Loch Sunart - April 2009

The first day of a week during which the weather steadily improved, contrary to my cynical expectations. After a wet and windy morning watching the white caps rushing past Mallaig and deciding that the trip around the headland into Loch Nevis wasn't viable, Loch Sunart provided both a sheltered haven and wonderful wildlife as well as interesting channels and bays to explore amongst the principal islands of Oransay and Carna, some of which were littered with tiny urchins.
Crossing from Glenmore into a fresh F4 provided a welcome warm up and once amongst the islands, the wind was barely noticeable.
Within minutes of reaching Oronsay a golden eagle soared overhead but perhaps the most interesting encounter was with a small shark! A greater spotted dogfish to be precise...
Following the north east shore of Oransay I soon reached the narrows of Eilean nan Eildean where the tide gently pushed me on towards Loch Teacuis. Having read much about the beauty of the loch, the mono culture plantations and clear felling underway did little to back up the claims of previous visitors.
Moving swiftly on I found myself against the tide which was now pushing strongly through Caol Charna; a small race with waves that were just big enough to surf up to the top of the broken water provided entertainment before the flow slackened around Rubha na h'Eaglaise.
On the home straight, heading across and west towards Glenmore, was one last surprise. Having expected to encounter some flow amongst the islands, the race opposite Glenborrowdale (approx) was entirely unexpected. Looking at the map, in hindsight, it's not so difficult to see why it forms. At the time, paddling once more in a fresh breeze away from the sheltered inlets, I was caught slightly off guard, although again, with nothing of any real size, the waves forming out in the channel provided welcome entertainment as I headed back...
A great start to an awesome week's paddling to follow.

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