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The GOSSIP

Number 137 / September 2002

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Most of the company decided to return, but Eddie, Walter and I pressed on as a light breeze wafted from the sea. Gradually this strengthened, Walter and Eddie pulled away from me as we beat towards Carna, eventually disappearing into Loch Teacuis. Conditions were becoming livelier - fresh breeze, short chop - as I espied Keith and Ann returning up the loch. I hove to; they said they'd circumnavigated Carna, so discretion being the better part of valour I turned with them to run for home. On the way we met Steve and Louise, apparently enjoying a lively beat down to Loch Teacuis, where they intended to camp for the night.

Beached at Loch Teacuis.

Meanwhile the flood tide had carried Walter and Eddie into Loch Teacuis east of Carna, but opposed them as they attempted to leave through the channel to the west. Walter just managed it with much hard paddling and the help of his small mizzen, which kept his canoe pointing upstream. Eddie, minus mizzen and the stability of outriggers, almost capsized in the gusts as he paddled. He therefore retreated into Teacuis but managed to exit by the eastward channel. Both sailors were relieved on sighting each other as they emerged from either side of Carna. It had turned out to be an interesting day on the water, a good six and a half hours. Later, supper in the evening sun and on to the bar.

Having explored westwards, Eddie and I decided to venture inland the following day. Firstly we drove to Strontian, leaving his car and trailer there for the return. Back at Resipole we launched into the lightest of westerly breezes and drifted in the sunshine past islands, seals, herons... The wind strengthened, blowing us more purposefully towards the narrows half way to Strontian. Eddie broad-reached away to then turn and approach them obliquely whilst I fronted the ebb tide directly. A large motorboat serving the fish farms rumbled through. I was still moving forward, but more slowly. By the large rock at the narrowest point the water boiled up black around me, but the wind held and we turned away to port to find a lovely sandy beach where we took on fuel.

The last three miles to Strontian passed quickly with another sighting of porpoises. Unfortunately we had to carry our canoes and gear over 300 yards of sand and mud before lifting them up the rocky embankment to the road. An arrival at high tide is recommended! Hilary & DaveS with others had found (by car) an excellent beach on the Ardnamurchan peninsular to lounge on, others had pottered up to Salen and Walter had helped Jim get used to sailing his new trimaran. Steve and Louise returned from Loch Teacuis after their successful camp. In the evening, as Neville still had some barbecue stores in his cool box, we finished them off, despite the attentions of a few midges.

End of the trip at Strontian, ahhhh...

I left early on Saturday. Despite the generally weak winds we'd had a great time with full days on the water in the sun, surrounded by hills and mountains in good company. Thanks to Bernard and Eddie for liaising with the campsites in the weeks before the rest of us arrived.

 

Canoe Cruise In The Inner Sound (Part 2) (SteveR)
Maatsuyker concludes his account of the expedition to the Inner Hebrides. (Read Part 1)

Day 3
The local school master had suggested to us that if our trip was to take in the island of Raasay, then we would be well advised to land at Inver on the island's west coast. This small and rocky bay is apparently much in favour with Her Majesty the Queen, who used to enjoy visiting it from the royal yacht. As this was the week of the silver jubilee, it seemed appropriate to take up the schoolmaster's suggestion and point our boats across the Sound of Raasay towards Inver.

Our crossing of this stretch of water was accompanied by a school of around twenty dolphins that treated us to a magnificent display. Distinguishable from porpoises because of their long noses, they jumped ten at a time almost completely out of the water as they hunted their prey. As one group of ten dolphins landed with an impressive crash, another ten jumped into the air, and so the display continued for several minutes, moving closer and further away from us as the hunt continued.

On landing at Inver we found that it did indeed live up to its reputation as a place well worth visiting. A picturesque sandy beach is surrounded by rocky cliffs, which rise from the water in the manner of a cove. On spotting the potential to practice his rock climbing above the deep water of the bay, Maatsuyker was unable to resist the opportunity, and set off traversing the overhangs. The rest of the party looked on eagerly, in the hope of seeing him fall into the water. Maatsuyker stayed dry, but it was noted that he had taken the precaution of completing the climb in just a T-shirt and his swimming trunks.

The lunch stop over, and with Explorer extolling the delights of the burn he had just found to bathe in, the party set off up the west coast of Raasay. Thus began the afternoon and evening of the

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