Sunday, 3 June 2012

Ardnamurchan & Treshnish Isles

The renovation of our house is now in full swing and to escape the noise, dust and workmen, we decided to pack our outdoor equipment and rent a cottage for a week. And what a week it was! With clear skies, burning sunshine and high temperatures of up to 29 C we couldn't have planned it better. We chose the village Kilchoan on the peninsula Ardnamurchan, North of Isle of Mull, as our base.

Underway with views to Rum, Eigg and Muck
View towards Rum, Eigg and Muck
Our cottage in Kilchoan
Surroundings of Kilchoan
Kilchoan Jetty at dusk
From there we made various wonderful kayak trips such as Loch Sunart and around Ardnamurchan Point.

Map of trip on Loch Sunart

Setting of from Kilchoan
Ruins of a castle along Loch Sunart

Lunch break on volcanic rock beach
Lunch break on volcanic rock beach

Lots of seals everywhere!

Map of trip around Ardnamurchan Point

Approaching lighthouse from the North

Approaching lighthouse from the North

Lunch break on beach near Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

View to Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Approaching lighthouse from south

Approaching lighthouse from south

Coming back to Portuairk
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse at dusk

Lichen on beach rock

Pebbles in wood

Tidal lines


Sea flowers

One day the wind was a bit too strong to our liking, so we went for a hike one of the many volcanic remnants of the peninsula; Ben Hiant.

Walking to the top of Ben Hiant
We chose the unpathed route through bogland

At the top with magnificent views all around

 And one day we just chilled on beautiful Sanna beach!

As the weather forecast was looking perfect for a small expedition, we left our cottage a day earlier for a kayak and wild camping trip on the Treshnish Isles. The night before we had a delicious dinner at Meall Mo Chridhe in Kilchoan, a must for eveyone who enjoys homegrown food in a beautiful renovated Georgian country house.

After the ferrycrossing from Kilchoan to Isle of Mull, we stocked up our last groceries and tidal maps for the coming days and enjoyed a fabulous lunch in the burning sun on the patio of the fish restaurant in Tobermory's harbour.

Yummy...oysters with Tabasco!

Tobermory Harbour

Then we drove to Ulva Ferry where we parked our car and packed our kayaks with food, drinks, clothes, camping and kayak gear (the dry suit stayed in the car!).

Map of trip around Treshnish Isles

With an Easterly wind of about force 4, it was a bit of work paddling through Sound of Ulva  but as soon as we turned around the corner of the island Ulva, we got the wind in the back and easily cruised up to Little Colonsay to see if we could spend the night there. We didn't see any nice spots there, so we decided to turn back and go to the white beach we saw earlier on the South coast of Ulva.

Sound of Ulva

Sound of Ulva with Ben More in background

Campsite on Ulva
Me just being happy

Happy couple in tent

After a very stormy night we thought we had to change our plan completely and paddle back to the car. Luckily the wind downed down considerably the next day, and with the weather forecast even better for Sunday, we took our chances and made the crossing to Staffa. With waves of about 3-4 feet coming from the side, it took some concentration but other than that it went really smoothly. The fabulous basalt rock  formations welcomed us and despite some clapotis near the cliffs we were able to enter Fingal's Cave and the Boat Cave. We had been there before with one of the tourist boats, but being here by man/girl power was much better!

Entrance of Fingal's Cave

Inside Fingal's Cave

After a short break on one of Staffa's accessible beaches, we headed for the next island; Lunga. This time we had the waves coming from the back and the closer we got, the calmer the sea became.

Crossing to Lunga

Island Dutchman's Cap on a Dutchman's head

Lunga's cliffs
Our campsite on Lunga
Our campsite on Lunga with the Dutchman's cap in distance

Checking what distance we paddled

"We're here now"

Colony of Guillemots
To hear these guillemots, go to the recording.

View from inside tent at dusk

After a good night sleep we left early in the morning to miss the tourists who would be dropped onto the island very soon. The last stretch of our trip was an easy one with such a calm sea and hardly any wind. It was sometimes just too hot when there was no breeze at all!

Leaving Lunga at 8 am

Crossing to Gometra

Airplane trail on water