The Knoydart peninsula on Scotland’s West Coast is only accessible by water or foot and it is this remoteness that lures people to explore. I’ve been once before and it was a washout; the kind that Gortex/Event stands no chance and you wonder why you live in such a climate. That time we arrived by boat and sought refuge in the bunkhouse. This time we were paddling and camping.
I was a little nervous in the days beforehand as the forecast wasn’t looking too promising and we had two inexperienced paddlers with us.
We set off from Mallaig full of excitement with being self sufficient for the trip. As we crept out of the sheltered harbour and headed East along the coast we were into a F3 headwind. It wasn’t the brightest of days but we still had fine views over to Rum, Eigg and Skye. We stopped off at a pebble beach for some lunch and a surprise Colin the Caterpiller cake, complete with candles, was produced for my birthday. I’ve no idea how it managed to be discretely packed into the kayak!
We decided to continue along the north coast and take the shortest open crossing directly north to the east side of Rubha Raonuill on the Knoydart peninsula. The wind was picking up as we started the crossing and the group split to accommodate weary arms with two taking the direct north east route towards Inverie. It was a great feeling when we arrived in front of the Old Forge Inn and some well deserved beers were ordered!
We set up camp on Long Beach, had the customary ‘dip’ as a special birthday treat and headed (by foot) back to the pub for some tasty seafood. The campsite has a new compost toilet which generated a lot of discussion working out the intricacies of the separate peeing instructions for males/females (due to differences in the direction of pee hitting the toilet). All very fascinating so check it out if you go!
The next day we woke to amazing weather. After getting the stoves on the go for brekkie we took a meander up A Chruach (395m) and had incredible views of the Islands and surrounding hills. If I’m struggling for my hill challenge this year, it may get added to the list.
None of us wanted to leave and we took advantage of the sun while waiting for the tide to come in a bit to avoid a long carry of the boats but it got to the point where we reluctantly had to make a move.
The paddle back to Mallaig was incredible. For a large part the water was like glass and we even had a wee porpoise join us for a bit. We landed on a beach and Andy cooked up some mussels he’d collected earlier. I have a bit of a shell fish phobia but managed to eat a couple.
We made it back to Mallaig in good time and pretty chuffed with ourselves for being self powered.
Definitely need to try and squeeze in some more sea kayak adventures asap.