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The GOSSIP

Number 218 / April 2010

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Trip Round Murray's Isles (MalcolmC)

Murray's Isles form part of the Islands of Fleet, which lie just off the southern entrance to Fleet Bay in Dumfries and Galloway. The other islands are Ardwall and Barlocco. Murray's Isles are about a mile from the mainland and are owned by the National Trust for Scotland. They are important breeding grounds for gulls and cormorants. The trip began from the sandy bay at Carrick Shore where we had rented a holiday chalet in August 2009. The forecast was for force three to four from the west and seemed ideal. However, events proved that not to be the case although not in a bad way. The boat was trundled the 100m down to the beach on its trolley and was then rigged and had the outriggers fixed. I had persuaded Sue to accompany me and it turned out to be a good move.

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Ready for launch. One of the islands can just be seen in the far distance.

Out of the bay. The mainland off to starboard.

Both islands can now be seen, but where is the wind?

There was a nice breeze to help us beat out of the bay but it soon fell light and we made slow progress. The intention was to go to the north of the islands and down their seaward side and then return to Carrick. That way we should have a beat down the outer side and a run back to the bay. As we got closer to the islands the wind almost died completely and we drifted rather than sailed round their northern end. It seemed a long way down the outer side of the first island and I had to resort to letting the crew do some paddling. I knew there was a good reason for not going alone!

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Drifting towards the northern end of the larger island.

The birds and the top of the main ruin come into view.

The main ruin.

The larger of the two islands was once inhabited for short periods of time during the summer. Now there are two ruined buildings and thousands of sea birds. The stench from the birds is overpowering even from the water. During an earlier holiday, in June, I had kayaked out and round the larger island. There is really only one landing place. It is a narrow, rocky cleft leading to a beach with large pebbles. It is not a place to be if there is any west in the wind at all. As we drifted/paddled along we had a good view of the ruins and the birds.

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Carrick Bay.

Rather than paddle around both islands we decided to cut through the narrow gap between them and head back towards Carrick. The very light breeze was now behind us so we lazily drifted back towards the bay. I was wishing I had a larger sail area as small dinghies sailed by. However, we were soon safely inside the bay and running up onto the soft sand. The tide was in so… time for a swim!

 

Canoe Boys Give Advice (Alastair Dunnett)
On Comfort, Safety, Paddling And Food

We found that the subtle paddling leverages employed by all parts of the body could be assisted. A firm purchase was needed between the soles of our feet and the forward bulkheads. This was filled by the bundle of our sleeping clothes, tightly rolled and waterproofed into a firm cylinder on which our bare feet rested. A similar bundle with our change of clothes was braced in each canoe between

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