Category Archives: midgies

The trouble with Sea Kayaking

The trouble with sea kayaking is there’s an awful lot of faff involved.  It also involves large amounts of driving (even though I live 100m from the sea) and it can be quite hard work.  I hate faff, do a lot of driving already and usually try and find a way around hard work.  This might explain why I havent managed to do much sea kayaking this year despite a looming assessment.  At the start of the month Matt and Oliver agreed to join me for some faffing as I got myself ready for my “5 star leader assessment” (a grand and somewhat confusing title).  The final problem with sea kayaking is that it is pretty hard to get decent pictures of the actual sea kayaking.  I am therefore starting with the ubiquitous shot of the boat on a beautiful scottish beach.IMG_2199 The three of us headed out to Arisaig to prove how inept we were at rescuing each other and ourselves – it was however a great warm up for the next 8 days of paddling for Matt and I.IMG_2203 Matt paddling away from the Cuillin in the sound of Raasay.  Strong winds stopped us getting anywhere so we were forced into a couple of nights stay at Raasay House.IMG_2208Ferry coming in.  We headed out into some fairly big swell (again no photos as I was trying to stay upright) on a particularly wild day
IMG_2214 IMG_2226 After some kit sorting and drying we headed down the sound of Luing, through the corryvrechan whirlpool to the west coast of Jura.  The bothy finally in sight after a great days paddlingIMG_5417Jellyfish on the beachIMG_5426A couple of shots of Glen Garrisdale bothy.  I’ve wanted to go here for years and it absolutely lived up to my expectations.  IMG_5434Glen Garrisdale

The next day we headed back across the whirlpool to Scarba and across to the Garbhellachs.  IMG_2228 Coffee and and super noodles on Eileach a NaoimhIMG_5448 Looking south over our campsite on the southern end of GarvellachIMG_5454 Sunset looking south.IMG_5481The next morning we had planned to leave early to catch the flooding tide.  We were met at 630 by clouds of midgies forcing us to procrastinate in the tent for 45mins.  Above – Matt contemplating getting out, you can see the smear of midgies on the mesh panel on the right.

Despite all the faff, driving and hard working I love the places you can get to by sea kayak and how simple it can be to pack up a boat and head off for a few days.  Oh and I passed the assessment.

Also posted in ali rose, Arisaig, Back of Keppoch, bothy, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scottish Kayaking, Skye Tagged , |

Fast Transistions

As ever I did not give myself much time to transition from one job contract (and country) to another.  My last few weeks in Scotland saw the seasons change to a definite Autumn and the super breed of midgies (no see ums for the americans out there) appeared as well.  I managed to fit in a couple more adventures before leaving even with the high winds, rain and midgies.  The first was a group effort in too Ardverikie wall on Binnean Shuas with the hope of another climb the next day.  In true style we walked in around 3pm to pitch camp and have a go at the route as a party of 5.  Amazingly the midgies and rain held off most of the time we were actually climbing (except the second belay spot) and we were soon back at our beautiful camp getting eaten alive by midgies….

 Walking in to Binnean Shuas, Hannah up front and Joe behind – note the cheeky bottle of Rose wine on the side of Joe’s bag.

 Looking down the route at Hannah and Laura on the second Belay.  I dont think they were particularly impressed with me taking photos while the midgies swarmed.

Laura after her first ever outdoor climb.  Drinking wine through a midgy net – Classy!

 The camp below Binnean Shuas.

The last adventure was my last full day in Scotland for a few months.  Ruaridh agreed to meet me at the northern corries car park in the Cairngorms even though the forecast did not look too impressive.  What was impressive was that Ruaridh had not climbed in a couple of years but was happily flying up the classic Magic Crack (HVS) with frozen fingers and toes and some very windy belays.

 Ruaridh trying to work out the wet lower pitch of the climb.

 Ruaridh looking fairly happy in the middle of the crux on the upper pitch.  (With cold fingers and toes this pitch felt a lot harder than HVS!)

 Ruaridh cruising the final few moves of Magic Crack.

Then the next day I was in Hong Kong and today had my first day out climbing.  A bit of a change from Scotland.

James (top left) on one of the warm up routes on Bunker wall.  I only climbed three routes today due to sweating so much..

 At least there’s something to do when it gets too hot!

 Climbing access Hong Kong style.

 And of course the sunset on the ferry ride home.  It is as ever a shock to jump between two such radically different places but soon the busy season will be in full swing in Asia and I will soon be back in Scotland for the snowy and icy stuff.

Also posted in Ardverikie wall, Hong Kong Climbing, Hong Kong outdoors, Magic Crack, Scotland climbing