Thursday, 23 November 2017

Into The Wilderness ... Litttle Loch Broom

Leaving Priest Island ... it was still only mid morning .. so I decided to have a look in Little Loch Broom. Then explored all the sandy beaches in Gruinard Bay. It really is a lovely area to explore.






This video tells the adventure well....




Direct link to video on U Tube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8l14D92iqs

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Into The Wilderness ... Priest Island

In the evening ... following my Anthrax Island adventure ... I took a walk along the coastal cliffs from Mellon Udrigle campsite to Rubha Beag. I wanted to size up my next adventure. A four mile open sea crossing to Priest Island. Its one of the Summer Isles and I had missed it when I rounded them ... preferring to approach it from this side of the mainland.







It was still a bit breezy for the crossing .. but I hoped that by leaving early the following morning .. I could visit before either wind or common dolphins were around.

And that is exactly what I did.


Direct Link to my video on U Tube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50Ua417HuBs

Monday, 20 November 2017

Into The Wilderness ... Gruinard (Anthrax) Island

Its amazing how a little sunshine can improve a grey mood ... so after a couple of days drying out on the east coast .. the weather improved again over on the west .. so I headed back to Gruinard Bay. It looked a far different place under blue sky. Warm and inviting again.



I had wanted to visit Gruinard Island for as long as I can remember. In the 1980’s I often passed it touring Scotland on my motor bikes and always stopped to wonder what it would be like walking there. Of course ..in those days it was still prohibited to land due to the dangers of the Anthrax experiment they conducted there ... testing germ warfare for WW2 requirements.

Its now clear of anthrax and landing is allowed.. although not many folks do. Some think the anthrax spores could still survive in the ground ? That rumour was not going to stop me from visiting. All I had to do was find the best place to launch my wee boat.

I chose the campsite at Mellon Udrigle.



It has a lovely sandy beach with easy access from the tent.



It was a blustery day but I was impatient to be on my way. The waves didn’t bother me.. but I got a bit of a surprise half way across the bay.

This video illustrates perfectly what happened that day



Direct link to the video on U Tube

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Into the Wilderness .. A few Grey Gruinard Days

Refreshed from my blue sky day exploring the Summer Isles ... and cleansed by several hot showers at the campsite ... I felt it was time to move on again.

The weather turned to the grey “Scotch Mist” type of day where it neither rains nor does it turn dry. I was still happy just sitting in silent solitude ..doing absolutely nothing.


I found an open field gate not far from Little Loch Broom and with the four wheel drive car ..set up camp in a sheltered area of the field.


I stayed a couple of days .. happily beachcombing the area in between the light showers of rain




There are quite a few deserted sandy beaches and hidden coves on the edge of Gruinard Bay.

I longed for the sun to return as I was keen to launch my boat again and explore Gruinard Island as well as Priest Island. 

But when I awoke on the third consecutive dull day of damp .. and looked over to Gruinard Island .. I decided.. enough is enough.


The forecast over on the east coast was for much dryer weather ..so I nipped across to the Black Isle and Fortrose. I knew that area well from childhood days living in Dingwall.

That trip to the east coast inspired this video


Direct link to video on U Tube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv69So87NOg

Friday, 17 November 2017

Into The Wilderness ... Summer Isles Part 2,3 & 4

Attached are the remaining videos of my summer "Summer Isles" trip. It really was a beautiful day and I spent around ten hours going round over twelve of the Islands ..Reefs and Rocks. My route was quite confusing ..as I just followed my nose.. to make the best of the day.

I covered approx. 45 miles.


Video Part 2


Video Part 3


Video Part 4



Direct link to U Tube for Part 2
Direct link to U Tube for Part 3
Direct link to U Tube for Part 4

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Into the Wilderness ... The Summer Isles Part 1

The Summer Isles are a collection of island  .. reefs and rocks off the entrance to Loch Broom and the lovely highland town of Ullapool. They are best seen from the hill road near Achiltibuie


Having been on the road and Wild Car Camping for a week..it was time to book into a campsite and soothe my itch for a decent shower. The campsite at Altandu was perfect .. and I will return as it has a nice Pub at its gates ..but unfortunately I couldn't sample the beer at that time ..as I was resting my liver.



I had a look at the slipway at Old Dornie ..its not far from the campsite .. but I decided against launching here. Its very tidal and I was almost left high and dry here in a previous visit


So decided to launch off the beach at Achitibuie common instead. Its my normal launch point when in this area so I'm well aware it is a hard recovery when the tide is out. I don't mind that with my light weight outfit. Its perfect for parking with Public Toilets at the top of the road too.




I noticed the metal balls and old boats that decorate the common are slowly rotting away..but they still make a nice photograph



Here is the video of my trip round the Summer Isles. It was a perfect day. The video is in four parts ..so come back later to see the other parts.




This is the direct link of the video on U Tube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al6B4b4tV_k

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Into the Wilderness ... Stac Polly


A first impression of Lochinver is that it could be just another dreary highland village ..especially in a dull damp day. Its not a particularly attractive village sprawling along one side of the main street. Its a sleepy little village too .. especially if you are waiting to refill the car with fuel. The garage is often closed just when I need it most.

However the sight of the rounded dome of Suilven .. Scotland’s sugar loaf mountain certainly sweetens the village sights for me.



Its only when you stop to explore the village that you discover a real hidden gem. It is the Lochinver Pie Shop. It must make the best pies in Scotland ... if not the entire universe. I can thoroughly recommend the venison pie for main course, followed by the rhubarb pie for afters. These pies can even kick start a lousy liver into firing on four cylinders again. They are truly mana from heaven.



With a stomach full of pie I then drove slowly along one of the most scenic coastal road in Scotland. The single track road between Lochinver and Inverpolly Forest. It passes some delightful sheltered bays.



Lovely fresh water lochs ....



Offering side on sights of Suilven



And eventually arriving at Stack Pollaidh (Polly for short) where I took a short walk to the sandy beach for this photograph.



I then spent the night in a local lay by before rising early in the morning. I was a man on a mission again. Full of energy and Lochinver Pie that needed walked off.

I headed up the hill.


Direct link to the video on U Tube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7vpszsu_T8



The video is a bit shaky .. not because of nerves walking narrow paths ..but because the Gopro gimbal that stabilises my footage..  well ... the battery was flat.

When I got back to the car .. I discovered my love of boating had returned too .. and where better to re launch it than the Lovely Summer Isles