Balcary Point & The Islands of Fleet

The Solway coast between Balcary Point and the Islands of Fleet possesses a gentle beauty that has drawn me back time and again in recent years although this would be the first overnight trip hereabouts.
Launching in Balcary Bay is a simple matter close to HW - mud flats make it a rather different proposition more than 2 hours either side.
Chris in front of the hotel...
...after which a short pull around the point places you quite suddenly beneath some imposing cliffs.
The resident auks seemed lively enough - though the resident peregrine proved elusive.
The high cliffs change in character soon afterwards, rock gardens leading towards the sandstone cliffs...
...backed by the charismatic rolling hills of Galloway.
Brian and Chris inspect the impressive caves beneath Barlocco Heugh...
...before stumbling across a small seal colony.
We had launched quite late in the day and already the sun was dropping as we continued, weaving through the skerries before making the short crossing...
...to Little Ross.
With another 10km to go to reach our intended camp on Barlocco Isle, we pushed on against the ebbing tide...
...as the low sun caught the distinctive yellow lichen that adorns these cliffs. The tides in this area are both strong and complex and The Sound (between Little Ross and Fox Craig) creates a lively little race in the first two hours of the ebb providing some great surfs on our return trip. That said, the nature of the landings generally, which vary from difficult rocky affairs to lengthy beaches and mud flats, mean the time of HW / LW has had greater significance while planning trips here than the direction of the tidal streams. 
Last light and the boats are pulled above the tide...
...and tents pitched beneath a full moon. It was a cold night for May - ice forming on the tent by midnight.
A bright but again, cold start the next morning...
...which saw us quickly back across the bay to Meggerland Point and then, making use of the high tide, passing behind Meikle Pinnacle...
...and Manxman's Rock in quick succession.
Brian beneath the cliffs of Slack Heugh shortly before passing Fox Craig and entering The Sound where we surfed some lovely waves of around two to three feet before landing for a feed on Little Ross.
The unseasonably cold breeze kept things brief and we pushed on before long, the breeze finally backing into the gentlest of following winds.
We turned Balcary Point once again as the evening sun began to set, landing beneath The Tower and making use of the private road and a trolley to avoid the mudflats.
It is a beautiful coastline and one which offers some gentle paddling as well as excitement in the tides - moderate southerlies or north-westerlies in particular however can create some very different conditions here.
Footnotes:
The route paddled passes through the Kirkcudbright / Abbey Head firing range - before paddling here it is worth calling Range Control: 0141 224 8502

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