Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Kayak Torridon

Two weeks after our kayak week in Skye, I met up with my friend Nicky and we drove to Ardheslaig, a small hamlet on the Applecross Peninsula, where we would see our friends Ansgar and Alice (again). My friend's parents have a lovely cottage there and we were invited to stay there for a few days.
The weather was perfect and we were welcomed with a fantastic BBQ on the beach in front of the cottage.

The cottage on the right was our accomodation in Ardheslaig


Loch Beag

The next day we paddled from Ardheslaig around the Northern tip of Applecross headland. The weather was fine, but there was quite a bit of wind which caused a big swell on the West side of the peninsula when we made our journey back. Before we left for the day trip we left some lobster pots in the bay. When we came back we had some problems retrieving them again because it was low tide! But one of them had about 10 crabs in them. I in particular felt sorry for them so I was able to convince my friend to release them.

Kayak trip from Ardheslaig around Applecross Peninsula

Rougher sea at the northern tip of the Applecross Peninsula

Landing at one of the sandy beaches on the peninsula

Nicky trying out my "Ferrari" kayak

A good catch in Nicky's crail but we released him afterwards

The following day we started our multi-day kayak trip. Ansgar and Alice were going to continue their journey along the West Coast and Nicky and I were going accompany them for two days. This meant that we had to organise our shuttle; leaving the car at the end point (Melvaig) and getting a taxi back to Ardheslaig where we would start, a journey of three hours in total! So it was a very early start for me as I had to be ready to launch my fully packed kayak at noon to catch high tide. Luckily all went well and the taxi driver met me at the Melvaig Inn at the right time. I can highly recommend Hy Jack Taxi Service in Gairloch!

The sea was flat and it was warm, so perfect conditions for some kayak fishing and to explore Loch Shieldaig and Torridon's geology. Unfortunately we didn't catch any mackerel so the tinned fish we brought with us came in handy for our meal later. We saw a few porpoise but unfortunately they were too shy to be caught by camera. At the mouth of Upper Loch Torridon we turned back and paddled to the beautiful beach of Red Point where we pitched our tent and made our supper.

Kayak trip from Arheslaig to Loch Shieldaig and then to Red Point

Landing on the beautiful beach of Red Point
Landing on the beautiful beach of Red Point

Stunning views to the Torridon Mountains

We found the perfect spot to pitch our tents

Preparing our meal on the pebbled beach

Nicky preparing our meal

The beach is temporarily decorated with our equipment

Exploring Red Point during sunset

The last stretch of our journey went from Red Point to Melvaig, about 33 kilometers. Conditions were perfect again (I didn't wear a cag because it was too hot) so we made good progress. Underway we stopped in Gairloch, my friends stocked up their supplies for the coming days and we had lunch and basked in the glorious sunshine.
Around tea time we finally arrived in Melvaig. When I left the car there I didn't have to the time to check out how our landing would be so I was really happy to see that they recently made a jetty and slipway. If that wasn't there it would have been really tricky because of the huge boulders everywhere along the coastline.
The seafood platter at the Melvaig Inn was the icing on the cake after such a wonderful trip in great company of my friends. After our meal we said goodbuye to Ansgar and Alice who were going to paddle for a few more miles to set up camp for the night.

Kayak trip from Red Point to Melvaig

Having a break on the water

Nicky enjoying my homemade tiffin

Approaching Gairloch

Perfect conditions

Gairloch beach

After a wonderful break in Gairloch we continued our journey

And everywhere we looked those stunning mountains

Arrival in Melvaig

The slipway behind the Melvaig Inn was just perfect!

Ansgar & Alice continuing their journey

It was now too late to make our journey back home again (about 4.5 hrs) so Nicky and I pitched our tent on campsite Big Sands between Melvaig and Gairloch. The last three days I kayaked 80 kilometers and drove 680 kilometers so I fell asleep immediately!

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