Loch Lomond Canoe trip 05 Aug 23

The forecast was for F2, gusting 3/4, from the north. Colin, Chris and I arrived at Luss to be greeted to a large assembly of singing church goers. It became apparent that a few folk were being baptised by being completely submerged into the warm loch waters. Our first obstacle was to get our boats and kit through the happy, cheery crowds and down to the waters edge. The evolution was akin to canoeing through a group of kayakers on a grade 3 play hole! Once achieved and after a quick safety and journey brief, we set out across to Inchlonaig. Colins new found goon stroke skill was well executed and he managed to keep a straight course without having to swap sides. (That said, the swimmer ahead seemed to be increasing his distance from us!).

We paddled anticlockwise around the island in the lee stopping at the beach on the NE end for a leg stretch. The northern part of the island was broadside to the wind and, with both Colin and Chris demonstrating their understanding of the importance of a good trim, we easily battled the cross wind. Chris was utilising his new skills, practicing upwind and downwind strokes, and the longer we paddled the more fluent his paddle strokes.

At the SW end of the island we covered another open water section down to the passage between Inchconnachan and Inchtavannach. Here the wind died once again and we enjoyed the peaceful paddle around to the bottom of Wallaby island. During a bite to eat the heavens opened. This would continue on more than off for the rest of the journey and, at times, a few cms of rain water had to be sponged out of my boat for fear of it totally submerging.

Rounding the southwestern tip of Wallaby island we had an awesome view of the nesting Osprey, but we must have got a wee bit too close as it flew off before I could shoot it (with a camera of course!). Shortly there after we did get to shepherd a swan. Not sure what the swan was thinking but it kept swimming in our direction.

Clockwise around Inchmoan took us to the little crannog castle island, Inchgalbraith. We decided to check it out. Thought to be the crannog stronghold of the clan Galbraith there is a remains of a small castle. Someone had recently stayed, and presumed plonking a big rock on the top of a fire will put it out! It didn’t and was still white hot.

Our next route was to return to Luss via the inland passage and past wee Peter, the statue of a boy. Luss pier was quite busy. Boats coming alongside, boats leaving the beach, crowds looking over the edge, SUPs, bike boats, jet skis and swimmers galore. We paddled under the pier and hugged the beach back to the start point. Good journey, no capsizes, a plethora of paddle skills practiced, wind and no wind and an Osprey made for a pleasant trip. Even the rain was nice.

Attendees; Tom Ridsdill (canoe leader), Colin Hosey and Chris Clark

Ullapool to Balnakeil 3-11 June 2023

HCC Trip Report
Club Expedition Ullapool to Balnakeil
June 3rd – 11th 2023

Participants: Steve Wheaton, Gordon Smith, Ian Walker

This trip is a continuation from three earlier trips: Helensburgh / Oban May 2019, Oban / Arisaig Sept 2021, Ullapool / Arisaig Sept 2022.
Support for the trip looked good a month earlier with six people showing interest, as the date drew nearer that had dwindled to two which would not have met the club criteria for a minimum of three. Fortunately, Ian popped up at the last moment enabling a Club Trip.
The trip was graded as a ‘C’ due to tidal streams, likely conditions and lengths of exposed coastline without access to the shore.
There are three significant tidal areas on the route, the most exposed being Cape Wrath. Despite the forecast showing predominantly Northerly winds all week, the weaker tidal streams occurring at the end of the week suggested a S. to N. journey.

Sat 3rd Helensburgh to Ullapool (car)
Mid-day departure and arrival after a couple of stops in the early evening at the Heathfield Campsite. Drinks and food in town as it would be our own rations for the week.

Sun 4th Ullapool to Isle Ristol N F3, High Cloud / Sun, 31 Km
On the water for 10:00, large cruise ship coming into Ullapool. Stopped for morning break on the mainland beach NNW. of Isle Martin. Spotted a pair of sea eagles. Lunch stop on beach adjacent to Badenscallie burial ground. Crossed Southern end of Badentarbet Bay to Tanera More, Taneras Beg for short stop then onto Isle Ristol and beach on N. of the island to camp.

Mon 5th Isle Risol to Bay of Stoer N F2 am & F5 pm, Sunny, 25 Km
04:00 wake up to be on the water at 05:00 and the NE going stream around Rubha Na Coigeach. Tucked into sheltered area behind rock just short of the headland. Slack water gave gentle conditions around the headland. Crossed Enard Bay via A’Chleit and Soyea Islands. Pushed on up to Achmelvich’s Northerly beach – 4.5 hrs paddling, so really good to get out of the boats for a stretch. Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon exploring the area and lounging on the beach. Such an idyllic setting and could easily have stayed but decided to continue on up to the Bay of Stoer to make easier what will be another very early start tomorrow. With wind in the N. the beach was an easy landing but any Westerlies would have the surf running. Good camping just above the beach.

Tue 6th Bay of Stoer to Handa Island N F2/3, Sunny, 41 Km
Another 04:00 rise for paddling at 05:00 and Point of Stoer at 07:00 with the start of the NE going stream. Stop on beach 1.75 Km S. of point and another on Oldany Island before crossing Eddrachillis Bay via Meall Mor and Ox Rock to Rubh’an Dobhrain. Had planned to camp but not a great location. 12:30 after lunch moved on up to Scourie to check out the camping eventually deciding on continuing up to Handa Island. A long day but rewarded with a superb site on a grassy terrace on the Southern bay. Fine views of the Old Man of Stoer in the SW. Swim, dinner and bed for 21:30.

Wed 7th Handa Island to Bagh Sheigra NE F3 am F4 pm, Sunny 20 Km
Walked the bird spotting trail around the West of the island. The breading season being in full swing we saw guillemots, puffins, shags, skuas, kittiwakes, terns and more. Clear skies gave us views of both the Point of Stoer and towards Cape Wrath. Apparently, a pod of Orcas had been spotted last night heading N. outside the island.

Back on the water for 11:30 to get the last of the NE. going stream in the Sound of Handa. Brief stop in a narrow bay before crossing the heads of Lochs Laxford and Dughaill. Quite choppy proceeding into the wind towards Kinlochbervie. Stop on beach behind Eilean a’ Chonnaidh before checking out the beaches at Oldshoremore, Beg and Droman. Finally settling for Bagh Sheigra and a fine elevated terrace on the East side of the bay for camping. Running low on water but a fortunate meeting with a couple of climbers and an offer to drive us up Blairmore to refill at a standpipe gave us supplies for the rest of the trip.

Thu 8th Bagh Sheigra to Sandwood Bay NE F/4, Sunny 8 Km
Forecast for F4s out of the N. so decided on a short day up to Sandwood Bay. Hugged the coast to avoid the wind most of the way. Bit of surf going into the bay. Set our tents up on the SW. corner of the bay below the cliffs. Lunch and out for a walk on the track to Blairmore then E. to Strathan Bothy. Chat with the keeper out making a list of jobs for a future working party. Back to the bay via Strath Shinary and the E. side of Sandwood Loch. Not back until 20:00 for dinner chat and bed.

Fri 9th Sandwood Bay NE F4/5, Sunny
Forecast again not suitable for Cape Wrath and absolutely no difficulty in deciding to spend the day around Sandwood Bay. Swim followed by a walk up to Bay of Keisgaig and freshwater showers under the magnificent waterfall. Picknick lunch and walk back to the campsite. Afternoon walk to Am Buachaille where from the clifftop we watched a couple of climbers reach the summit, abseil down and swim back to the mainland. Nervous checking of tomorrows forecast showed it was still holding good.

Sat 10th Sandwood Bay to Balnakeil NE F2, Sunny 30 Km
O7:30 on the water and a good run up by the cliffs and caves to the Cape for slack water at 09:30. Easily made 6+ Km/hr with the lift from the remains of the S. going steam that provides a N. going eddy close in. Perfect conditions at the top enabled us to go inside the rock and narrow channel off the point, then the arches east of the point. Another hour took us down to Kervaig for a break and a walk up to the immaculate Kearvaig bothy. Bit of surf even in these benign conditions and like Sandwood easy to see how different it would be in stronger winds or just a large swell running.
Final 12 Km in gentle airs down to Balnakeil. Porpoises in the bay to greet us. Campsite picked above beach below golf course.
Walked into Durness for a couple of drinks and dinner, plus a reflection on how lucky we were with the weather and what a superb week we all had.

Sun 11th Balnakeil to Helensburgh (taxi and car)
The Durness Bus Co. as promised called for us at 09:30 and within two hours via luxury minibus and trailer delivered us back to Ullapool and our car, the marine version of which we had just spent seven very enjoyable days on.

Three Head North 4.6.23
Sea Eagle 4.6.23
Taneras Beg 4.6.23
Achmelvick 5.6.23
Exploring Between Achmelvich & Bay of Stoer 5.6.23
Caves South Of Scourie 6.6.23
Handa Island Camp View 6.6.23
Old Man of Stoer 6.6.23
Handa Island Looking North 7.6.23
Handa Island Looking South 7.6.23
Sand Wood Bay 8.6.23
Am Buachaille 9.6.23
Bay of Keisgaig Waterfall 9.6.23
Sandwood Bay from the North 9.6.23
Cape Wrath Arches 9.6.23
Cape Wrath 10.6.23
Balnakeil to Ullapool Transport 11.6.23
Ullapool to Isle Ristol 4.6.23
Isle Ristol to Bay Stoer 5.6.23

Bay of Stoer to Handa Island 6.6.23
Handa Island to Bagh Sheigra & Sandwood Bay 7.6.23 – 9.6.23
Sandwood Bay to Balnakeil 10.6.23

Treshnish Isles 13-14 May 2023

Paddlers: Gordon, Hugh, Ed, Gary
Sat F2-3 SW. 27 km
Sun F3-4 NW. 23.5km

Having got the ferry 19:30 ferry from Oban to Craignure on the Friday, we camped overnight at Salen campsite and launched from the (very steep) slipway at Ulva Ferry. We left the cars at the far end of the car park (making the requested donation for doing so).
We paddled around the south of Ulva and across to Little Colonsay and then on to Staffa for lunch, stopping at a skerry on the way to fix a wayward foot peg.
Fingal’s cave looked dramatic but the southerly swell and high tide precluded close inspection.
We then paddled to Lunga, landing in the bay on the southern end at 276414. Having setup camp, we walked over to the West side of the island past the sea stack and the hugely impressive array of sea birds.

On Sunday, the wind had picked up a bit and swung round to the NW. We paddled up the Treshnish islands, to the west of Fladda and landed on Cairn na Burgh More. From there we crossed across to Gometra. The remnants of the SW swell and the building NW swell made for somewhat confused water and we had to deal with a capsize on the way over. Although we had to contend with the NW swell for the rest of the journey, it dropped as we progressed along the northern shore of Ulva.

Mark Bothy December 3rd – 4th 2022

HCC Trip Report
Mark Bothy
December 3rd – 4th 2022

Participants; Steve Wheaton (Leader), Rem Fowler, Gordon Smith

Originally planned with two options final decision dependent on weather and participants – Scarba Bothy or Mark Bothy.

Late in the preceding week the wind forecast moved up to F3 / 4 from ENE which would have made the return journey from Scarba to Arduaine wet and slow. Mark Bothy was selected.

Saturday 3rd Wind F3 ESE
1230 Set off from Arrochar, followed West shore line via short exploration of old and partially dismantled torpedo testing station. Coffee stop at about 6Km and onto Mark 12Km. Bothy fire still showing embers from previous incumbents. Firewood cut, dinners made and an evening of chat and cards.

Sunday 4th Wind F2 / 3 ENE
0830 departed Mark Bothy for Helensburgh. Followed West shore to Ardentinny beach for short break in the sun. Tanker departed Coulport. Onto Gairletter Point and crossing to Knockderry Castle. Lunch at Kilcreggan before push into Easterly wind to Rosneath and crossing to Helensburgh Pier. 26Km.

Loch Lomond South Oct 29th 2022

HCC Trip Report

Day Trip Loch Lomond Southern Island, Grade A

October 29th 2022

Participants: Steve Wheaton, Gordon Smith, Gary Nealon, Damien Theaker

A second attempt at a trip to the Cumbraes and again thwarted by poor weather in the Clyde Approaches. Fortunately, Loch Lomond offered more sheltered conditions, F3 though with rain forecast for the afternoon.

1030 start from Luss alongside a waterside baptism ceremony. Easy paddling East in light winds,

Lunch at the South end of Inchcailloch.

Rounded Creinch where it was decided to not include Inchmurrin as rain had stated and the shorter route through the islands was taken back to Luss.

Loch Lomond North 1st Oct 2022

HCC Trip Report
Day Trip North End of Loch Lomond, Grade A, 16.6km
October 1st 2022
Participants: Steve Wheaton, Gordon Smith, Gary Nealon

Originally planned as a circumnavigation around Great Cumbrae, the forecast of Westerly F4s with F7 gusts required a more benign venue.

New member Gary was brave enough to venture out sporting his new Virgo boat and kit.
1030 on the water at Inveruglas and headed North following western shoreline. Good shelter found close into the shore but occasional gusts coming through the hills with the headlands often changing the winds direction. The intermittent sunshine making for superb views of the hills.
Lunch stop taken on East shore at the top of the loch. Afternoon spent following Western shore South with a stop at Doune bothy and again at Island I Vow. Crossed loch to Inveruglas Isle and back at car park for 1600.

September 3rd – 11th Club Expedition Ullapool to Arisaig

HCC Trip Report
Club Expedition Ullapool to Arisaig
September 3rd to 11th 2022

Participants; Steve Wheaton, Gordon Smith, Steve Thomas

This trip follows on from two earlier trips: Helensburgh / Oban May 2019, Oban / Arisaig Sept

Originally planned to run South to North taking advantage of neap tides in Kyle Rhea and expected South Westerly winds, the forecast settled out to indicate predominantly Easterly / Northerly winds. The final decision to run N to S was made while travelling up over coffee in the Green Welly at Tyndrum.

Sat 3rd Helensburgh to Ullapool (car)
The advantage of a small team is that travel can be done in a single vehicle and subsequent logistics get the lucky driver some scenic runs on public transport. The Heathfield campsite in Ullapool could not be better placed with both town and beach at hand.

Sun 4th Ullapool to Mellon Udrigle Easterly F4/5, G7. High cloud, 30 Km
With a moderate Easterly wind we sped down and out of Loch Broom. Just to the E of Leac Dhonn Steve W was briefly inverted by what had become a cockpit filled with water by the following sea and a worn deck. Continued round Carn Dearg for coffee and deployment of an over jacket / combined deck. Interestingly Steve Ts boat was also largely flooded but his paddling skills had prevented him from testing his rolling. Crossed Little Loch Broom, Gruinard Island (now declared free from anthrax) and onto camp on the beach at Mellon Udrigle. Pod of dolphins at close quarters as we approached Mellon Udigle. Gordon & Steve T in for a swim. Evening walk up Meall nam Meallan.

Mon 5th Mellon Udrigle to Camus Mor E F2, bright with little cloud, 23 Km
0900 start and round Greenstone Point with the tide. Slaggan Bay for lunch and swim – beautiful sandy beach. Camas Mor for mid- afternoon. Other than a young couple that had walked over from Rubha Reidh for the day we had the whole place to ourselves. A beautiful location with a fine sunset.

Tue 6th Camus Mor across Loch Gairloch to an un named Bay South of Red Point. E F2, bright with little cloud, 36 Km
Earliest start of the week with 0630 on the water to get slack / start of the WSW going tide around Rubha Reidh. Conditions perfect and rounded headland by 0700. Into little bay to South of lighthouse for good and apparently rare opportunity to view the lighthouse from this position.
South down dramatic coast with sea eagles, caves and tunnels. Met a couple paddling North to Ullapool. Past Melvaig to Seana Chamas beach for mid- morning stop. Longa Island SW Bay for lunch. PM rounded Red Point to bay just East of Tioram Island. Evening walk out to abandoned fishing station.

Wed 7th Across Loch Torridon to Applecross Bay E F2, bright with little cloud, 29 Km
An 0900 start which became the norm for the rest of the week. Crossed Loch Torridon, break at Loch nan Eun. Lunch at Sand and chat with lone kayaker returning to Plockton after rounding Raasay. Swim in the bay. PM into Applecross Bay and found camp to North of the village. General camping in this area has recently been discouraged by the community though, as helpfully explained by a local ranger an exception would be made for a small party arriving by kayak. No fires were requested and complied with. Walk to the village for drinks.

Thu 8th Applecross Bay via Uags Bothy, Loch Alsh to Glenelg Bay E F2/3, bright with little cloud, 34 Km
Usual 0900 start and South with tide inside the Crowlin Islands. Hard push East to Uags Bothy for lunch. Bothy in a lovely remote setting above the bay. Long lunch break to time arrival at the Skye Bridge for the start of the ingoing tide to Kyle Akin. Encountered a work boat apparently leaving a fish farm as we crossed Loch Carron. We were going to pass just behind it until we realised that it was towing the fish farm. Afternoon tea in the old harbour at Kyle Akin. More paddling into the wind in Loch Alsh to arrive at the entrance to Kyle Rhea for slack water and then the start of the South going stream. Tides at Equinoctial Springs so relieved to get through in less than an hour. Zipped by the Glenelg ferry where filming by drone was taking place and tight into the North of Glenelg Bay. Just found room for our 3 tents below the single-track road.

Fri 9th Glenelg Bay, Sandaig Islands, Loch Hourn, Doune to Sandaig Bay E F2/3, bright with little cloud, 27 Km
South West out of Glenelg Bay to get a nice push towards the Sandaig Islands. Lots of mini whirlpools and easy to see how this area would need to be avoided in a strong wind against tide. Everyone feeling energetic so decided to push on across Loch Hourn for a stop at Camas Garbh. Sea Eagles at close quarters. Lunch on Airor Island. Chat with paddler off Doune (new owner of accommodation and restaurant) and invited to camp nearby. In the spirit of maintaining the remoteness of the trip plus wanting to have a short day to finish on we pressed onto Sandaig Bay. Walk onto Torr na Innse with views across South end of Sleat. Distant and certainly large marine mammals spotted, probably basking sharks moving up the sound. Good swim but savage midges. Darkness and a campfire eventually driving them away.

Sat 10th Sandaig Bay to Back of Keppoch E F1/2, bright and sunny, 16 Km
0830 start to cross loch Nevis. The dramatic scenery of the north beginning to give way to more mellow views. Plenty of sea traffic in and out of Mallaig harbour and very different to the past 6 days. Morning break on bright yellow beach below River Morar (many to choose from here). Down through the skerries to a beach below our Back of Keppoch campsite. Lunch and swim.
Gordon onto the train to start the trip back to Ullapool via a bus and overnight in Inverness. Dinner in the Arisaig Hotel for the 2 Steve’s

Sun 11th Inverness to Ullapool (bus) Ullapool to Arisaig to Helensburgh (car).
Gordon returned mid afternoon via Skye Bridge and Armadale ferry. Loaded up and all 3 of us back in Helensburgh for 20:00.

200 Km of dramatic coastline, high cliffs, caves, rocky headlands, loch crossings, sightings of seals, dolphins, porpoises, sea otters, sea eagles, basking sharks. Distant views of Skye, Rhum, Eigg, nearer of Rona, Rassay, Scalpay. Added in with a couple of major headlands and tidal gates and 8 nights camping.

A great trip now fondly committed to memory.

Next year – Cape Wrath!?

Steve Wheaton

Loch Broom
Mellon Udrigle
Slaggan Bay
East of Camus Mor
Camus Mor
Rubha Reidh Lighthouse
Exiting Tunnel Rubha Reidh
Applecross Beech Trees
Applecross Locals
Uags Bothy
Sea Eagle North of Airor
Sandaig Bay
Back of Keppoch

Lismore 2-3 July 2022

Paddlers: Gordon, Andy R, Vonna, Sharon, Lorna

Sat:SWF2, 25km. Sun SW,WF3, 22km

Counter clockwise circumnavigation of Lismore from the layby opposite the middle of Shuna (OS 929 492). Plenty of parking space and OK launching spot but somewhat rocky and awkward. Lunch at Castle Coeffin. Small portage between Bernera and Lismore as arrived at low tide. With rising tide at Rubha Fiart at South end of Lismore there was quite fast tidal flow E-W – one capsize on entering the flow. Camped at OS 786357. Good spot although foreshore covered in slurry, seaweed and dead sheep so somewhat malodorous!

Sunday mostly sheltered from the wind. Mid morning stop on bar between Eilean na Cloiche and the southerly Eilean Dubh. Lunch at Port Moluag with an intention of visiting Tirefour Castle but no ready access. Would have been better to stop at beach on West of Eilean Dubh.

Bute June 4th – 6th 2022

HCC Trip Report
Bute Circumnavigation
June 4th – 6th

Participants; Steve Wheaton (Ldr), Andy Rudden, Lorna Baker, Rem Fowler, Damien Theaker

After a spell of windy conditions and decisions whether to run clockwise or anticlockwise a settled forecast of light Easterlies and Southerlies appeared and the initial plan to go clockwise was confirmed.

Sat 4th
0930 Departed Colintraive Old Pier on last of S going tide. Bute shore held to avoid what was a weak N. going tide for most of day. Coffee stop at S. side of Kames Bay. Lunch off Mount Stewart and walk around grounds. Look at Kilchattan camping and despite proximity to a pub decided on the wonderful remoteness of Glencallum Bay. Enough firewood obtained from the beach, dinner and mercifully few midges. Approx. 30K, Wind E F2-3, sunny

Sun 5th
10:00 start and quiet rounding of Garroch Head. Coffee stop at Dunagoil Bay, lunch at Stravanan Bay, a look round Scalpsie Bay and onto Inchmarnock for the night. Camped on S. facing bay at the SE corner of the island. Walk up to the trig point via the abandoned steading called Midpark. Beach fire, dinner while as darkness fell, watched in the distance a returning submarine off Arran await its escort home.
Approx. 15Km, Wind F1-2 S & E, sunny.

Mon 6th
10:00 start and run up the E side of Inchmarnoch to view from the water Mid & North Parks plus alternative camping at the top of the island. Many inquisitive seal families came to inspect us. Crossing to the mainland and stop at S. end of Blindman’s Bay. Lunch in the Kames Hotel. PM on up the W. Kyle crossing at Rubha Ban to the Bute shore and the Maids, S. of the Burnt Islands and back to Colintraive for 1630.
Approx 21K, Wind Wind E F2-3, sunny.

Shuna and N Lismore 28 May 2022

Paddlers: Gordon, Steve W, Vonna, Andy R, Bryan, Dorothy, Innes, Geoff

Winds: Light

Distance: 19.5km

Started at Polanach layby (OS 938505) in fine conditions. Wind had been forecasted to pick up in the afternoon from the NW but either it did not appear or was delayed, or we were sheltered. Paddled round the outside of Shuna and through the skerries to lovely beach on NW end of Lismore for lunch. From there paddled round the islets by Port Ramsey and on to Eilean nan Caorach and from there across to Castle Stalker. Tide was quite confused as we crossed and wasn’t always flowing in the expected direction.