Sunday, 12 September 2010

Gigha and Cara too

At this point, I must confess that I didn’t really know where I was going or what to expect. I put my trust in my experienced companions and tagged along without question. My brother suggested we circumnavigated Cara in an anti clock direction and to me it didn’t matter. On such a lovely day, I would have happily follow them round Cape Horn.

Little did I know that is exactly where we were going. At least it felt like that when we rounded the Mull of Cara. Waves that were two or three times the size of the inflatable walls suddenly appeared from no where. I was very glad they didn’t break over the boat as it would have filled to the gunnels in an instant, turning it into little more than a kiddies paddling pool. I guess that is where a kayak is a lot safer as they dont fill with water, assuming the paddler is wearing a spray deck. I glanced over at my companions once the waves eased a bit and I could use the camera. I saw them, then I didn’t see them as they were also swallowed by the swell.

Standing fifty six meters high, the Mull of Cara is the islands highest point and from my seal’s eye view on the water, it looked very high.

The rock certainly dwarfed the kayaks. I now had the waves pushing the boat from behind and I was beginning to enjoy the journey again. As a keen mountaineer, I compared the rounding of the Mull with rock climbing rather that the hill walking we had done in getting there.

Once round the point and into the lee of the rocks, the water quietened again. The sea vultures, disguised as cormorants, seemed a bit disappointed that all three of us managed round the cape without a swim.

As the waves dropped, so did the wind. That is when I noticed the smell. Sniffing the air I knew what it was but couldn’t quite put my finger on it? Then I saw the cause. It was the wild goats of Cara.

I kid you not, there are at least nine goats and kids in this photograph. They seem to merge into the background, with only their odour giving their position away.

I really admired the beard that this one had. He looked like the ring leader.

After the excitement of the last part of the journey, we decided to pull over for some lunch. Gigha and its satellite islands have beautiful sandy beaches so we had no problems finding a place to land. That’s when my brother told me that the waves were caused by the tidal race rounding the point. When the tide race on the west of the Island meets the race from the east side, there is always waves on the point. If there is also a wind, the water can become very choppy. I was glad there was little wind that day.

After a spot of lunch I returned to my inflatable and found someone had acted the goat with my boat. That’s when my companions told me about the Cara Brownie and I shall tell you about it in the next instalment.

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