The best weather for going through the Pentland Firth was Wednesday, but the tides meant either a very early start or a very late arrival – I opted for the latter.
The calm weather and my passing through very early in the flood meant the conditions were very calm – nothing like everyone had warned me about.
I paddled under incredible looking cliffs as the sun set, and arrived at Sinclair’s Bay just add the last of the light was fading from the sky.
Dawn at Sinclair's Bay
Yesterday, I took a day of to rest after rushing across the north coast. It wasn’t totally relaxing though, as there wasn’t enough beach and the tide came within less than 6 feet of my tent. Time to start the long paddle south.
Sunrise at Durness
Yesterday, the offshore wind that had been howling through Durness finally stopped and I was able to paddle again. Despite trying to be careful, this trip seems very hard on kit, and I’d spent a lot of time at Durness sewing, soldering, glueing and tinkering with various things that had broken recently.
Conditions were calm and I enjoyed paddling past more impressive coastline, stopping at Armadale Bay – going to sleep while some a couple of surfers caught some waves at dusk.
Sunset at Armadale Bay
Today, there was a bit of swell, but light winds. I had to have quite an early start to get round Strathy Point, but the Taran was surfing down some waves nicely as I went past.
Approaching Strathy Point
Conditions were quite lively in places as I approached Thurso, and this is a calm day ! Some huge caves and stacks on this bit coast.
Just as I was coming in to land at Dunnet Bay, disaster struck – my paddle shaft broke for no particular reason (although I had noticed a crack in the ‘shrink wrap’ on the shaft yesterday, so maybe it was on the cards).
I’ve bodged a repair using gorilla tape and a piece of plastic tube found on the beach as a sleeve. It feels pretty strong, but the shaft diameter is now much too big. Emergency use only – I’ll be using my Werners until I can find a replacement. I really like the kinetic wings. If anyone knows who might still stock some of the old type of Lendal shafts, please let me know.
Thanks very much for the recent donations taking the total into four figures – including the anonymous one with the cryptic Alice in Wonderland message !
The beach at Camas Mor
It’s been hard to find a signal, so I haven’t updated this for a while.
I’ve covered some distance to try and make good use of the settled weather.
After Camas Mor beach, I paddled in more calm weather past Greenstone Point, and on past the outside of the Summer Isles.
The Summer Isles
It looked sunny on the Summer Isles, but rainy further inshore. I continued to Clachtoll where I stayed at the friendly campsite right by the beach. The next day, the wind was stronger but behind me so I pressed on northwards.
Conditions seemed choppy after so much calm weather, especially approaching the Point of Stoer and as I passed Handa Island, making it exhausting and hard to rest on the water, so I was glad to arrive in the shelter of beautiful Sandwood Bay.
Yesterday was another calm day, so I paddled round Cape Wrath. I timed it to go round near the start of the flood and it was nice and calm.
I stopped at Durness where I’m enjoying a rest today rather than battle a headwind. Looking at the forecast, I may stay here for a few days, but I can’t complain about the weather after being able to paddle every day I wanted to while on the west coast of Scotland.