Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 23rd April 2012

Quick 45 minute paddle while Gavin and his friends paddled with the Macclesfiled club. Did 5km round trip, going south from Adelphi mill.

Macclesfield Canal - 22nd April 2012

Clarke Lane <=> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 54:29, back in 57:30.
Cold, wet and miserable!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Inverie to Back of Keppoch - 8th April 2012

Day 4 of our Loch Nevis and Knoydart excursion.

Feeling surprisingly fresh after the previous evening's excesses, we de-camped and set off back across Lock Nevis in a fresh westerly wind. We passed the group of canoeists that we had been talking to the night before. They were making slow progress across the loch, and we were slightly concerned due to the increasing wind, but they made it across OK and into Mallaig.

With the freshening wind we left Kirstine and Stephanie in Mallaig and the remaining four paddlers continued back down the now exposed coast, back to the campsite at Silversands. With the wind gusting at F4-6, this made things rather entertaining and the rough conditions took our minds off the heavy rain that we were battling through.

With all the paddling now over, we put up tents and finished off our remaining beer and whiskey. We drove home the following day with batteries suitably recharged. It had been a good trip, the first time I had actually wild camped from my kayak. Just a shame we didn't really get any views of the hills on the four paddling days as the weather was pretty dreary. Never mind, I'll just have to go back again!

20k paddled.

Lessons learnt - I took far too much food, even considering the use we made of the pub at Inverie. I suppose I had considered the amount of food I used to eat on mountain marathons (2 day hill running, navigation events) and thought I would need the same number of calories, but I don't think the kayaking was as exhausting. I also took a load of spare clothes I didn't wear. I spent all the trip wearing the same tops and bottoms that I wore kayaking under my drysuit. I suppose if it had been wetter in the campsites, I might have needed to change clothes, but more time would have been spent in tents then.

Sandaig Islands to Inverie - 7th April 2012

Day 3 of our Loch Nevis and Knoydart excursion.

The morning started dry, and luckily we could take the tents down without having to pack them away wet.

The plan was to head south again and camp at the official campsite on the beach back at Inverie. There was little wind and when we re-entered Loch Nevis there was an atmospheric mist hanging on the side of the hills.

With low tide in the afternoon, we decided to go to the pub first, have a couple of drinks and maybe eat, then paddle over to the campsite at high tide so we could get the laden boats easily onto the beach. This plan was successfully executed, although I think we had more than a couple of drinks! The pub was very busy, with musicians playing by the bar and a big group of canoeists from Lancaster that we were chatting to.

Jim, Kirstine and Martin
Seafood Dinner at the Old Forge
Valet Parking, Inverie Style!
Inverie Campsite
25k paddled.

Tarbet to Sandaig Islands - 6th April 2012

Day 2 of our excursion around Knoydart and Loch Nevis.

Leaving Frank's place
We left Frank's place in the drizzle and skirted the south side of Loch Nevis, making our way out of the Loch and into the more exposed waters heading north. A welcome lunch stop in Doune then we resumed our journey north, across the mouth of Loch Hourn into an increasing NW wind.

Luckily as we arrived at our planned campsite, the rain had stopped and the sun made an effort to come out. We made a fire on the stony beach and passed a pleasant evening chatting and planning what kit to take to Greenland.

Campfire stories
Jimski looking pensive
30k paddled day two.

Back of Keppoch to Tarbet - 5th April 2012

This was the first day of a 4 day trip taking in Loch Nevis, Knoydart and the Sandaig Islands. Jim Krawiecki had proposed the trip as a chance for the group going to Greenland to meet up, so it was my first opportunity to meet Martin Rickard who will be our guide, and Stephanie Connor one of the other paddlers. We were joined by Kirstine Pearson and Chris Bolton.

I had left a snowy Rainow the day before and met Chris in Warrington and we drove up in windy but improving conditions. We arrived at the Silversands campsite and the sun was making brief appearances as we put our tents up and there were stunning views across to Rhum, Eigg and Skye.

Eigg and Rhum
Making camp and first beer!

Great campsite
In the morning we packed the boats with tents and food for a possible 3 or 4 nights away and parked up the cars with the kind permission of the campsite owner.

We made our way through the skerries and across the mouth of the short Morar river that drains Loch Morar. A quick stop in Mallaig for more provisions (beer) as, after packing his boat, Chris had realised that he had a fair bit of space left, so it was a shame to waste it.

We entered Loch Nevis and made our way over to Inverie and made use of the services of the "remotest pub on the British mainland" - the Old Forge. Inverie is on the Knoydart peninsular with the only practical way to get to it is by boat. There is a road through the village, but it is not connected to the rest of the road network and is only a couple of miles long.
Martin entering Loch Nevis
Cross on entry to Inverie bay
Wreck approaching Inverie
Inverie rush hour
Refreshments at the Old Forge
Suitably refreshed, we headed off with a bit of a tailwind heading for the hostel at Tarbet. This hostel is provided by the estate and has a resident warden called Frank. Frank gave us a warm welcome and immediately lit the stove. A fine evening ensued involving whiskey, tall stories and rude jokes. Additional entertainment was the singing deer head that gave an excellent rendition of "rolling, rolling, rolling...."

Loch Morar
28k paddled on the first day.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 1st April 2012

Clarke Lane <-> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 34:43, one boat delay plus a long stretch with a fishing competition.
Back in 38:02, with a couple of boat delays, fishing competition still going plus a two minute stop to help pull a woman's bike out of the canal after she fell in from the towpath!