We landed on the west coast of Inchmarnock about 30 minutes before sunset and wasted no time in getting our tents up and camp established. There are easier places to land and camp at the north and south ends of the island but we hoped that the spot we chose would be exposed to any breeze which would keep the midges away.
Inchmarnock means Marnoc's Island and is named for the Celtic monk Saint Marnoc (the name also cropping up in other place-names of the south-west of Scotland such as Kilmarnock). At the north end of the island, a stone "cist" (burial container) was excavated to reveal a female skeleton buried with a jet bead necklace and a dagger. The remains were carbon dated to 3500 BC, and the Bronze Age lady re-interred behind a pane of glass.
Across the Sound of Bute, the Arran hills were lit with a warm glow from the low evening sunshine. It really was quite idyllic, and as a bonus the expected midge attack was thwarted by a "sundowner" breeze which started up as we finished putting up our tents.
The sun was setting in a blaze of golden light over the Kintyre peninsula by the time we'd finished making camp. We decided to cook our evening meal on the pebble beach where we could light a fire below the tideline so that all traces would be erased at the next spring tide.
When it comes to moving boats at wild camp sites there seems to be two types of sea kayaker - those who move their boats right up to the tents, and those who only move their boats above the expected high water mark. We definitely fall into the second category - we carried our boats onto a level patch of pebbles above the high water line - and not an Inch further!
Douglas and Mike had used this camping spot some weeks previously and Mike was concerned that they may have used up most of the available driftwood - but it turned out that they hadn't tried nearly hard enough as there was plenty of wood along the shore. Within ten minutes we had a good pile and with the help of a Wilcox Ignition Aid (TM) we soon had a satisfying blaze going.
Local stories claim that Bute's 19th century drunks were dropped off on Inchmarnock to be cured by "isolation and deprivation". We felt no inclination to emulate these unfortunate folk and enjoyed a frothing sports recovery drink as we cooked our evening meal.....
After eating we sat back and just enjoyed being in this place - so near to a big city and yet really quite remote. The only sounds were the gentle crackling of our fire and the water on the pebbles of the beach; there was no man-made noise and very few lights visible on the surrounding coasts.
The afterglow of the sunset was a long and drawn-out affair, an hour after the sun had dipped below the Kintyre hills there was still a band of intensely coloured light on the horizon. The air was warm and the heat from our fire meant that we only needed jackets as it got dark.
Give us an Inch and we'll take a mile!