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Old 31 May 2014, 03:42   #1
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A Sibbing Sunset with the Gurnard

Now that I have my SIB in the water again, for another summer season off the West Coast of Scotland, I thought I would celebrate with a wild camp on one of my favourite beaches.

Not a single soul to disturb my wild camp experience ... even the midges left me alone. Every picture is worth a thousand words of my rambling.



http://s30.postimg.org/4omivyyw1/sunset_2.jpg







Then it was gone ... did I over do the Arran Sunset Beer and imagine it all ?




Not at all.. my photos showed me it was for real... and for a hair of the dog.. here is a photo of the morning after



This is only a taste of my two day adventure.

If there was an interest ..I could easily share the rest of the journey with you, but you have to supply your own tipple.
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Old 31 May 2014, 05:02   #2
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Thanks for looking in guys.. ...its appreciated

And like all pub bores .... I would probably tell you about my adventure.... where there was an interest or not. But first I have to go help my daughter fit a new kitchen.

Hi JamesF... I have hardrives overflowing with photos and don’t print any..but it wasn’t the best sunset I have seen. This was.. two years ago... just up from Arisaig ... so not far from the same spot








I will tell about my journey shortly.. so stay on the same channel.. and remember .. emergency is channel 16
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Old 31 May 2014, 13:24   #3
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My mini adventure started at Loch Ailort on Thursday, but had been in the planning for a while.

Before going to sea in a SIB, I need to know the weather forecast for wind strength and direction, the times of the tides, and what strong currents or tide races may be encountered on my journey.

The weather forecast was looking good.. not gusty winds.. slightly variable though..and a moderate to calm sea..perfect for me.

Tides were great for wild camping. High tide on Thursday evening as around 7pm. This meant I could beach the boat around 9pm.. it would then stay put on the sand until I was ready to leave again around 6am to 7am when the incoming tide would refloat me. The only problem I had with the tide times was I knew it would be hard work launching at low tide during early Thursday afternoon..but I knew I could work round that part

Admiralty charts of the area I was around showed nothing to worry about regarding strong currents.

I was good to go.

Arriving at Loch Ailort.. I discovered around half a dozen kayakers messing around on the old public slipway so decided to beach launch a little further down the loch. I also felt it was safer to abandon my car at this point rather than at the slipway. I often camp overnight beside this road and never had any trouble in the past. I towed the trailered SIB onto the foreshore with the four wheel drive.



The trailer and SIB combined ... are too heavy for me to manhandle across the 100m or so of rocky shore at low tide ... but by pulling the SIB off the trailer onto inflatable boat rollers ... it was a doddle to get it into the water.

I hauled the 25hp outboard on a sack trolley. Notice the way I keep the outboard mounting brackets away from the sack trolley. The trolley and outboard go into a foot deep water... then I just pull the floating SIB backwards into the outboard mounting brackets. When ready, weight on the transom pushes the SIB below the brackets and then floats up inside them. It means I never lift the full 52kg weight of the outboard at any time.



Loch Ailort was still very shallow when I left shore. My fish finder... which has never found me a fish in its life ... is very good at telling the depth. It was around 5ft to 6ft at this part of the loch ... so I kept the SIB at displacement speed. I didn’t want to whack the prop off a rock at planning speed.



Once I was half way down the loch and the depth levelled off around 20ft... I happily put her on the plane, headed for the gap between the two islands that mark the end of the loch and the start of the open sea. The island of Egg looked very inviting ..far beyond the islands of loch Ailort.



Once I was out the shelter of the loch... I found the sea was a little bouncy ... so I was glad I wasn’t going to Egg. Instead I turned left ... or should that be port ..and headed down the coastline. I kept switching between fast displacement speed and plane speed to prevent the SIB shaking itself to bits on the chop.



I was heading for a remote, sandy point that I know. Its an ideal camping spot and a great base for my adventure for the following morning.



It didn’t take me long to do the nine miles to the sandy point. One side of the point points north and had the swell breaking on it, so I landed on the sheltered southern side. I was delighted to find I had the place to myself. I felt the stress of working life leave as I stepped ashore and looked around. Its been two years since I last put foot on these sands.



I can be a wordy bugger when I start telling my adventures..so look back later I will tell a little more of my story.

Until then..here is a few words from Sea Fever


I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
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Old 01 June 2014, 12:29   #4
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Hi again guys..been a busy day for me today..so a bit late in updating my adventure.

I had just landed on the perfect deserted beach.and had a quick look round. Its a small point.. surrounded by sea on three sides, and backed with cliffs on the landward side. There are fantastic views over to the islands of Egg Rum and Muck



I pitched my Tesco Value Tent on the grass verge surrounding the sandy shore



While keeping an eye on my SIB. I didn’t want it to get stranded in the falling tide just yes.



Because I was now getting hungry and wanted some dinner... so took the SIB for a spot of fishing on the reefs not far from my campsite



However I only caught a couple of small saithe which I threw back. No good for dinner or even bait for other fish



Starving and fishless I looked back to my deserted beach and tent, nestled below the imposing cliffs and decided to land again



To break open the emergency rations of... best Aberdeen Angus Beefburgers ..followed by Strawberries for dessert



Yup... It can be a hard life living on a desert Island

I then built my campfire. I don’t use stone rings with my wild camp fires because I see no purpose for them... and hate seeing others leaving rings from campfires.

I build the fire on the sand and bring good wood for burning with me ... so when its finished... there is very little ash. Then it is scooped up in a bucket and left below high water line... so the tide removes all trace of my being there. I just wish others would do the same....

Take only photos and leave only footprints.



I then settled down for the evening with a few beers and enjoyed the sunset shown in my first post

I will tell of my next day part of this adventure tomorrow. In it, I disappear up the back passage into Loch Moidart... so do return to see what that is all about. Thanks for reading this far.
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Old 02 June 2014, 13:27   #5
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Perhaps it was the deafening silence in the still of the night, broken only by the weird wail of distant seals, or the quiet thump of the vampire rabbits as they bounced outside the thin walls of my Tesco tent ...but I confess ... I had a restless sleep.

I had visions of orcs and goblins dropping boulders on my passing boat, from the cliffs surrounding the narrow north channel that leads to the very heart of Moidart itself. My imagination can sometimes work overtime when alone in the middle of nowhere.

I got up at first light and was relieved to see my SIB had not been torn to shreds by the evils of darkness. It was high and dry on the sand.. as planned ...waiting for the tide to re float her.



Looking to the north, over a mirror flat sea, the pastel pink sky still hung over the Cuillin of Skye.



While paradise was invaded.. not by vampire rabbits.. but the dreaded blood sucking midges. I quickly dismantled my tent, had a rushed breakfast, loaded the boat and was back on the water as soon as the incoming tide allowed.

I knew the north passage could be risky at this time of the tide... so used my auxiliary engine instead of the main engine. It is always good to make sure it is working and I certainly couldn’t plane through the north channel. It is only passable during the last hour or so of high tide. Lurking rocks will soon eat the bottom out an unwary boatman’s vessel..and that I knew was not my imagination.



Soon the entrance to the channel loomed in front of me ...



The channel starts to narrow ...



And my fish finder reads two foot of water under the transducer.. but I can see rocks only six inches under the prop.



A glance to starboard.. or should that be the right hand side..I saw the first signs of human habitation since I left Loch Ailort. It is the old school house on the Island of Eilean Shona which forms the south side of the north channel... while mainland Moidart forms the north side.. if that makes sense ?



I breathed a sigh of relief as the fishfinder suddenly showed 60 feet of water and I no longer saw rocks beside my rotating prop. The channel started to widen again.



But I knew my relief would be short lived. The passage narrows again and the water was two foot deep at the ford. This is where the main road..in fact..the only road .. on Eilean Shona.. crosses from the mainland. Of course you can only drive across at mid to low tide.



Once across this last obstacle .. I could then relax and enjoy the scenery of Loch Moidart itself.



My next part of the adventure will tell of Castles in the air and singing sands.. so do come back for that.


Thanks for looking in Lockirboi, beerbelly, gennaro, and SteveHall. Its appreciated.

A1an ...yup..Im guilty as charged. I passed on Friday evening. You had the advantage of seeing the SIB. .I guess I didn’t notice you.. but will look out the next time I pass there.
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Old 02 June 2014, 16:13   #6
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Hi SIBer
I use several cameras including DSLR’s, but find for this size on web pages.. one camera is much the same as the next. Its not till you blow up to poster size that the DSLR comes into its own. On this adventure..I had two point and shoots. One as a backup in case the other ran out of battery or card space. I just used whichever came out my pocket first

Example..from my campsite fishing trip..this is from the Panasonic Lumix TZ40 compact point and shoot. I like this camera once I found out how to turn all the automatic stuff off. It gives nice vivid colours. Think it sells for around £200 now


This is from my Canon SX240. Its a lovely sharp lens..better than the TZ40 for a lot of things. It has a good range between darks and highlights too. Possibly marginally better than the TZ40 Its around £100 now



This is a view of Loch Ailort looking towards Arisaig and Skye from the mountain Rois Bheinn. I clambered up it two weeks ago. Its taken with a DSLR setup costing almost 2K ... its not worth that money for this size of image.. but blow it up and it blows the compacts clean out to sea .



Hope that answers your question.


Gennaro..the water is even calmer in the next episode..the reflections are stunning.

Kerney..I realised I was never going to be a millionaire a few years ago. I was making my employers lots of money though. Then a couple of years ago, the penny dropped..I don’t need much money..my family have all gone. I now work three days a week and spend five days in the great outdoors, wandering over the mountains and seas of Scotland in search of peace and quiet. Guess you couls say that Im in the promised land.

Petethebass.. glad that catch didn’t get away..hope the bass are still biting down your way too.

Festinghouse..glad you are enjoying reading it..I enjoy writing it.
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Old 02 June 2014, 17:14   #7
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Hi Shinyshoe
For that answer... you will need to come behind the scenes of “The Gurnard”


It is why I made this console. The camera gear is kept in the shelter of the shelf above the fish finder. I even have a drawer above that.



Ok..its not 100% waterproof..but my view of cameras..even expensive ones.. you get the best photos where the action is..not indoors out of harms way. As you say..you wont use it if its not accessible.

I did loose a £600 DLSR body in this sib though. A wave broke over the back of the boat when I landed again..not long after taking this shot. It is the last photo that camera ever took.



I also lost a decent camera body out on the hills in a downpour in Glen Shiel. Unknown to me ..my rucksack wasn’t closed properly..and half filled with water..the rain was that heavy. Again..this is the last photo that camera took.



Hey..one day..even I will take my last photo..I do hope its a good one.

Thanks Poly..I will have a look at their site once I find out how to see face book stuff. Im not on facebook.
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Old 03 June 2014, 07:23   #8
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Moidart is not as dark a land as its name may suggest. The sea loch is very scenic and reminds me more of a fresh water loch. The trees come right down to the water’s edge and even the rocky islands are covered in trees.



It is a popular mooring spot for touring sail boats



As they jostle for position under the old ruins of Tioram Castle. I wondered if my world had turned upside down when I first saw the castle



The sail sailors don’t have it all to themselves though.. a couple of Ribs were tied up on the small landing jetty of Eilean Shona.



I had been puttering around the loch at slow tick over speed, as I respect the fact that others like their wilderness experience in peace and quiet too. But once past all habitation... I put my boat on the plane. I felt like a hooligan as I slashed a long white trail across such a sleepy seascape.



I was now heading down the main south channel and back towards open sea.



At the entrance to the sea, I once again turned to port and headed for the small port of Ardtoe. It has a small slipway onto sand..and an honesty box in a field where you can park if you leave 50 pence in the box. For an overnight park...it is £1. I didn’t land here though....



It looked too busy for me..so I landed at the singing sands ofCamas an Lighe instead. The exceptionally fine sand really does sing.. or squeeek as you walk on it. I had morning breakfast on the shore as I tried to play “Wonderful World” on the sand. If there had been anyone in hearing distance..Im sure I would have passed as a singing seal in heat.



After my performance .. I looked across the open sea toward Arisaig. That was going to be my next port of call..it has one of the biggest seal colonies in the UK..another must see. I will post about it tomorrow.



My journey across the seven miles of smooth silvery sea was unbelievably ... calming. This is the same stretch of water I passed through with my brother in his kayak in the photos above.

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Old 04 June 2014, 11:26   #9
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After the exhilaration of a speedy super smooth crossing of the sound of Arisaig.. I felt it was time for a second breakfast and leg stretch, so landed in the beautiful sandy bay of Port nam Murrach



Before rounding the headland into Loch nan Ceall.



Whose entrance is guarded by the skerries of Arisaig. The skerries are reefs of rock..almost invisible at high tide.. but an absolute wonderland at low tide. IMHO.. it is the best part of all of Scotland to explore by boat at high tide and by foot at low tide. I had arrived at high tide so there was not too much to see.



Except seals.. that are everywhere you turn







Then at low tide.. everything looks completely different. I didn’t wait for low tide on this trip..but these are from the last time I visited at low tide.









When I took a tub of salt with me to collect some spoots for dinner. Never heard of spoots ?
If you like oysters.. you will like spoots ... here is a video someone put on U Tube of catching them..enjoy...

Tomorrow..I will post the last part of my adventure ..looking for lost French Gold in the islands of Loch nan Uamh... and a vitrified fortress ..even older than myself.


Thanks again for reading this far.
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Old 05 June 2014, 14:48   #10
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To finish off the report on my mini adventure, I left the skerries of Arisaig and went exploring the islands in Loch Nan Uamh.

It was at this loch ... in 1746 ... that Bonnie Prince Charlie left Scotland on the frigate L’Heureux, for safe refuge in France, after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden ... which was the last battle fought between the English and the Scots.

It is rumoured that Spanish gold which was to fund the Jacobite rebellion, was hidden in this area and has never been found. Needless to say ... I have searched all the islands in the hope of finding it ... as Im sure many before me have too... but I have not even found a lost £1 coin.

On this visit ... I didn’t land on the islands ... but drifted past with my fishing lures in the water. I didn’t even catch a fish ...never mind find a fortune.



Great care has to be taken when cruising in the area as there are many dangerous rocks submerged just below the surface. While I was passing this island at displacement speed, the fish finder was reading 30 foot of water. Suddenly it read one foot of water !! I looked over the side and narrowly missed a rock tower that rose straight from the depths below.



Then the sun came out and the wind dropped causing the sea to turn like a millpond.



So although I found no hidden gold ... I do treasure those moments.

All to soon I was back at the entrance to Loch Ailort, which is guarded by one of the largest islands in the area called Eilean nan Gobhar. (Goat Island) The tide was full out ... so I knew I had a few hours to kill before I could recover the boat and head for home so I landed on this island.



And clambered up to its highest point to admire the fine view into Loch Ailort ...



And look at the remains of the stone age vitrified fort that was built on this Island. A vitrified fort is one where huge fires were set alight around the walls to melt the stones together for greater strength. The heat required must have been tremendous. You can see part of the remains of the wall in this photograph.



This is a close up of the stones that melted and bonded the walls together.



All this history and fresh sea air ... tired me out ... so I then lay down on the grass and fell asleep until it was time to go home.

For anyone who may be interested in seeing where all these places are ... here is a small map showing the course I took. A total of 50 miles. Sorry there is not an “ X marks the spot” for the lost gold L



Many thanks for reading my rambled prose and looking at my photographs.

Thanks again to all who stopped by and commented, it was appreciated, and I hope you all have many great journeys and adventures in your own vessels..



Happy Boating... and best regards .. from The Gurnard


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