A 6am paddle to the Gantocks Lighthouse for sunrise. We were joined by the Disney cruise ship too 👍
A 6am paddle to the Gantocks Lighthouse for sunrise. We were joined by the Disney cruise ship too 👍
Back in the Kayak 👍
With a forecast of calm waters and no precipitation, the kayak was loaded up to head to Colintraive for the start of the journey.
The Kyles of Bute is a stunning place to paddle and well frequented by numerous watercraft.
The Burnt Islands provide a great locus for the resident seals, they’re certainly not shy as the launch themselves to come and check you out! Perhaps keeping you company for a while too.
Once through the islands a crossing to Caladh Harbour is a must, the sheltered area used by yachts to drop anchor.
This crossing in particular was a tad misty yet still enjoyable.
Next stage was to head for Tighnabruaich where the community jetty provides the perfect stop off to visit the village. I opted to call into the cafe for a coffee and a generous portion of chocolate brownie, sheerly to restock on energy for the return leg.
The colourful village
Coffee and cake consumed it was time to return to Colintraive, the surrounding hills providing a stunning backdrop.
A wee stop off on Bute at the Kayak stop prior to Colintraive.
It was that time of year again, providing support for this well organised local event.
Conditions were somewhat breezy but this did not phase the 35+ swimmers that took to the waters of the Clyde.
I joined four other kayaks as we set off for the Cloch Lighthouse on the eastern side of the Clyde. Conditions for the crossing had me doubting my sanity, never mind about the swimmers. I never managed to get any photos whilst on the water, didn’t fancy loosing my phone!
The crossing took just over half an hour, landing north of the lighthouse out of the southerly breeze.
We awaited word confirming the exact locus of the start Point, the decision was made to start south of the Cloch in order to account for the wind.
Support boats arriving off shore, soon to be joined by the RIBs – show offs with their engines,ha.
We were joined by another 5 kayaks, who provided excellent additional support, their help most appreciated. I believe they belonged to a club from ‘the other side’, not sure which though.
The crossing was drama free, thankfully. With the presence of the RIBs, Cruisers and the kayaks, shore to shore was covered for any eventuality.
A fantastic well organised event I’m proud to say I was involved in. A huge well done to all organisers, support crew and participants, great effort 👍
Thanks to Argyll and the Isles App for the water based photography 👍
The brother in law must have damaged his legs during the swim! Well done that man 👍.
Eager to get on the water, after a stormy few days, Sunday provided a favourable forecast. The choice of route was to set off from Dunoon and head to Loch Goil or to the top of Loch Long.
An 8am start allowed time to get fuel and be on the water by 08:30hrs. Parking at Port Riddel and wheeling the boat down the ramp to the slipway, some of the concrete slab that forms the running surface blown in past storms easily negotiated. The slipway, was exactly that! Due to the low tide the full length of the ice like slipway had to be conquered, resembling Bambi on ice the boat was not so gracefully launched.
Leaving Dunoon behind we passed by Kirn and Hunters Quay before passing the mouth of the Holy Loch.
Onwards to Blairmore, passing the refurbished pier we headed for Ardentinny
From here the coastline changes, swapping the C9 road that ran adjacent to the shoreline for a rocky coast laden with forests on the steep slopes. There’s some old buildings hiding in the woodlands, highlighted by the remainder of a pier on the shoreline.
The buildings, one of wooden structure the other of concrete lie open to the elements. The buildings were there to house (ironically) the workings of an anti submarine boom circa WWII .The large winches and associated workings partially remain today. Click HERE for further detail on when I walked to the station from Ardentinny.
The water remained glass like for our onward journey, the Police launches showing no interest in our puddle jumper.
Turning left to enter Loch Goil, we passed a seal on the rocks, it like the Police showed no interest in us. Another point of interest is Carrick Castle. It’s been under restoration as a dwelling, however there’s been little progress in the last decade.
Moving up the loch, we passed The Lodge, you may recognise the tree house from the Visit Scotland ad that was aired a while back, very impressive.
After acting like the the paparazzi we made our way to the head of the loch, checking out the local pontoons. One at the foot of Corrow next to the boat storage with Beinn Bheula in the background, the next within the Lochgoilhead Village, handy for a stop off at the Goil Inn or Post Office should you wish to send a postcard.
Heading out on the eastern coast, the scenery was fantastic, flanked by the sheer forest slopes perched on rocks. We had planned to return to Dunoon from here, but lunch time was upon us, so a trip up Loch Long to the Bothy was in order.
Sitting opposite the Finart Oil Terminal, Mark Cottage provides vistas to something different.
Once we’d had lunch we headed back to Dunoon, roughly taking 45mins at a leisurely pace.
Managed to cover 36 miles in a morning, taking in lots of scenery spotting seals,shoals of fish, herons and porpoise…..what’s not to like!
Another promising forecast meant the SIB was destined for the water. The choice being a run from Toward to Tighnabruaich, through the Kyles of Bute via Caladh Estate.
Launched and loaded we were ready to get underway……….the outboard had other thoughts ! Continuous loss of power under throttle that eventually cut the engine out was not an ideal start. Getting the engine running again, hoping the mystery problem had been resolved we motored about the bay but the symptoms persisted.
Heading to the shore, the engine cover was removed, similar to lifting a car bonnet and looking as if you know what you are doing !! Was it under fuel, over fuel or dirty fuel. Fuel line checked no leak, choke operating, fuel tank checked, head scratched, priming bulb checked,head scratched, fuel tank coupling checked,chin stroked……………fuel line coupling to outboard,eureka! There was a 3mm gap where the coupling wasn’t truly home and was drawing air. They say these things run on fresh air, well they dont !
The engine never missed a beat once the coupling was pushed home……..take two!
We set off and headed over towards Admaleish boat yard before heading up the Kyles, building confidence in the fuel delivery. We spotted three RIBs approching from the south, then passing on the east heading towards Colintraive.
We continued up through the Kyles investigating some of the rocky islands that form the collective group known as the Burnt Islands. Continuing we headed for Caladh Estate, a place I’d kayaked through en route to Bute from Ormidale.
Sitting anchored were the three RIBs, enjoying the tranquillity of the harbour. We were beckoned across to join the three impressive crafts. After a chat it became apparent we were all members of the RIB.net Forum , where i’d joined to research SIBs, seek advice and look for inspiration. It was also apparent after out chat that everyone that is on the water is there for one thing,to get out and enjoy it ! We left Paul and the others as they were heading to Tarbet for lunch, they did invite us but i think they’d have starved to death waiting for us, so we declined.
We tootled out of the harbour taking a few pics of the impressive surroundings.
Heading round to Tighnabruaich at a leisurely pace for lunch, we passed many different boats, everyone giving a courteous wave in the passing.
Once we’d stopped off shore for a bite to eat we made for our return journey, taking in more of the Burnt Islands before leaving the Kyles. The Colintraive locals were undeterred with our presence.
A nice 15mph cruise had us back at Toward in no time, again plenty of others out enjoying the great conditions.
A great few hours spent exploring the local area at a leisurely pace and meeting new people………..that’s what its all about.
With the kayak sold,a replacement sourced, a family outing was on the cards. There was no better choice of location than the calm water of Loch Eck for the first family voyage.
Enjoying lunch as we cruised up and down the loch, passing several kayaks and fishermen on the shores. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the loch.
Eager to get out in the newly acquired SIB (Soft Inflatable Boat), the forecast wasn’t looking promising…..especially for the afternoon.
Making the most of the AM weather window we set of for the Pontoon at Strachur,installed by the Strachur Bay Mooring Association.
Rolling the boat down the concrete slip on its transom wheels then across the stony beach to the waters edge wasn’t a major hassle,prior to tying onto the pontoon and loading the fuel tank and gear.
We set sail by 09:00hrs heading for Otter Ferry via Old Castle Lachlan and passing Invercottage Restaurant.
Up till now any water based activities were done with the kayak, maybe covering anything from 6 to 14 miles, taking in the scenery. Today we covered just under 36 miles (31nm) in 3 hours, that’s a lot of scenery to take in!!
We decided to sit off shore to have lunch as on approach to the pontoon at Otter Ferry we discovered the wallet was still in the car!! Will return next time for lunch.
We set off and returned to Strachur, taking in the Creggans Inn before tying up at the pontoon.
After locating my wallet we posted a £5 fee into the honesty box at the pontoon, money well spent.
If you don’t have a boat or kayak, Fyne Sea Tours operate various cruises in the area.
Check out the Strachur Community Site for local amenities.
As much as I enjoyed taking to the water in my Kayak, the reality is that any more than an hour in the seat gives my back grief!
I started to look at open canoes, at least they offered some wriggle room. But these aren’t ideal for one but could allow the family to join in…..but would they paddle?
Then I remembered meeting with a SIB owner at the caravan park north of Oban. A SIB (Soft Inflatable Boat) is an inflatable boat that can pack into the car and can take an outboard motor.
That had me browsing the usual places checking out what was what. I joined the Rib.net forum where information is readily available, if not from historical posts through the ever so helpful members.
So having identified a complete outfit I set off on my 800 mile round trip and arrived back with this…….
….much to my daughters delight.
The 3.8mtr boat weighs in at just under 50kg, as does the 20hp 4st Honda outboard.
The inflatable floor goes to 0.8 bar so is almost rigid, the V shaped hull helps in the rough stuff.