Isla - Oronsay - Colonsay - Jura - part 3

The winds of the previous night had dropped completely and our third day dawned clear and still, the sun hot enough to drive us out of stifling tents a touch too early for my liking. Midges hovered, as though undecided - their decision made soon enough as the cool morning air quickly warmed, the strong sun not to their liking. It was not a day to be rushed.
Walking up onto the headland, I looked down on our camp and on, into the lengths of the Sound of Islay. Later that morning two other kayakers landed, having camped the night before, along with two other parties at Shian Bay - no less than 15 paddlers had stayed there that night and I was pleased we had pushed on.
Orchids littered the headland from which I walked out onto the wide expanse of the raised beaches and then down, along the loch...
...the tide had dropped sufficiently to head back along the sands and in the shallow waters a mass of sandeels slipped by, gently surging in and out with the tiny waves that washed ashore.
Soon enough we were on the water ourselves - heading east, to explore the inner reaches of Loch Tarbet.
It is an awe inspiring place - the scale of it impossible to grasp from a picture. Giant sweeps of shingle and boulders carve down to the sea above brilliant white sands and emerald water. The Paps of Jura tower above and slowly the loch narrows, seals crowding the skerries that give access to the upper reaches of Loch Tarbet.
Almost 9km from the open sea, a narrow channel turns through a small ravine broadening suddenly into the shallows of the upper loch - just 2km from the east coast of Jura. It is a remarkable feature and well worth a day of lazy exploration.
Heading 'home' - we followed the shoreline, passing between skerries...
...and over white sands, to land on this immaculate beach.
No more than 2km from our camp, we still could not resist stopping once more and simply sitting awhile, absorbing the scene.
With the last of the flooding tide we returned to camp - perhaps the closest I have ever been able to land to the tent.
Later, we walked back up onto the hills above...
...and returned to the giant raised beaches - Tim heads down the steeply shelving 'beach', putting some scale to the scene.
We stayed put awhile, waiting and watching as the sun set...
...before climbing a little higher to enjoy the panorama.
It had been an easy day of relaxed exploration but the morning would bring an early start - the tides would be running strongly in the sound of Islay, but with 17km to paddle to reach Port Askaig and a 9.45am ferry to catch there was little chance of a lie in. 
Watching through the  meshed vents, I fell asleep just as the brilliant hue of the skies darkened above Colonsay.

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