Thursday, 8 March 2012
A leisurely afternoon on Longay and Pabay
We regrouped on the east coast of Scalpay (Scallop Island); the wind had dropped and the sun was warm on our backs - this was more like it!
Most of the islands surrounding Skye have Old Norse names reflecting the Viking heritage woven into the history of the area. We paddled eastward to the next island on our itinerary - Longay (Longship Island). To the northwest, the distinctive flattened summit of Dun Caan on Raasay came into view.
We landed on this small boulder beach on Longay's east side for first luncheon - the boulders on the lowest part of the beach were very smooth and slippy. Longay was one of several islands utilised as bases by pirates in the 16th century.
After a leisurely break we left Longay and made a crossing to the south, heading to Pabay (Priest Island). By the 16th century priests had been replaced by pirates; Dean Munro in 1549 described the island as "full of woods, good for fishing and a main shelter for thieves and cutthroats"
The gently shelving reefs on the northwest of the island give rise to big waves in a northerly wind and swell, but no such excitement today.
We landed on one of the numerous boulder beaches and climbed up to some convenient slabs to take second luncheon.
Fed and watered, we rock-hopped down the eastern side of Pabay and headed back over Caolas Pabay to the Skye "mainland". A gentle southwesterly breeze was the strongest wind we encountered on the day.
One happy result of our leisurely pace was that the flood tide had filled the tidal inlet of Ob Breakish sufficiently to allow us to paddle direct to Gordon and Morag's back garden to finish our paddle with tea and coffeee. Doesn't get better than that!
As we sorted out boats and kit, a very light shower produced a nice rainbow over the Ob. We didn't need to go looking for gold; it had been a day and a weekend of memories to treasure.