Monday, 16 November 2015

Solway sojourn - Silurian splendour

Leaving Brighouse Bay, we embarked on the last leg of our day's paddle hoping to be ashore at our intended camp before sunset.  We would certainly be able to observe the progress towards sunset as we were bathed in lovely October afternoon sunlight.

Straight from the beach we were back among great rock architecture with channels behind stacks appearing as we paddled along.  No matter what the progress towards sunset, this wasn't a stretch of coast we intended to rush.

It's worth noting the tide mark on the rocks in this image to get an idea of the range - the ebb still had two hours to run at this point!

Of all the coastline we'd paddle on our Solway journey this stretch between Brighouse Bay and Fox Craig was undoubtedly my favourite.  A combination of impressive rock architecture, the colours of the cliffs enhanced by low angled sunlight and the sheer presence of the place left a lasting impression.  If you paddle this section  - and really you should - wait for a calm day with late afternoon or evening sunshine; I guarantee it will match anything, anywhere.

The lichens on the cliffs are so vibrantly yellow that they rivalled our drysuits for colour!

At Fauldbog Bay the layered sandstone slabs become really noticeable again, tilted to an acute angle by the impact of England into Scotland.

We are sea kayakers rather than geologists, so when we arrived below this piece of Silurian splendour rather than discussing "alternating turbidite lithofacies" - we just said " close can we get to that?!"

In a corner of the bay a tiny cave was exposed just enough to be receiving the gentle swell and reverberating with a mighty blow back felt in the solar plexus.  Clearly there was a cave monster at home in this one.....

Just when we thought the cliff scenery might be coming to an end.....

...we turned the corner into Slack Heugh and there was a final crescendo.  We drifted slowly across the bay absorbing the aura of the place and watching Ravens and a Kestrel above the cliff top, then the arcing flash of a Peregrine across the face of the cliff.

With reluctance we paddled out of Slack Heugh and got our first view of the lighthouse on Little Ross, below which we'd camp for the night.  The sun had dipped quite substantially during our journey along the cliffs but we could now relax, knowing that we'd arrive in daylight.


  1. Another great read, Ian...a stirring, stimulating, spirited, synopsis, steeped in a setting of sheer stratified seismic proportion! A simply smashing story! :) Warm wishes.

    1. Slainte Duncan - I see you've siezed the spirit of the Solway series!

      Salutations across the sea :o)

  2. I hope everyone clicks on the photos to watch them in full size. They are really showing an amazing landscape! Safe paddling!

    1. Thank you Leif - the scenery here is truly great; limited only by the wide-angle of our cameras!

      Kind Regards