Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Ticked off when camping at Loch na Dhroma Buidhe

After leaving Loch Teacuis via the western channel I paddled back out into Loch Sunart and around the north side of Oronsay. There are several islands of this name around the Scottish coast and in each case the Norse-Gaelic name indicates a tidal island, connected to the mainland or another island at lower states of the tide.

Out in the main loch the northerly wind had picked up to F5 and there was a distinctly bouncy sea running despite the short fetch from the north shore; it seemed that the wind was pouring over the Ardnamurchan peninsula and onto Loch Sunart.  I took no photographs for the next hour as I paddled past the inlets of Oronsay then down the west coast of the island to turn into much more sheletered water.....




...at the mouth of Loch na Droma Buidhe (Loch of the yellow ridge).  The entrance to this offhoot of Loch Sunart is narrow at the western end and very narrow at the eastern end where it dries out below half tide.





Being sheltered from almost all directions and with decent holding ground on the bottom, Loch na Droma Buidhe is one of the more popular yacht anchorages on this part of the west coast.  there were two yachts anchored when I arrived and three more arrived during the evening, including one on which, incongruously, an electric guitar was being played.  Badly.




I landed and set up camp on a grassy meadow, exposed to the midge deterring breeze but in the evening sunlight.  On this occasion, near high water Springs, there was no need to make a decision on whether to move the boat just above the high water mark or to move it next to the tent - here the two were pretty much the same place!  As a bonus, high water the following morning would be just as I was setting out, so no need to move the boat across the pebble shore then either.  As a camp site, it seemed to have lots of advantages.





The guitar player gave up as the sun dropped and the breeze grew distinctly chilly, though there was a lovely warm evening light on the hills.






I retired to the tent just as the last afterglow as fading from the sky to seaward and fell quickly asleep, but in the small hours of the morning I was wakened by the sound of disturbance around my boat.  I asumed it was deer and made a noise which sent everything quiet momentarily before I heard my paddles being rattled about in the cockpit. As I got out of the tent my head torch picked out the yellow glow of a fox's eyes on the shoreline.  My food and a rubbish bag were stowed in the boat and he must have been able to smell, but not find the goodies.  It took quite a long stand-off with some shouting from me before he took the hint and left.  I collected the food and rubbish bag to stow inside my tent and went back to bed.

The short time I was out of the tent may have contributed to the second, less palatable wildlife "experience" at this camp.  Dressing in the early morning light I noticed a couple of black dots on my ankles and removed a couple of tiny Ticks.  On getting home later that evening, the full extent of the problem became apparent - I was liberally covered from midriff down in Ticks - I stopped counting after removing over 30.  Fortunately they were all, except two, at the tiny larval stage and so unlikely to be a risk in terms of being a vector for Lyme Disease, nevertheless it was the greatest number of these pests I've ever picked up.






The breeze died just as I was finishing off taking down the tent in the morning which brought out the midges, but I was quickly on the water and away towards the very narrow eastern entrance to the loch.  The house here is reputed to have once been a tiny brewery as well as a ferry landing, but it's well past last orders these days.  The channel has a series of large rock outcrops with narrow, shallow channels between; no place for vessels much larger than a sea kayak and certainly not suitable for yachtsmen, however bold. 


12 comments:

  1. Foxes, midges and ticks are bad enough, but the bad guitar playing is just a little too much.

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    1. Haha, you're so right Dan....at least it wasn't a banjo I suppose!

      :o)

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    2. I take our ten tonne registered fishing vessel in there most winters. It can be done!

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    3. That's impressive Anon - from what I could see under my kayak it must be pretty tight on both beam and draught!

      Kind Regards

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  2. Oh good grief I hate Ticks ! The most I have had is about 14! (Jura ). Cant imagine 30 + urgggg.
    Ii never wear shorts on the fells/hills but still pick up the pesky critters !!! My husband never picks up ticks !,,, on the near continent tick bourne encephalitis is a big problem as well as Lymes Disease. :(
    Sounds a great trip we have looked at a similar trip setting off from Resipol camp site interesting info re Oransay

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    1. Hi Allison, Resipol around Carna and/or Oronsay would make a great day trip; especially if you can work the tides in your favour and paticularly in autumn with the colours of the oakwoods. I knew it would be "ticky" at the spot I camped when I noticed how much deer poo was around in ankle deep grass :o(

      Kind Regards

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  3. Lovely light in that last image Ian - it's been good with the northerly airflow if frustrating for other reasons...and 30 ticks! My record stands at 7!
    Cheers
    Will

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    1. Thanks Will, not a record I sought! It really has been pin-sharp recently, some stunning views around Deeside at the moment; the heather seems to have coloured up particularly intensely this year

      Kind Regards

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  4. I feel a significant chagrin about complaining about the one tick I played host to from East Lomond...one tick. But 30+...I would have needed a mild sedative. ;) Warm wishes. Duncan.

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  5. Well Duncan, even one is a "tick in the box" of wildlife, erm......experiences! :o)

    Warm wishes

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  6. Good photos Ian. I always seem to drop quality and definition when I reduce sunset photos for the blog.
    Had 80 ticks on me after one long weekend Island bagging up the west coast which put me off summer hill walking this year somewhat as I now have a mystery illness that remains a puzzle.

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    1. Thanks Bob, cropping using Lightroom seems to retain the definition quite nicely on sunset images. 80 ticks - wow, not too pleasant!

      Kind Regards

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