2015-08-30/31 Paddling into the wind and tide… Arisaig

The day after the Oban Sea Kayak Race I headed to Arisaig with the hope of being able to get out to the islands. The weather looked like the wind would be easing for a couple of days at least, before picking up again mid week. Soon after setting off I realised that a solo crossing to Eigg was not on. There was a fairly strong wind coming from the South. It was time to opt for plan B, which was to explore the islands around Arisaig, find some where to camp and see what tomorrow would bring. So I headed into the wind and tide and made slow progress around the islands. It got quite lively a couple of times; I was very glad I wasn't making the crossing to Eigg! I'd been chatting with Paul Edmondson the day before at the Oban Sea Kayak Race about various good places to wild camp. Paul had pointed out a few places on the map, so I knew roughly that if I kept going into the wind and tide I could find a good spot for the night. Paul was not wrong. As you can see from the pictures below the area to camp was a fantastic location. Thanks Paul. What was even more surprising was that I also had a really good phone and data signal!

The next morning, after a really good nights sleep, being serenaded by the gentle lapping of the sea, the first thing I noticed that the wind had changed direction. It was now coming from the North. I had a good listen to the Stornoway Coastguard weather forecast and I also checked windguru etc on my phone. I was contemplating heading across the Sound of Arisaig, so I could tick off Eilean Shona from Hamish Haswell-Smith's Scottish Islands. However after setting off and getting out of the shelter of the headland, I soon realised conditions were only just about OK.  So I could to get there, but the return will be back into the wind, forecast to be strengthening later in the afternoon, and the tide will have turned providing wind against tide conditions. If I carried on, I would be stuck for a few days as the weather for Tuesday, Wednesday was for yet more wind and rain from the north. There was nothing for it, but to turn around and head back into the wind and tide, again (!) and head for home. So not a great many miles, 6 miles out and 6 miles back, but all against the wind and tide, so I certainly felt it.

What a fantastic area though. I really love this part of Scotland and I will be back again, hopefully when the wind stops blowing! The lady at the campsite where I had left my car, told me the season hadn't been good, in fact she said, since last summer there was no autumn, it went straight to winter, then apart from a few days around Easter, the wind hadn't stopped blowing.

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