Skye Circumnavigation: Scalpay - Armadale

We had hoped our early start would help beat the midges as well as giving us the best chance of finishing the trip on our sixth day. No such luck, with the midges at least.
It was a slightly frantic pair that took to the water shortly after 8am, some way short of Caolas Scalpay.
Once on the water however and away from our tormentors we could enjoy the mirror calm morning...
...and long views up the Inner Sound.
Passing the Skye Bridge provided a real boost, being such a significant landmark if not a challenging one to pass.
We stopped for an hour or so at Kyleakin, enjoying a second, more leisurely breakfast after the rushed affair earlier that morning. We knew the tide would be against us through Kyle Rhea, but unless we had started at around 4am, there was little we could have done about it, and so felt in no undue rush to get back on the water.
In fact, hugging the west shore, we managed to use the eddies within Kyle Rhea as far as the ferry crossing without any real problem. There we saw a yacht heading north with the flow at a phenomenal speed and came across the first real point at which some determined paddling was required to round a small rocky promontory. Soon after we turned a corner to encounter a rather trickier problem. Here the full force of the flood stream was racing past a number of small outcrops. The channels in between were impassable as the torrent dropped nearly 1ft in height between them. The only solution was to paddle at full speed hitting the very top of the eddy line and then power across 10 yards of fast moving water to safety. It required no small amount of precision and as I raced across the eddy line my keel hit the outermost rock; luckily I stayed on course, the current lifting the bow but not turning me downstream and we continued without further incident, the last of the real obstacles on the circumnavigation of Skye behind us.
Launching after a short coffee break just south of Kyle Rhea...
...to continue down the Sound of Sleat.
We paused again to rest by the lighthouse off Ornsay, where a dramatic rainbow formed across the mouth of Loch Hourn.
From here, a last determined effort saw us approach Armadale shortly before 7pm, having covered 51km from Scalpay that morning bringing the grand total for our circumnavigation to 268km.
It had been a rewarding journey in many ways but even with the favourable conditions we enjoyed, hard on both boats...
...and bodies.
That evening we enjoyed a well earned pint at the Ardvassar Hotel in the company of two friends from Lewis and North Uist who had arrived that day on Skye to undertake a course at the nearby college.
Having taught Tim and I a few words of Gaelic, they departed, offering some solemn advice for future expeditions:
Don't sink!
My thanks to Tim who took charge of the camera to capture all the images of me, and to those who offered their help along the way.

Comments

Taran Tyla said…
Fab trip Will & great Pics. I'm so gonna have to do Skye too :)
John Bunyan said…
I'm jealous again Will! Great photos.
Vince said…
Great achievement, well done both of you. Super pics as always.
Moray Club said…
Around Skye is a big undertaking Will - weather looked ideal - superb dramatic photographs as always.
Not many sandy beaches for landing on! :)
Bill
Will Herman said…
Again - thanks to all for your comments. Have to say we had an easy time of it for the most part making the most of a weather window we'd been watching develop.
Bill - west coast landings often tricky even with calm conditions, especially with heavy boats, and more so at low water!
Cheers
Will
Stuart said…
Very jealous but I'll be up there myself in just over a week, fingers crossed for simular weather. Well done both!
Chris said…
Hi Will
Well done, im back up on the 25th sept to try and finish my trip.
All dependent on the weather.
Have you got any more trips planned for next year

Chris Seals
Will Herman said…
Hi Chris

I hope the weather is better for you than in May! Good luck!
Lots of trips planned - maybe Shetland...

Cheers
Will
Ian said…
Hi Will, what a fantastic trip, well worth the blisters I would have thought! Back at work and insanely jealous.... :o)

all the best
Will Herman said…
Hi Ian

It was indeed - and worth the blisters as you say - especially as Tim's were much worse than mine!

Cheers
Will