Monday, 20 June 2011

The summer glow and the shining path - an evening paddle in Lewis

Cuma sailed from Loch Miabhaig in the late afternoon.  The plan was to head south along the west coast of Lewis to Loch Tamnabhaigh and anchor for the night.  We would be sheltered from any weather but in a good place to sail for St Kilda if the conditions were favourable.

We headed out of Loch Roag past the island of Bhacasaigh which was lit by a beautiful warm light.  Lewis gives its name to Lewisian Gneiss, one of the oldest rocks on the planet at a staggering 3000 million years old.  To put that age into perspective, no fossils are found in Lewisian Gneiss because it predates all life on Earth.

The shelter of Loch Roag was soon behind us and some of the team experienced a sudden requirement for horizontal repose as the effects of a large Atlantic swell made themselves felt.  Cuma is a great sea-keeping boat though, and her motion was very natural as she rode the swell around Gallan Head and turned south.

Murdani had chosen the perfect anchorage; the head of Loch Tamnabhaigh was calm and quiet. Some of us fancied an evening paddle, so after dinner we got on the water at 2145. In summer it barely goes dark at these latitudes and it was a beautiful evening for a paddle.

Douglas hoisted sail and headed down the loch.  Even with the lightest of breezes he accelerated smoothly past us.

We paddled to the mouth of loch Tamnabhaigh, chatting and enjoying being on the water in such a special place.  Rounding a headland, the moon became visible reminding us of the hour.  We made a quick jaunt across Loch Tealasbhaigh and then turned for the paddle back to Cuma's anchorage.

The western sky was filled with a delicate orange blush, it was nearly 11pm and we felt very privileged to be part of a gorgeous Hebridean summer evening.

By the time we got back to Cuma the sunset colours had faded and a shining path of moonlight showed us the way. 

Just magical.

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