Loch Hourn

Quite simply, one of those trips that is good for the soul...
Arriving at Kinloch Hourn at HW, it was with some haste that I sorted kit, food and a few luxury items before loading the boat beside the small stream that enters the head of the loch. (The tide drops rapidly here to leave many yards of shingle, weed and boulders...launching and landing is made much easier close to HW when the stream can be utilised to paddle practically into and from the parking area.)
Leaving Loch Beag, the snow clad ridges of Ladhar Bheinn soared above the loch whilst either side the ancient oak forest was in first bud.
With the gentlest of breezes pushing me on past the steep slopes, through tiny skerries and their resident seals, I came to EileanMhogh-sgeir and shortly after, the narrows of Caolas Mhor. Here the flow picked up but I ducked out into the eddy behind the shingle spit, keen to stick to the north shore for now.
Passing Ealean a Gharb-lain, a tiny rocky inlet prompted a stop for lunch.
Tempted to lie in the sun admiring the views into Barrrisdale Bay, it took a little effort but before long I'd passed Corran and was heading across the loch towards Rubha Ruadh.
Just as I began to wonder whether I might see porpoises during the short crossing (2.5km), a noisy whoosh and sleek fin caught my attention. On a parallel course, the porpoise and I continued through gentle waves until, falling gradually behind, I could only just distinguish his exhalations across the water.
During a short stop beneath the wooded and craggy slopes of Druim an Aonidh, the unmistakable comical bleating of feral goats echoed across the water.
A quick peak out across the Sound of Sleat towards the Cuillin from Rubha an Daraich and it felt like time to find a camp.
In strong late afternoon sun I plodded down the centre of the loch, passing between the small islands of Corr Eileanan to find a gently curving bay where I made made camp.
After demolishing several cups of tea, I walked up onto the ridge of Sgurr Mor...
....through old oaks and between the wild primroses, before returning to cook beside a small fire, bringing a wonderful day's paddling to a close.
Rising early to catch the tide, I crossed the bay and moved through Caolas Mor at slack water, hugging the south shore along which the walkers path to Barrisdale snakes through oak and pine. Reluctantly, I eventually paddled slowly back into Loch Beag, eeking out the last moments of a trip that will remain clearly etched in my memory for many years.

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