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.