True to say that the UK basked in sunshine everywhere last weekend……..except the Moray Firth. Strong winds and rain from the north on a north-facing coast didn’t bode well.
However, we had a secret weapon. Drummond.
Every kayaking group should carry a Drummond with them.
This particular version is a local paddler from Elgin, who managed to advise and guide us to the safest and best spots on the Moray coast, given the adverse conditions.
On the Friday we drove West to launch at Findochty to take advantage of a following wind to explore the coastline back to our campsite at Sandend. Great sections of rock-hopping and some brilliant geology along the coast made for a great day out. The welcome harbours of Portknockie and Cullen with their small sandy beaches and public conveniences were nice rest stops.
New techniques learned by a few of us included “handing off the cliff faces” through the narrow gaps that were impossible to paddle and trying not to get “sucked down the plughole” as the wave that lifted you into a rock gap then disappeared at an alarming rate. Topping this off with exciting surfing back to our own beach made for a great day.
Saturday was again wet and windy with no sign of the wind dropping. The group split and those paddling went to Ardersier, east of Inverness for the natural shelter of the bay and the lure of dolphins. Good paddling and plenty of wildlife sighting made the journey worthwhile. The wind here was very benign and a far cry from conditions further east.
On Sunday the group split in two. Some paddlers went to Ardersier to enjoy the wildlife and others drove the short distance East to Portsoy with the intention of doing a few hours of instruction. The Ardersier choice was the correct one, as conditions were deemed too serious for anything meaningful or safe to be attempted at Portsoy. A walk by some and return home by others was the result.
Everyone managed at least 2 out of 3 days paddling during this extended weekend, which was a good achievement given the weather. This wouldn’t have been possible without the insightful help of Drummond.
Thanks very much to Mike and Tom for keeping us all safe.
On Saturday June 29th seven ladies enjoyed the second of our Women's Introductory Paddle Days.
Based on Killington Lake, the day gave everyone the opportunity to try out open canoes, sea kayaks and river kayaks.
A great day, lovely weather, a really good group - and cake !
"My name is Lucy Stevens and I am a Masters student at the University of Cumbria, Ambleside working on my thesis. My focus is looking at the vectors of introduction of invasive species into Windermere, the results of which can hopefully be applied to the entire Lake District. I am collecting data by way of a survey which I would be very grateful if you might be able to complete this survey and hopefully forward on to your members or pop a link on your Facebook page.
This research will highlight ways invasives enter Windermere and help to put in measures to avoid this from happening or to focus on education around invasive species and the damage they can do and the negative impacts they can have on your paddle sports.
I aim to have my data collection finished by July 14, so if you pass this on I would be grateful if it can be filled in by then, but the sooner, the better!
Here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/INNSwindermerepaddling
Massive thanks in advance, here’s to looking after the health of our beautiful Windermere – and the Lake District!
The Cumbria Region sea kayak group spend many weeks exploring the Hebrides and introducing sea kayakers to the coastal environment and we have noted the amounts of beach pollution and plastic waste washed up in many bays and on beaches. Joining Basking Shark Scotland as volunteers, allowed us the opportunity to get involved, first hand, with beach clean ups, using BSS power boats to collect the x1 ton dumpy bags - Given free by JT Atkinsons, a well known Cumbrian builders merchants - full of the collected waste.
As sea kayakers we could get into many of the hidden beaches and support BSS to load and transfer the waste to their small power boats and onto the bigger boats for transport back to Oban for sorting and recycling.
A perfect partnership and action to show how important paddlers feel about caring for our environment.
Basking Shark Scotland Blog
British Canoeing SAS Big Spring Beach Clean