Thursday, 19 August 2010

Loch Craignish, Loch Crinan and the Doris Mor

I was glad to get back out in the little inflatable after wading through the head high bracken on Island Macaskin. I think the local midges and mosquitoes had not seen many people either and were making a big meal of me.

As I headed out to sea I caught my second mackerel of the day under a beautiful mackerel sky, with the paps of Jura as a backdrop.

I was now heading south for Loch Crinan. The salmon in the fish farm off Scodaig point were very lively, leaping into the air and landing with huge splashes. Then I saw why. A guilty looking seal appeared from under the nets. It was lucky I wasn’t the fish farmer or it could have been legally shot for trying to get its free lunch. I tossed it a mackerel but it showed little interest, it was more interested in the salmon. I guess I was too.

Once round the point, I headed east into Loch Crinan. I couldn’t help but envy this farm house setting. It had a lovely sea view across the loch and was sheltered on the other three sides by hills.

A little farther on I came across a cormorant with wings fully outstretched, presumably to dry them or perhaps to soak in some warmth from the sun ? Perhaps its not a cormorant and it’s really a shag ? But then again I not sure if a shag is just a slang term for a cormorant, so I will let the twitchers decide what kind of bird it is.

As I rounded its perch, it threw me a dirty look, uttered a squawk curse before hurling itself into the air. It had not quite reached flying speed, stalled in mid air fell back towards water, but with a skip and a hop of its huge flippers, it soon bounced up enough speed for an undignified take off.

My next port of call was to see Duntrune castle from the sea. Parked outside was what I can only describe as a real inflatable boat and outboard motor. I was pretty certain I could easily reach flying speed in that outfit.

I was starting to warm myself in the morning sun. It was turning into a beautiful day as I crossed the loch to Crinan village

The lighthouse marks the start of the Crinan canal

The converted fishing boat looked beautiful in its varnished wood. I doubt if its owners would know which end of a net to put in the water but I guessed they net a fair profit in their own business to afford such a tidy boat.

I had a quick tour round the other boats moored at Crinan before heading back to Loch Craignish. I didn’t envy any of them as I doubt if they had any more fun than I was having in my little inflatable.

It took a while to get back to Loch Craignish as I was doing trawling speed which is an average speed of catching four mackerel per hour, knot that I was in a hurry you understand. I headed for Island Macaskin again and discovered there was an inhabited house situated right on the southern most point of the island. I stopped here and would have anchored if I had one, so dropped my fishing line with five feather lures instead.

That’s when I discovered I was at the start of the Doris Mor tidal race. I was just drifting off to sleep when I noticed I had drifted quite far from shore. The water was still flat calm but strange shapes started to appear on the surface.

Soon the water was flowing like a river and my little inflatable started to bob about like a cork. Time to wind in the fishing line, start the engine and get out of here.

I played in the currents for a while just to get used to seeing and feeling the boat move and spin in the tide race. Although some very small whirlpools appeared, I knew I was a long way from the fast flows which could take an unwary inflatable boat out into the Corryvreckan.

No comments: