Monday, 25 September 2017
A two day Torridon tour - big sky morning
Sometime during the night I became aware that the rain had stopped and the wind had dropped away. Early sunlight heating the tents prompted us to be up and about early, emerging into a bright morning. Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones to be up and about early and we exited the tents straight into clouds of ferocious midges. Usually they don't bite much in bright sunlight (see paragraph 2.6.2 in this paper), but the local population on this piece of Loch Torridon shoreline clearly hadn't read the paper! We scrambled for our midge repellent and I straight away put on my suit of "midge armour" which made things much more bearable........
Though the midges were doing their level best it was still a lovely morning, and in a superb location. Packing was a little quicker than we'd have liked in order to escape the midge attack, which remarkably continued even as the day heated up.
As soon as we were on the water and away from the shore we left the midges behind and were able to fully appreciate the morning....and what a morning! Our position at the outermost part of Loch Torridon had sweeping views - to the west the Trotternish peninsula on Skye lay under an ever-changing cloudscape; while on the horizon we caught a glimpse of the long chain of the outer Hebrides.
It was the majestic cloudscapes (and not the midge attack!) which made the morning so memorable. Towering cumulus would build over the land and then slowly subside in an ever-changing pattern, dissipating where it drifted over water and never really threatening rain.
We paddled eastward, into Loch Torridon and into patterns of bright sunlight and cloud-shadow.
Each time the sun emerged from the cloud pattern, the water beneath our boats was flooded with morning light, the colour and detail snapped into sharp focus by the intensity of the light.
As the morning grew warmer the cloudscape developed a heavier, more solid appearance, but still didn't really threaten rain. The Skye shore was in shade, while here on the Torridon shore.....
...we basked in warm sun. After an hour or so of paddling we decided on a second breakfast and landed on a beach of sandstone boulders. Thankfully the midges seemed to have given up and we enjoyed a pleasant coffee break propped against boulders warmed by the sun.