Monday, 25 March 2013

Return to a Rum retreat

I took no photographs at all on our crossing of the Sound of Canna from the west end of Sanday, around the south of Sandy and across the open water to the north tip of Rum.  Douglas took one image just as we left Sanday and it shows the swells beginning to build up - and this was some 3.5km from the main tidal race.

As soon as we left the shelter of the bay we'd camped in we were exposed to an Atlantic swell and a good deal of clapotis generated by the swell crashing onto the south coast of Sanday.  We moved out into more open water and kept close together, if we got separated it would have been easy for us to lose sight of each other.

Initially the wind blown chop was the dominant sea condition, but fairly soon we moved into the main tidal race which was pushing  eastward.  Though in its final third this was still quite strong, and was maginfying the big swells coming in from the open ocean.  these swells were being further compressed as they were funnelled into the Sound and we were very aware of their increasing size.

Several times we backed off the crests of these swells as they threatened to become rollers - but they rarely actually broke.  After about an hour of these conditions, which could fairly described as "having our full attention" we passed out of the narrower part of the Sound of Canna and the swell and tidal movement gradually subsided, allowing us to use the now much more manageable swells to push us towards the tip of Rum.

Exposure to the weather is a feature of the Small Isles, any trip here is at the mercy of the conditions.  We'd hoped to have paddled right around Canna and to have journeyed down the west coast of Rum; neither of those would have been prudent (or enjoyable) in the heavy swell and gusty wind.  Here, the flexibility of our plans served us well.

Turning the cornerat the north tip of Rum was to enter another world......

Entirely sheltered from both wind and swell, the east coast of Rum was glassy calm.  The mist and low cloud hid the view of Skye completely.

We landed back at the beautiful bay of Samhan Insir for first luncheon and a small measure of Golden Steadying Liquid.  Although today wasn't a sunny day like the previous day when the breathtaking colours of this beach were fairly zinging.....

There was still plenty to admire....

In the intricate patterns of water on the sand.

Suitably fed and watered, we mad our way down the coast to Loch Scresort.  Here too it was glassy calm; we could clearly hear voices over a couple of kilometres of water.  We shuddered to think what the midges would have been like on a still, overcast evening like this had it been summer!

Our accommodation for the night would be somewhat different from the tents of the previous night!

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