Sea Kayaking, West Scotland, October 2009

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13-15th October - Eigg
13-15th October - Eigg
16th October - Back To Arisaig
16th October - Back To Arisaig

13-15th October - Eigg

We've done so many kayaking trips now that we've stopped worrying about how much we can fit into the boats. So having packed twice as many clothes as usual - it was October after all - and bought enough food to keep us going for several weeks, we were somewhat surprised to not be able to get everything in. Even nearly. Packing was made harder by a very wet kind of rain and council workers mowing the grass and covering everything with it. After abandoning most of the extra clothes, and many other essentials such as dry shoes for camping, we just about managed to stuff everything in.

We paddled out to the end of the bay at Arisaig, had some lunch, and then it was into a non stop three hour paddle in force four seas, rain, wind and not much to see. At one point we couldn't see land in any direction, and as the waves were crashing into our faces, we tried to remind ourselves that we'd handled much worse. The crossing took longer than anticipated, and with the late start, we arrived as it was getting dark. We hurriedly set up our tents on the official campsite, which was just a field. It had been used for a party recently, and was covered in empty beer cans, chairs and a ladder, which turned out to be quite useful for drying clothes in between the rain.

The next day, Tony, Richard and Luke paddled to Muck and back in gloomy but much calmer conditions. I had to stay behind, as the crossing the day before had made my wrist unusable. It also gave me the chance to buy some bread, as we had forgotten to buy any! The lack of dry footwear and having to walk everywhere in wetsuit boots soon made me realise that removing the beer and packing the wellies would have been a wise decision. That night, small unidentified animals spent the entire night trying to steal our food and rubbish.

On day three, we left our campsite to paddle around the island to Singing Sands. A mostly pleasant but sometimes choppy sea turned into what looked like a series of tsunamis crashing onto our intended landing spot. Tony went ahead and signalled us to come in one by one, the idea being to chase behind a wave rather than trying to surf in on one. Richard got most of the way in before falling out and then it was my turn. I waited for what looked like an ideal wave to chase, then looked over my shoulder and saw a huge wall of water rearing up way over my head. Not seeing Tony's frantic 'back off' signals, not that I'd be able to back off into such a monstrous wave, I attempted to ride it. Apparently at one point I was surfing along the wave at 15 knots towards some rocks, shortly after which it broke and turned me over. I made no attempt to roll, and pulled the handle almost straight away, lost my paddle and pushed the boat ashore. Tony was too preoccupied worrying to get any good photos, though he says it was a bloody big wave. It certainly looked it from my vantage point. Next in was Luke, who having watched two mishaps, timed everything to perfection and got in without even getting his feet wet. Show off. We set up or tents, ate tea and went to sleep to the sound of crashing waves, wondering how the hell we were going to launch the next day.

Route Map First Wildcamp On Eigg, Near Galmisdale Luke, Galmisdale, Eigg Luke, Tony And Richard Setting Off For Muck Kayaking Up The West Coast Of Eigg Tony, Off The West Of Eigg An Sgurr - Eigg Looks Ideal For Scrambling Singing Sands, North Eigg - Landing Was A Bit Of An Ordeal Singing Sands Checking Clothes Haven't Blown Away