Sound of Arisaig 18th-20th September, 2020

Participants: Steve, Hugh, Geoff & Innes

Due to the Covid restrictions this is our first Club Trip since January. Originally billed for Colonsay we rescheduled to Arisaig to avoid ferry travel and possible contacts with the small island community.
The key Covid requirements for running the trip were: that it is fully planned, is classed as organised sport with a governing body (SCA), everyone has the NHS Scotland contact app. and that a trained and nominated Covid Officer advises.

Following a previous period of unsettled weather the weekend forecast was light F1/2 winds and sunshine. Tides were Equinoctial Springs.

Having driven up in separate vehicles the team met at the Western end of the Arisaig South Channel for a 1730 departure. A short 3Km paddle brought us to a delightful beach at Port nam Murrach. Dinner and a beach fire followed.

Saturday morning saw us crossing the Sound of Arisaig via Eilean an t-Snidhe to Samalaman Island for late morning coffee on the beach. Another brief stop was made at the beach inside Eilean Coille before continuing for lunch at a wonderfully sheltered bay on the South West corner of Eilean Shona.

The afternoon was spent reconnoitring potential campsites at Artoe for future trips and to look for any remaining signs of a TV production called Eden : Paradise Lost, circa 2017 and set in the dunes to the North of the village. We did not find anything other than agreement on what a marvellous location for a ‘reality’ show it was.

The day finished with a paddle on the start of the ingoing stream through Loch Moidart’s South Channel by the fantastic ruins of Tioram Castle to the small Islet North East of Riska Island. Two open canoeists from the North East were already established but there was plenty of room for us. The quietude and greenness of the scenery in the loch is in wonderful contrast to the openness of the Sound and must be one of the very best places to spend a night. Plentiful supplies of wood gave us a nice campfire and setting for dinner.

Sunday morning and another 0900 hrs on the water start had us heading through the North Channel with high water past and the outgoing stream running. The coast was followed up past the Smirisary settlements and a re-crossing of the Sound to Eilean a’ Ghaill. The views from the top, among the barely visible remains of a fort gave a wonderful outline of our journey. We lunched on the beach opposite the island and confirmed it as another great camping location with streams for water.

The trip concluded with a short 5Km paddle back to the start point and a bit of a haul with equipment due to low water. Hugh & Innes departing first with Geoff and Steve taking a look at the skerries and hopefully delaying departure to avoid the Loch Lomond traffic. It turned out that the traffic was free for us all.

Next year should see us in the area again as part of an Oban to Mallaig trip. We can only hope for a repeat such ideal conditions.