Applecross Peninsula / August 2008

Launching at Shieldaig, we set out on a three day trip around the Applecross Peninsula, another journey that I had had in mind for some time.
Paddling north to cross the narrows at the mouth of Upper Loch Torridon after which we followed the rocky coast north west past Port Laire before crossing back to the Aird headland.
A following wind now eased us along all the way out of Loch Torridon, around the headland Rubha na Fearn, to camp behind the beach at Reaulay. This is a wonderful beach but poor camp site with very few places to pitch and, amongst the bracken in high summer, truly terrible midges.
Our second day dawned much as the first had ended, with not a breath of wind. A quick escape from the midges saw the start of a longish day on the water, following the low cliffs south to Applecross.
Glassy seas rolled beneath us from here all the way to the Crowlin islands. Just before reaching the northern tip of these small islands, a solitary porpoise rose a few feet in front, close enough to see the texture of his skin; he continued north up the inner sound, noisy exhalations marking his route in the still air.
A final short crossing from the Crowlins to Uags saw us land for the last time, mercifully immediately beneath the bothy in which we hid from the wee terrors.
Strong winds picked up after dark and buffeted the bothy all night though they eased by mid morning, allowing an exciting paddle around Rubha na h-Uamha and then along a surprisingly interesting section of coast up into Loch Kishorn.
With the tide low and ebbing, we lined the boats up the river to take out at the small bridge by Tornapress and start the hitch back to the car - I was picked up within two minutes by a friendly cyclist who had injured himself coming down the Bealach na Ba and was running the shuttle for his mates, unlucky for him but great news for me!