Islay Sea and Surf Kayaking Weekend August 2017

Allegedly, Misha had suggested to Graham a couple of days paddling on Islay. Ever enthusiastic, Graham’s response led to the pair of them organising and leading a full-on club trip to the island. Thus, on the evening of Friday 4th August, a number of club members and their vehicles joined the queue at Kennacraig ferry terminal on West Loch Tarbert to board the 6pm sailing to Port Askaig on Islay. After a two hour crossing that included a meal on board we disembarked for a quick drive across the island to the scenic Machir bay on the west coast where wild camping behind the sand dunes had been proposed as our luxury accommodation for the weekend. On arriving in the Bay we were met by the advance party consisting of Pat, Graham and the Starship Enterprise, aka Pat’s motorhome, who’d all caught the earlier ferry to Port Ellen on the south of the island. After pitching tents, a camp fire...
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Beginners Trip – Loch Lubnaig – Sunday 7th May

The weather has been glorious over the last few days and that was no exception this Sunday when Sandy, Paul, Alison,  Ellen, Jim, Connor, Paul, David, Clive, me (Geri) and Matthew met at the Miller Street container for what looked like a positive start to the day.    It was a fairly straight forward drive up to the Loch although it was fairly clear that traffic might be an issue at some point in the day.  Significantly smaller than the major lakes of the area, but easily accessible along the A84, Loch Lubnaig is popular with picnicker, walkers and cyclists.  There are two car parks providing easy access to the southern end of the loch, both close to pleasant beaches.   A parking fee applied of £4 for the day but the new pound coin didn’t work, neither apparently did a card, so for some, parking was free. In all we were 11 paddlers (with two junior kayakers joining us).  It was the...
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Foundation Safety and Rescue Training – Only one place left!

This course is free to club members (apart from certificate fee) who are volunteering as rescue kayakers at the Great Scottish Swim on Saturday 26 August 2017. Otherwise the fee for club members for this course is £30. This course is the British Canoe Union Safety course that all other safety courses are built on and is often a prerequisite for future development. The next course will take place on Loch Lomond on Sunday 13 August 2017. There is only one place left on this course. This course is designed for all paddlers irrespective of craft. The objective is to teach simple and safe skills that can be applied appropriately across a variety of paddlesport craft including kayaks and canoes.  These skills will then form the basis of all safety and rescue training throughout the BCU Scheme. The course aims to provide the student with the key safety and rescue skills required to operate safely in a sheltered water environment and to be able to deal...
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Firth of Forth Sea Kayak Training – 11th February 2017

Another Saturday morning where I’m up at the crack of dawn to pack up all my paddling gear and get my boat sorted. A quick pit-stop at the petrol station – the car is fuelled and I have the morning coffee in hand. As I’m driving through to Port Edgar Marina, South Queensferry I’m hit with rain…..howling winds…..heavier rain…..and then sleet. Then I think about Rab’s prediction of force 5-7 winds and that familiar thought pops into my head, why am I doing this again!?!?! When I arrive at Port Edgar the rain is off and Rab puts a smile all our faces by announcing the first task of the day is to have a brew and a warm breakfast. We then spent the next hour or so talking through the process for planning a trip and discussing the things we’d need to consider. I think we also challenged Rab to keep us all on point, it’s amazing how many things...
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Trip report 4 star sea assessment, April 2016

Sandy, Tony and Graham headed off to the Northumberland Coast for 4 star sea kayak assessment. The four star leader assessment checks that we have the personal skill level and leadership ability required to lead a group of paddlers, on short (6 to 8 miles, of at least 3 hours paddling), single or multi-day journeys in a moderate tidal water environment with winds not exceeding Beaufort Force 4. Sounds fine but what is moderate tidal water? A stretch of coastline with available landings every 1 to 2 miles or 1 hour paddling, including areas where it is not easy to land. Crossings not exceeding 2 nautical miles. Up to 2 knots of tide (but not involving tide races or overfalls). Winds not exceeding Beaufort Force 4. Launching and landing through surf (up to 1 metre, trough to crest height). That sounded fine too , we had done the training, practiced in the pool, paddled on sea trips (and river trips), and prepared or borrowed the kit needed...
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Finland Trip. May 2015

Trip report Finland. Arriving in Helsinki we were met by Eeva, Joachim and baby J who held aloft a paddle bearing a Scottish saltire to grab out attention. From our mini bus driven by Joachim we could see ten kayaks on a trailer being towed by Eeva who just for this trip sat and passed her trailer test, ( well done Eeva) we were now on our way to Cape Ally for our first taste of Finland. The Mokki was magnificent in the surrounding scenery too, on our first trip we set off enthusiastically in our new boats at a fair pace and in no time at all : / with help from the force five wind we landed on Seili. In the 16/17 hundreds it was used as a final resting place for people with leprosy and later a woman's mental institute and now owned by a University as a research facility. We met a group of visitors from...
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Firth of Clyde Four Star Training

An intrepid team of Lori, Antje, Colin, Misha, Graham and Tony met early on the Saturday after the club ceilidh the night before, ready for a weekend's paddling and learning with Calum McKerral, the coach for the weekend.  The four star course was partly subsidised by the West Dumbartonshire Sports Council grant we had received to help develop the clubs trip leading skills and a £25 contribution from the attendees was the contribution cost of the 2 days coaching. First things first - an equipment check...maps? - only 3 of us had brought some, compasses - only 2 of us;   - fortunately Calum had brought spares.  Next a planning check - who knew the high and low water times... just Lori, Antje (who had copied Lori's answers) and Tony. Finally a dry suit check - everyone but graham who had 90% of a dry suit - one foot missing but craftily sealed with electrical tape. During the Saturday we practiced / learnt .... towing...
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Lismore Weekend Trip Report

Lismore, Saturday 6th – Sunday 7th September, 2014 Rose, Andy, Michael, Misha, Graham, Ian, Allan & Colin met at the long lay-by off the A828 at Appin, across from the Island of Shuna,. Port Appin, although closer to Lismore, was too busy for parking. Weather forecasts had been for force 3 winds from the north-west both days, with bright weather each day but the very odd shower on the Saturday. The plan for this Grade B trip was to circumnavigate Lismore, with a wild camp on the Saturday night. We would circumnavigate the island in an anti-clockwise direction, paddling down the west coast of the island on the Saturday, camping at the south of the island near the lighthouse, then paddling back on the Sunday up the east coast. By doing this we would be able to pass through the tidal channels at Bernera Island and Rubha Fiart, at high water and, most importantly in the case of Rubha Fiart, at slack water....
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3 star sea assessment

I am trying to arrange this for Sat 20/09/14 when there should be six places available at a cost of  around £30 per head. If interested let me know on sandy.johnston@sky.com If there are enough people interested then we can book a second assessment day..................... Sandy...
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Largs Trip

Great paddle from Largs around the Cumbrie’s in very interesting water to say the least! With the wind in our faces and a oncoming tide it proved to be a battle of wits to get to the castle ! after having lunch we headed back out into a game of two half’s! Flat calm water and sweltering sunshine that made us quickly forget the bouncy sea beforehand. I did get to pop up my new sail but with not enough wind to blowout my maiden voyage birthday candles I will just need to wait for a better day!...
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The Shiants Shan’t be Once Again

We set out to cross the Minch via the rat infested islands of the Shiants.  There's not many people I know can cook up a plan like this but Rab is definitely one of them! Julia, Rab, Paul Cromey and myself left for the north of Skye on a Thursday evening.  Having planned to drive up with Paul, I had to rethink  when I couldn't get him on the phone.  I ended up driving up on my own - perhaps a saving grace in retrospect.  After Fort William I let a ambulance overtake, and when it turned towards Kyle of Lochalsh onto the A87 I started to hope it wasn't anything to do with Paul, who was most likely ahead on that very same road. It's a fast road with few cars.  It was just over the lip of a hill that I found a swarm of blue lights, and right at the center, confirming my worse fears, a mangled car with a...
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Ayrshire Coast Trip Report

The planned route was to paddle from Ballantrae in South Ayrshire, down to Portandea, then back. The weather forecast was easterly winds averaging 15mph, gradually moving to being from the south later in the afternoon. This suited the location perfectly as this stretch of coastline is very high, providing shelter from any easterly winds, then providing some assistance on the return leg north from Portandea back to Ballantrae. Andrew, Michael & Colin set off from Ballantrae Harbour, heading south across Ballantrae Bay to reach the more dramatic rocky coastline beyond. Conditions were perfect with a gentle swell from the west but not breaking on the coastline. Rain had been forecast for the afternoon but materialised as drizzly showers throughout the day. The coast consists of small coves and deep crevices in the rock. As the swell was so light we could get in close, allowing plenty of exploring. We turned into Portandea which is a small south-west facing bay with...
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Skye Sea Trip

Skye Sea Trip 7 club sea kayakers braved the waters of the Isle of Skye 21-23 March (going out like Lion!). Unable to paddle the planned locations we still managed 2 great if slightly challenging paddles. We abandoned camping and enjoyed the facilities of the Carbost Bunkhouse and Inn! Many thanks to Colin for organizing the trip and ensuring we all survived! ...
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