Sunday, 8 July 2012
Bright and breezy in Loch Kirkaig
The following day had a forecast for continuing fine and warm weather, though with strong eastery winds. On a west coast, it seems that this should give shelter, but the topology of the north west of Scotland tends to mean that easterlies blow directly along glens carved during the ice age and don't give sheltered conditions at all.
My plan was for a short paddle out of Loch Kirkaig then south around Rubha na Breige to explore the islands in Loch an Eisg Brachaidh. The paddle out of Loch Kirkaig was alongside wooded cliffs with emerald water below.
Getting around Rubha na Breige was a bit tricky. The wind was blowing along cliffs on both north and south sides of the headland, causing turbulence directly off the point itself. I had to brace a couple of times when gusts came directly down from the cliffs and was glad to get clear and into Loch an Eisg-Brachaidh. The view ahead took in Cul Mor and Stac Pollaidh, two more of the distinctive Assynt mountains.
The wind seemed to be strengthening a notch so I cut short my exploration of the islands, settling for landing near the head of the loch. Heading back out with the wind at my back I needed only rudder strokes to keep up a good speed; and this time I headed well offshore before turning back into Loch Kirkaig to avoid the turbulence.
A landing at a sheltered cove out of the wind gave chance to get my breath back after a couple of kilometres of paddling into the stiff breeze. Inverkirkaig lay ahead, but until well into Loch Kirkaig, the view is missing that vital ingredient.....
The backdrop of Suilven.
The push into the loch was quite a slow affair against the breeze, but with blue sky, blue sea and a cracking view I wasn't complaining!
After dinner we strolled along the shore to the River Kirkaig, and watched trout in the pools below the trees.
Walking back, the evening sun was dazzling, the blue sea turned silver beyond the shingle exposed by the tide. We'd had a super few days in this beautiful part of the country; it remains among our most favourite places.