Friday, 30 September 2011

Ardnamurchan, Ardtoe and Kentra Bay

I had now explored most of the coastline from Morar Bay to the South Channel of Loch Moidart and still had a few days to see some more. The forecast was promising light winds with plenty of sunshine so my plan was to drive down to Ardnamurchan, launch the boat at Ardtoe, turn northwards for a short journey to the south channel of Morar again, then head in the opposite direction to explore Kentra Bay and on to the beautiful deserted beaches at Camus an Lighe.

I wasn’t sure if I could get the boat launched at Ardtoe as I need a ramp or gentle slope for trailer access, so I left it at the campsite and took the inflatable in the boot of the car. I expected the sea to be flat calm so thought the inflatable would be dry enough for this journey.

The beauty of camping in the highlands in September was that the midges were not too bothersome. Although I carried a midge net and repellent I never needed to use them once but I doubt if they would have been much use for protection against the Ardtoe midge.

Ardtoe is little more than a few cottages at the end of a single track road. There is an open gate into a crofter’s field where you park. An honesty box asks you to leave 50 pence for the facility. I thought it a very good service so was a little dishonest and put £1 and 50 pence in the box, however it came at a price. I was getting rid of all my loose change. I’m sure the wily crofter would not have objected.

It was a beautiful day and my only slight regret was that I had not trundled the boat and trailer to Artoe. I discovered there was a suitable ramp at the sandy beach opposite the car park. Still, I had the inflatable blown up and ready to go within fifteen minutes.

Heading out the bay and rounding the point to the north , gave a lovely but different view of the island of Eigg and the mountains of Rhum again. I was now seeing the southern side of the Sgurr of Eigg and it was with some satisfaction that I thought “ Yup..I have stood on the top of that one too”. One day I hope to be able to think the same thing about Rhum.

This friendly local stopped for a blether before continuing on his way checking his lobster pots and crab creels. I was now retracing my steps and heading south again having joined my journey with the south channel of Moidart.

I headed into Kentra Bay for a nosey around in there. Another boat was pottering about his creels.

The larger fishing boat was still at anchor in the shelter of Kentra Bay and no one was in sight so I doubted if it would head to see the sea today.

There are small private boat houses and slipways along Kentra Bay but there is no access for the public.

There is a large slip in the bay that it would be possible to launch at but it has a sign “Working Slipway, Please keep clear” The problem with this slipway is there is no space to park a car and trailer so Ardtoe is the place to go if you want to explore this area with a trailer boat.

Happy I had seen the best of Kentra bay I now headed for the beautiful deserted sandy beaches to the south.

It was shortly after taking this photograph that “pride came before a fall” and I had my little accident .......

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