Friday, 12 June 2009

Another Turn

We woke to a calm and sunny morning. Got up, got going and on the water for 8.30am.

For the first hour the sea remained smooth and the winds light; however as soon as the tide turned the wind picked up and by the time we crossed the mouth of Loch a Choire we had a N F3-4 to wrestle with.

The remainder of the trip along the SE coast of Morven proved a mixture of cross winds, head winds and periods of calm. We stopped at Camus Airigh Shamhraidh to refuel and enjoy the sunshine and scenery, and again just shy of Rubha an Ridire while we waited for the tide in the sound to turn. At an early point in the journey we even got a glimpse of the Paps of Jura away to the south of us.

Aside from the super quarry it proved to be a lovely section of coast with the mixture of reddish pink stone beaches contrasting with the fresh green spring growth on the native coastal woodland that appears to thrive along this shore.

As we got closer to Rubha an Ridire the wind became more persistently a head wind and we sensed that there would be a battle ahead. We weren't wrong. A km or so before the point a sea eagle emerged from the trees and rode the breeze past us up the Loch.

And then we were there. The third major turning point in our journey.
For 9 days since rounding Duncansby Head our compasses had read SW as we followed the line of the Great Glen fault southwards. Now as we swung round into the Sound of Mull our direction changed to NW.

And so battle commenced as we worked against a NW F4-5 to get round into Inrinmore Bay. It proved such a struggle that we started to think about our options for an early finish, but then the wind eased and before we knew it we were round Ardtornish Point and heading for Lochaline. However the wind wasn't done with us and we had to work hard to make the beach for a well earned rest.

The wind died down again so we decided to head on up the coast and make use of the flood tide. To begin with this was generally OK with occasional F5 gusts impeding progress but with 4km to go the wind settled to a steady F5 with gusts perhaps hitting F6 and we were forced to earn every inch of ground, crouching low over our spray decks to reduce wind resistance and making each stroke count. After what seemed like an age we finally reached the campsite at Fiunary and agreed to call it a day at that.

Our next challenge came when the third tent pole snapped as we were putting up the tent. Fortunately we still had additional spare poles and a hacksaw blade thanks to Alan so we were able to replace the offending piece. Not what you need after a hard day but there you go.

And then there were the midgees. Despite the fresh winds at sea the campsite was very sheltered and the wee darlings were out in force. We are talking midge hoods essential, eating only possible in the tent and clouds of them waiting at the door for you to leave again. What joy.

Distance travelled today: 43km
Total distance travelled: 745km
Midgee ferrocity: 4/5 am. 5/5 pm

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