out his boat, which was gradually sinking because of a crack in the deck.
The landing by Lochranza pier offers toilets, a bench and table and an excellent sandwich shop. A long stop, witty repartee and a bit of self congratulation on successfully negotiating a serious crossing, followed.
We had a break at Pirnmill for beer (off-Licence) and Ice Cream. There is now no pub, only an unlicensed restaurant which to Steve’s disgust does not welcome dogs.
After a laze in the sum it was on towards a potential camp site at Whitefarland Point. The shore here is covered in boulders that stretch around 100m, very unpleasant to try and take gear and canoes across. However just on the point of giving up we espied a stretch of sand, clearly a place where someone had removed the boulders to allow boat access. It was near perfect
At the end of the path was a flat tufty area of tall grass, ideal for the tents. In addition on the beach was a ton of well dried driftwood ideal for the fire. The only negative was the kittiwake nest with three speckled eggs just at the end of the path from the water. Discovering this we moved tents and kayaks a bit away and eventually the mother returned.
Sunday: If anything the weather was even better, certainly breezier. The plan was to get up at 7 and try to leave by 8 for breakfast in Carradale but this proved impossible and at 8.20 we were ready for the trip across Kilbrannan Sound to Carradale. Rather to our surprise as we progressed towards Kintyre the swell got significantly larger with the occasional wave breaking over the boats. It is less surprising that there is no photographic record .
We reached Carradale at 9.30, just over 1 hour for the 4.5km. Carradale is an attractive village with an excellent harbour and landing beach.
The tearooms, hotels etc do not open until 10am so we walked up the village high street before returning to the tearoom for breakfast on the lawn.
There was a mix of purchases; bacon rolls, full Scottish, Scrambled Eggs and so on all washed down with tea and coffee.
After a very lazy couple of hours we were off again heading north for Grogport. The wind had eased and veered west and the coastline was excellent.
Things were going so well we decided to press on to Cour Bay for lunch, a lovely remote sand beach.
We took a long lazy contented lunch before commencing on the final 10 plus km leg back to Claonaig. We were helped by an increasingly strong westerly and arrived back at the pier at almost exactly 5pm.
Packing up took the best part of 40 minutes but we managed to just beat the car ferry that deposited its cars at 5.40. Fish and chips at Inverary and home just after 9pm, an excellent weekend and a recommended destination.