It is now past mid September, with today marking the Autumn Solstice. The days are getting shorter, and although we are still busy on the water I find myself asking again the same question as this time last year. ‘Just where did the Summer go to?’. It seems again that it has flown by even faster than a blink of an eye. And it hardly seems like two months ago since our last blog entry and my promise of filling you in on some stories from our amazing sea kayak adventures. Having just finished our last lodge based trip of the season to the stunning Isle of Mull it seems fitting to reflect on our first trip there, back at the end of May. Six of us set out on this trip, and although the weather threw its challenges at us in the form of strong winds, heavy rain, sunshine, cold air, hailstones, and more sunshine it was great to witness the unfaltering determination amongst the group to go sea kayaking regardless. It may undoubtedly help in the fact that we had the most wonderful lodge to return to at the end of every day, complete with an Aga stove, hot showers ‘great home cooked food’ and ‘a big glass of red by the fire to warm and satisfy the soul!’.
We might be slightly biased given that Mull is part of our home waters but it is a hard task not to brag about its sea kayaking worthiness. Taking time to explore this Island by sea kayak will not leave you disappointed. Though perhaps it sounds that we were unlucky with some of the weather we were given, we really were very fortunate. On the days where the winds blew we were able to make the most of getting to all corners and sides of the Island, sharing pristine sandy beaches with no-one but ourselves, and observe undisturbed views of wildlife, including sea eagles, otters and seals.
Afternoon basking in the sun (taken by zoom lens)
But most of all it give us the chance to discover just what it is about Scotland’s west coast that gives it its raw edge of wildness and beauty – both fantastic elements of its sea kayaking appeal. And as for the rain? Well… when you’re all snug in your sea kayak you really really don’t notice it!
Seven days later six of us retuned to the mainland feeling content and thoroughly satisfied with our adventures.
Despite the fact that the nights may now be starting to close in. this trip was a great one to kick the season off with and one that will rate highly on our list of favorites.
If you are interested in joining us for one of our sea kayaking lodge based trips or sea kayak expeditions to the Isle of Mull our 2016 dates will appear on our website soon. Alternatively if there are specific dates that you would like to enquire about for you and a group of friends please do get in touch.
Its been a busy season so far with lots of sea kayaking adventures that we haven’t had the chance to write in detail about (but we will), including a skip across the sound of Mull for a week with a great bunch of people and in some challenging weather. We have also been gallivanting around Argyll lots too – to some of our usual places, and places less visited. With all of these trips it is the people that join us that make it! With a summer that has been full of the windy stuff and not so much of the sunny stuff we have been completely and literally blown away by folks’ determination and enthusiasm to still come out with us and make the best of the weather. This summer is the first in quite a few years now where the weather has not spoiled us too much on the west coast of Scotland. Somehow when you paddle a sea kayak most days for 8 or 9 months a year you become quite blasé about the weather, and so it is easy as a guide and coach to forget what it must feel like, especially for beginners, to voluntarily accept what the weather gods decide to throw your way. But it has struck us once more just how amazing, resilient and truly inspiring it is that everyone still wears big grins at the end of the day when we step foot on-shore to once again become landlubbers – windswept and slightly tousled, perhaps a little damp but thoroughly satisfied! A huge thank-you to you all.
Assynt and the Summer Isles – One winters day in the middle of summer!
Argyll – exploring the lovely island of Lismore on a one night sea kayak and photography expedition
A well earned supper on a one night expedition around Kerrera in Argyll
The Isle of Seil, Argyll – A sky full of drama
A swell time paddling on Orkney
The sun shines in beautiful Orkney
Orkney Sea stack
The Isle of Mull – Fun in the sun, or is it wind?
The Magic of Mull
I first explored the Isle of Mull by sea kayak in 2007 when, with a couple of friends, we set out to paddle around the island. It was a great trip and there are many moments and memories that float to the surface and make me smile. Ever since, no matter how many times i take my sea kayak there, it never fails to surprise or amaze me by its beauty and diversity. Being one of Scotland’s largest Hebridean Islands it is a place of stunning beauty and well worth exploring by sea kayak.
It’s mountains, white sandy beaches, thousand foot high sea cliffs, fascinating geology, and bird and marine life make this island a complete treasure for sea kayaking. But the real beauty is not just in what serves as a visual feast, but the fact that when you step onto Mull’s shores, and particularly her western shores, you cant help but feel the history of an island whose story began over 8000 yrs ago. There are many myths and legends that permeate Mull’s cultural past, including that of Fingal’s cave on Staffa, St Columba, the Spanish Armada’s Florencia and her sunken gold treasure, illegal whisky stills, stone circles, caves and rock carvings, David Livingstone, Sir Walter Scott, the great potato famine, the highland clearances, fairies, water horses, bean-nighe and headless horsemen and perhaps more recently the inspiration for Balamory!
Mull is an Island full of surprises. It never fails to impress. A rugged wild mountain landscape that mysteriously floats above crystal clear seas. It cannot be recommend it enough.
Our next trip to Mull starts on 30th May to 5th June 2015 and is located in beautiful accommodation right in the heart of the islands west coast. See here for more details.
Spring marks the time of year when we are getting ready to step the pace up a little more and prepare for busy times ahead. But as we look forward to all the exciting sea kayaking trips and expeditions for this season, it is hard to not look back and reflect on the great trips that have been. Here are just a few pictures of some great paddling moments during 2014.