Monday, April 23, 2012

Flamborough Head

I arrived at the pretty village Flamborogh at around teatime on Friday. There had been a few showers but the clouds were moving out to sea. With early evening sunshine casting a golden light, I couldn't resist the temptation of taking a couple of photos of the lighthouses before meeting the gang at the Grange Campsite.

The next morning we set off for the nearby seaside town of Filey. The bay is protected from the heavy seas of the north by a low rock headland called Filey Brigg. We set off to the 'Brigg End' to see what fun could be had there. As soon as we began playing in the swell among the rocks, the weather came in pelting us with heavy rain and hail.

This was our cue to head south across the bay towards the chalk cliffs of Speeton and Bempton. These cliffs rise to an imposing 135 metres vertically from the sea and play host to the largest mainland Gannet colony in Europe.

Following lunch some of us took in a little surfing before heading off around the most exposed part of this amazing headland.

Fom South Landing to Breil Nook the seas were heavy and confused with swell bouncing back off the vertical cliffs.

As we paddled on towards the most easterly point, the seas relented and we got excellent views of the lighthouse across Selwicks Bay leaving only a few more kilometres to our final destination of South Landing.

On Sunday there was little energy left for a big day out so we took a short trip from South Landing through sunshine and showers with the aim of having tea and biscuits at the beach cafe at Bridlington.

Many thanks to Ken Oliver and Fiona Dubber from 1st Wet and Wild for their hospitality and to the rest of the gang for their company.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paddling the mists of Knoydart

The Easter weekend brought Kirstine and I to meet up with some of the gang, with whom we will be paddling in Greenland later this year. The journey from Manchester was hardly encouraging. We battled high winds and frequent showers of sleet until we found some improvement north of the Scottish border by teatime, we arrived at the beautifully situated Silversands Campsite just north of Arisaig where crystal skies gave way to a dazzling sunset.

The next morning we set off into a cold and murky morning. After stopping at Mallaig for a few last minute supplies we set about finding a legendary bunkhouse nestled deep in a sheltered inlet along the shores of Loch Nevis. It is a basic set up in an old chapel. There is coal fired range, basic lighting as well as hot and cold running water. The building retains its old charm whilst adorned with postcards from well-traveled past visitors. The proprietor is called Frank who now in his mid-eighties has been living there for more than 25 years. He plays accordion and tells stories and rude jokes but also accepts assistance in entertainment from his electric singing moose head.

Having spent the night at the bunkhouse, the Sandaig Islands made famous by Gavin Maxwell and his love of otters, would be next on our tour. The weather remained poor with mostly mist and drizzle and to cap it all, a cripplingly chilly headwind.

However, just as we arrived the wind dropped and the skies cleared.

Late afternoon sunshine drenched this idyllic and historic scene.

Following a moonlit night, the mists and rain returned in the morning. We paddled south and made for Inverie for beer and hot food and music at The Old Forge. In the morning we struck camp early. We were fully equipped with sore heads and weary limbs in readiness for a hard paddle into a stiff headwind.

The stretch from Mallaig back to Silversands was especially tough into rough seas and squalls of force 4-6. Having landed safely, we found fish and chips plentiful scalding hot tea in a warm cafe.