Sunday, 26 May 2013
All calm in Kentra Bay
Back in March I met up with Douglas at Glenuig - just a short time after our superb trip around the Small Isles. This time our intention was to paddle the coast south of Loch Ailort starting at Ardtoe. It's an area we are both familiar with but as ever there are sections we've not explored. There was also the chance to link up the trips we'd done over the winter from Ardnamurchan to Arisaig and the Small Isles.
One of the places neither of us had visited is Kentra Bay, a broad and shallow bay which dries completely at low water. The bay takes its name from the settlement on the shore and is an anglicisation of "Ceann Traigh" (head of the beach) - indicating the sandy expanse at low water.
As we paddled through the narrow entrance into Kentra Bay we were treated to a close view of an Otter fishing in the tide. This was the first of several Otters we saw during the day, they do seem to be numerous in this area.
This jetty is at Kentra on the east side of the bay. It would make a good launch spot except that there is nowhere convenient to park a vehicle, and a notice requests that the jetty be left clear as it is use for local fishing craft. The stonework was very solid looking and obviously built by craftsmen. The road from Acharacle to Ardtoe can be seen just above the jetty. This is a narrow and twisty singletrack with a very steep hill just above Ardtoe. It also comes with a fearsome warning for summer visitors! There is parking with a 50p per day honesty box at Ardtoe.
The birch trees on the shore had an early Spring blush of purple on them - these trees carry a purple wash right through the winter. The water was absolutely flat calm and we felt quite warm in our drysuits.
Winter was far from over though. The snow on the Rum Cuillin was fresh (it hadn't been there the previous week). The dark peak to the left of the snowy hills is the distinctive Sgurr of Eigg; both it and the Rum Cuillin felt like old friends after our journey in the Small Isles. The small rocky island is Sgeir Eididh just off Ardtoe.
We were both really glad we'd taken the detour to explore Kentra Bay. Provided there is sufficient water, it certainly repays a little exploration. The calm water seemed to suit the ambience of this hidden gem.
Now we turned north, back past Ardtoe towards our next destination, Eilean Shona.