Saturday, 11 September 2010

Gigha's a break brother

I was no sooner home and checked the weather forecast when I wished I was away again. The following few days promised fair weather and light winds off the west coast of Scotland. I was contemplating whether to return to the north or stay put when my phone rang. It was my brother and he put me out of my dilemma. He mentioned that he and a friend were going to kayak around the islands of Gigha and Cara with a nights wild camping, then returning the next day, and would I like to accompany them?

It was too good an opportunity to miss as I would never have dreamed of such an exposed journey under my own sail, but in the company of two experienced kayakers, I felt it was very possible for me and I could learn a lot in the process. I dont know why but that night I had nightmares of the Corryvrechan again.

I was the first to arrive at Tayinloan on the Campbeltown peninsula and inflated my boat on the sandy beach beside the ferry terminal. I could see the Island of Cara in the distance.

While waiting for my brother to arrive I went to the end of the old pier and looked across the sound of Gigha to Ardminish Bay. I was very relieved to see the sea was very calm. I imagined it could be a very different place if the wind rose.

Not long later we were under way, my companions in their kayak’s and myself in the inflatable. It was very nice to have some company but I couldn’t help but notice how camera shy my companions were ?

I travelled a bit behind as I felt a little guilty at the effort they had to put in paddling while I sat eating lunch and fishing while my noisy little outboard did the work for me. However the ferry didn’t feel guilty about any of us. It just kept going back and forth as ferries do. Get in its way at your own pearl because it will soon move you on ..or under.. the choice is yours.

I wondered how the bow waves would affect us but they hardly rocked the small boats. We just rose to the occasion.

Before we left the mainland , my brother had said we were setting a course for the boathouse to the left of the pier. As we approached Gigha after a very smooth and pleasant journey, I wondered where the boathouse was. I guess I was looking for a large shed with a boat in it ?

It wasn’t until we landed that I realised the Boathouse was in fact a coffee shop come cafĂ© come bar. I was used to boating in remote locations so it came as a bit of a surprise to see some civilisation on an inflatable boat journey, but I must admit, I enjoyed the coffee and cake.

Looking back over Ardminish Bay, I could see why Gigha is though of as “God’s green Island” Even the surrounding water had a green sheen instead of the cold greys of the lochs I had seen lately.

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