Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sunday Sea Kayak

After this morning's torrential rain it turned out nice today so Wally, Amanda and I headed for Lamlash bay in our kayaks for a little potter on the water.

Setting out from Lamlash 

The distinctive shape of Holy Isle

A rest at Kings Cross

Back to the village via Holy Isle

Prospero's Prelude and a mean chimney, Cir Mhor

I'm feeling bruised and a bit exfoliated this morning after a typical day climbing on rough Arran granite yesterday.  Wally and I headed up to the south face of Cir Mhor in Glen Rosa.  The day was damp and clagged in when we set off , but by the time we had set off up the first pitch of Prospero's Prelude (moderate) the mist was lifting. The route gives great views of the harder lines on the South Ridge and the Rosa Pinnacle, and a fun access to the higher climbs near the summit.  After that we did a fierce chimney on the southern side of the summit buttress. We think it was Brodick Chimney (diff), but the guidebook description doesn't really fit so we are not sure. It certainly felt tough at diff with two chockstones and a through route at the top that was not for the broad of beam.

First pitch of Prospero's Prelude.  A mod with a few fun wee boulder problems.

Stunning views of the South Ridge and Rosa Pinnacle

Brodick Chimney? Wally going for full body exfoliation.

A last look up the glen to Cir Mhor on the way out.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Lamlash to Sliddery by sea kayak

As Britain basks in a heatwave, Arran has been sweltering too. Yesterday seemed too hot for any land based activities, so Wally and I took to the water in our sea kayaks and paddled from Lamlash to Sliddery for a family supper- a distance of about 24km. It was long hot day's work, with mostly calm and mirror like conditions- a bit of a headwind at Bennan and some interesting swell as we came past Kilmory and the Cleats Shore. Wally did a bit of fishing around the south end and was rewarded for his efforts with five mackerel to contribute to the feast that evening.

Leaving Lamlash Bay, we were joined by a pod of porpoises.

A chilled out rest spot near Largybeg.

Glassy water around Pladda Isle

The dramatic Black Cave at Bennan Head

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Surf's Up at Machrihanish

More summer fun as the heatwave continues.... The west coast of Scotland feels more like the med at the moment.  The only thing to do on a day off is get in the water to keep cool.  Wally and I took the wee ferry from Lochranza over to Kintyre and headed to Machrihanish with our boards (small and long).  We spent a blissful morning playing in the surf at the village itself, and then the afternoon at Westport. The surf was 3' and clean in the morning, a bit messy by the afternoon.  Perfect for me and my boogie board. We were back on Arran in time for dinner at the Brodick Bar and cocktails at The Douglas.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Sleeping Warrior's Long Lie

With an improving forecast, Jude, Brian, Andrew and I decided to leave it late before setting off to do the North Glen Sannox Horseshoe, including a traverse of the famous Sleeping Warrior and the Witches Step. Despite our long lie, the mist hung low in the coire as we set off. The recent dry weather made for an easy crossing of the river and ascent of the boggy hillsides of Sail an Im, but the ridge above was disappointingly clagged-in and damp. What should normally be a glorious walk to the summit of Caisteal Abhail was soggy and cold with limited views, a bit of a shock after the recent heatwave.  Ever the optimist, I kept hoping for the promised break in the clouds- and eventually it came, as we began to negotiate the difficulties on the Warrior.  We lingered, enjoying the views, and let the rock dry before completing the traverse in perfect conditions.  Worth the wait!

Atmospheric but a little damp.


And after!

Descending in to the Witches Step

Stunning views over the saddle and in to Glen Rosa

Isles of Bute and the Cumbries visible in the distance

The profile of the Warrior, slumbering since the ice age.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Golden days on Loch Shiel

This week I was was working for Shearwater Adventure on a Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award expedition with a difference, exploring the remote beaches and hills around Loch Shiel, on foot and by canoe. Canoe instructor Paul Weller and I knew we'd landed on our feet when we saw the forecast for wall to wall sunshine and settled weather. This is a rare and wonderful thing in Scotland.  When it happens there is nowhere better to be. We were blessed with sunny days, deserted sandy coves, and a Scottish paradise on earth.

We put in at the top of the Loch, at Glenfinnan.
The first evening saw us camped right on the sand of a heavenly beach
The morning mist added a bit of mysticism...
Another day, another blissful beach stop...
We stopped that evening for a two day camp at the entrance to Glen Aladale.
The next day we explored the surrounding hills: highpoint Beinn Odhar Beag

The final morning was also misty and still.
Eerie paddling through the mist back to Glenfinnan
Barely a ripple.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Skipness, porposies, basking shark

A bit of speed blogging here.  I've a boat to catch in 15 mins!
Yesterday Wally and I paddled to Skipness for a delicious lunch at the seafood cabin.  It was a magic day, and on the way back we were treated to a swim-past by a pod of porpoises.  They came so close we could here their powerful breaths as they broke the surface and see their dark bodies under the water. Then, as if that wasn't enough, a close (too close) encounter with a basking shark in Loch Ranza.  The huge pankton eating fish seemed completely oblivious to our presence and swam right in to us.  Evasive action needed!

Tall ship "Thalassa"  in Lochranza
Barely a ripple on the water.
Looking back to Arran from Skipness
A bit underwhelming, but some photos of Jaws
Jaws, coming for us.....