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Old 18 August 2016, 07:19   #1
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Doing the Morven Loop

Listening to the radio.. as soon as I heard the predicted arrival of yet another summer heatwave .. I predicted another adventure was about to arrive. Sure enough..my kayaking brother phoned and said he was going to circumnavigate Morven with a few friends.. and was I interested in coming along. Hey..how could I refuse !!

Morven is a remote mainland lump of land in the west of Scotland .. to the north of the Island of Mull . It is surrounded on three and a half sides by the sea. It is rocky and remote.. uncultivated or ever populated by many folks since the ice age glaciers shaped the scenery .. eons ago. its like looking back to an ancient land.. seen by few.



The journey by sea around Morven is around 70 miles.. not a great distance for a petrol head like myself..but as it is a fair push for my paddling pensioner pals .. it was estimated to take three days.

Forecast for day one was light winds .. heavy cloud..some rain .. with occasional bright spells.

Forecast for day two was Force 4-5 winds increasing to Force 6 later .. cloudy start.. turning warm and bright in the afternoon.

Similar for day three.

Because I was expecting some interesting wave conditions on this adventure.. I storm rigged the wee Guppy with a tarpaulin over her rear.. to help keep the sea out the boat ..and my camping gear in.



As there is approx seven miles of road between our launch point and recover point..we set up a car shuttle.. by leaving two cars at the launch point and two cars at the recovery. While cars were put in place.. others readied their kayaks and chatted about adventures.. past and present.



When we started the journey .. it was typical Scottish weather ..which is best described as “Scotch Mist Weather” ..however the steady but slight drizzle of rain.. had no hope of dampening our spirits.



I motored ahead at a good displacement speed. Going fast is not my boating motivator.. I prefer to cruise..searching the coastline for otters..eagles .. dolphins..seals ..or anything else interesting which I find far more satisfying .. than speeding my life away. It also gives the kayakers space to enjoy the peace and quiet of the area.. rather than have the drone of my engine in their ears... so it all works well.



Sometimes I get tired of my engine noise too.. so switch off.. put my feet up.. and soak in this special atmosphere ..while my tireless but silent companions continue to paddle ever onwards.. but seldom upwards.



As we paddled down the long coast line of Loch Linnhe.. things started to brighten..and we all left any troubles or worries we may have had in our lives ..far behind in our home towns.



To be continued ...
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Old 18 August 2016, 08:16   #2
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Good to see another Gunard special.
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Old 18 August 2016, 10:45   #3
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Nice one Gurnard we will be up in Arisaig on Saturday for the week . Hope the weather is kind :thumbup:
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Old 18 August 2016, 13:39   #4
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Nice one Gurnard we will be up in Arisaig on Saturday for the week . Hope the weather is kind :thumbup:
Crossing fingers for you dude. Pity it wasn't this week, its cracking!
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Old 18 August 2016, 14:15   #5
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Crossing fingers for you dude. Pity it wasn't this week, its cracking!
Always the case A1an, there again the West Coast can be full of surprises .... like you say fingers x .😎🍺🍺🍺👍
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Old 18 August 2016, 14:36   #6
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Its good to be back too Two Stroke Mick..my legs are a bit shaky with being in a wee boat all summer..although I cant tell if they are suffering too much rolling motion..or too much gravy. Im home for a day or two too dry out..then I will be off again.

Kerny.. I have heard one or two fellow Scots complain a wee bit about this summer..but I have had a ball year in my boat. A bit of rain or wind wont keep the guppy ashore. Next week looks a good week too..so I may well visit Arisaig Sunday and Monday ? Where will you be re hydrating your bladder in the evening and I will try to visit ?

Maximus is up there then too ?

AIan.. you up for a wee dram Sunday night if all can meet ? Would be good to see what you all look like



Sometimes I let my friends go in front.. and I slowly stalked them like an Orca stalks a salty seal lunch



Other times I watched them paddle past the ancient landscape.. unchanged by human hands.. except perhaps.. for the eradication of ferocious wolves.. many years before our time.



Once my imagination started to weary.. and the paddlers started to dehydrate.. we agreed on a quick lunch stop.. so landed at a suitable bay. No longer had we landed than the only wild beasts left in Scotland.. descended on us in their millions .. the vampire midges were now stalking us for our salty blood.



As I danced my midge war dance..trying to shake the blighters off exposed body parts.. the kayakers laughed at my antics.. as they were fly free in their protective dry suits. Fortunately for me..one of the guys knew the estate owner and had permission to use his old cottage. Inside..we were safe from most midges ..but now had to endure the occasional foray from the many field mice...that live in the establishment.



The kayakers busied themselves with coffee making tasks while I refuelled my outboard. On my return they looked at me and asked ..

“ Gurnard..are you not having a coffee ?”

I was a little surprised when they fell about laughing when I replied

“Naw.. I find it easier opening a tin of Guinness gravy..than faffing about with stoves and hot water for coffee”

As I pulled the ring pull open on my anti dehydration liquid.. I couldn’t help but wonder what the joke was ?

After the fuel stop ..and subsequent draining of my internal tank..it was back on the water..for more adventuring. This time I left the guys a bit behind..as I wanted to take a wee detour.



One of my sea related hobbies is “Loch Bagging” which basically means..I try to sit on my boat in all named sea lochs .. on the west of Scotland. I had not bagged Loch a Choire before .. which is a small sea loch off Loch Linnhe . Im pleased to report ... It is now in my “Bag” list



I drifted in a dream in Loch a Choire ..as I was in no hurry..then when I came round again..I realized the kayakers would be well in front ... so I sped south down Loch Linnhe again.



It was easy to find them ..as they had to have another refuel stop and had landed on a lovely red granite shingle shore.



And this time..I was amused to see they were coming round to my way of thinking. Seems they now found it was far easier breaking open a bottle of Auchentoshan Single Malt whisky than faffing around with stoves and hot water for coffee.



And far tastier too !!!!! This adventure was shaping up nicely.. its always a pure joy to share adventures with like minded friends.

To be continued ...
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Old 18 August 2016, 14:41   #7
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Doing the Morven Loop

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AIan...wee dram....Sunday.
I'm in!
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Old 18 August 2016, 14:55   #8
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Hey.. looks like a small adventure is in the forecast A1an.. lets see where Kerny and the others are planning for a watering hole on Sunday lunch or evening ..I can manage most places as Im not barred out any boozers
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Old 18 August 2016, 14:56   #9
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Yet
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Old 18 August 2016, 15:00   #10
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Only place I got barred from this year was Rona..cost I wouldn't pay for my right to free wild camp.. so my drinking licence is clean for the mainland

But like the weather..its hard to predict what may happen in the coming week
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Old 18 August 2016, 15:33   #11
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If I may I'll offer a small toast to you Gurnard... slightly lighter gravy than your usual but no matter.

Today has been our last boating day of a brilliant fortnight and on our return in a few days I'll chuck up a post of lands visited and natives met.
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Old 18 August 2016, 16:00   #12
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Cheers to you too Fenlander ..and pass my best wishes onto your family

It was a pleasure meeting up with you all on Saturday..even though it was a land visit and not a sea adventure..but next time.. Im sure we will get the boats out together. It was Gala day so we didn’t interfere by using the slip.



Glad you saw the odd beaver too ..I didnt see one this time around..perhaps next time

I slept under the bridge at Loch Crearan that evening..and awoke to this view..before meeting the guys on this Morven Shuffle.

Its a hard life being a full time adventurer



And I look forward to reading of your holiday adventure

Safe journey home
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Old 18 August 2016, 16:22   #13
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Ah David I left you some good weather. I hope your pics have me in them. It was lovely to meet up and remember give me a bell early if you want the Barn as it is well used.
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Old 19 August 2016, 03:24   #14
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Gunard I was beginning to worry that the antifreeze would not make a show on this trip
Tsm
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Old 19 August 2016, 03:39   #15
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Cheers Jambo... yes we were left some of the best days of the last two weeks... idyllic yesterday in light winds and sun. Packing day today in the odd shower... and a final blowout lunch in the cafe that has served us well.
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Old 19 August 2016, 03:55   #16
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Hi again Two Stroke Mick.. I find the fresh sea salt air gives me a raging thirst. And because I knew we would encounter Force 6 conditions in the sound of Mull the following day .. I had to carry a lot of ballast in my booze box bar.. which helps keep the nose of the guppy down in a decent size chop. The wee Arran whisky samples didnt quench anyones thirst..but they did whet our appetite for the real deal..and were in fact .. a very tasty mouth wash



My outboard used less that £20 of petrol on this adventure .. but I dread to think what we all guzzled on internal fuel ..but hey..that’s the price we have to pay to go adventuring

Next installment..coming shortly
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Old 19 August 2016, 04:51   #17
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Kerny.. Next week looks a good week too..so I may well visit Arisaig Sunday and Monday ? Where will you be re hydrating your bladder in the evening and I will try to visit ?

Maximus is up there then too ?

AIan.. you up for a wee dram Sunday night if all can meet ? Would be good to see what you all look like
...

Sounds like a plan Gurnard P.M. Sent
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Old 19 August 2016, 05:02   #18
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I'm in!
Nice one A1an :thumbup:
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Old 19 August 2016, 06:16   #19
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Replied to your PM Kerny..will PM A1an too shortly :-D


Suitably refreshed ..and back on the water again.. we soon came to the only “Blot on the Landscape” on this remote area. Glensanda granite quarry is slowly but surely eating into the mountain of Meall na h Easaiche. It ships 6,000,000 tonnes of granite chips across the world..per year.



There is no road access ..so only boats can get here. ..and the boats are huge .. as this photo of The Guppy meeting the Yeoman Bridge illustrates.



Its a sobering sight seeing such a big ship ... so I made sure there were many mooring lines holding her down..before approaching so close. I fear it would be like a small midge slapped by a human hand ..if she started to move. However..I almost failed to see one line holding her in position..until the guy on the ship yelled.. “hey ..watch for my line will ya !! “



It took till early evening .. paddling down Loch Linnhe.. round the Rubha an Ridire point ..into the start sound of Mull ...



Where a local lad was waiting to show us another old estate cottage that we could shelter in for the night.



It too was full of mice..and I suspect the odd rat ... so we pitched our tents in the garden.. thinking it better sleeping with a midge than a full sized rodent



The old crofters were obviously as frugal with their money as I am..so I appreciated their DIY Fishbox furniture



And large pieces of planks ..obviously washed ashore



The midges outside were murder..so we had no problem feeding the rats..and ourselves by cooking supper in the cottage. The food was washed down with man sized mugs of various flavoured whisky .. and tins of delicious gravy



There is no electricity or running water in the cottage..but we sat until the early hours of the morning.. babbling happily .. by the light of the fire.. candles and head torch light



Eventually .. the gravy finally put my lights out ..so I retired to the tent and slept soundly till morning.

To be continued ...
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Old 19 August 2016, 08:05   #20
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Cheers Jambo... yes we were left some of the best days of the last two weeks... idyllic yesterday in light winds and sun. Packing day today in the odd shower... and a final blowout lunch in the cafe that has served us well.
Glad you got out before the squall. safe journey and keep in touch. atb J
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