Arriving at Kylerhea for another installment of paddling fun, we passed a Coastguard van heading the other way. This was the first sign that things were not normal. At the slipway we saw a heavily laden ship just a hundred metres or so away. As it swung round in the tide we were able to see the Mallaig lifeboat alongside, and the smaller Kyle lifeboat at the bow. Switching our radios on, we could work out what was going on. The stricken ship had a damaged rudder stuck hard to port. This mishap occurred in the fastest tide-race in the area, where the deep water channel is just half a cable (90m) wide at the southern end.
Fortunately the conditions were calm, and the two lifeboats were able to keep the ship in deep water until the arrival of a tug from Kyle. Once the tug arrived, a combination of pulling and pushing resulted in the stricken ship making it out of the race and into harbour at Kyle. At this point we went paddling.
It was great to see the lifeboats working together, keeping the ship off the rocks. Two volunteer crews working alongside a tug boat to avert disaster. Well done RNLI.
Point of Sleat, a winters day out
Dodging the showers, five paddlers set out from Armadale on the Sleat peninsula of Skye. The sea was lively as we slowly made progress into the wind. Kevin kept pointing out otters and every time I saw nothing more than a ripple on the water. Maybe he was making them up, maybe I was just being slow, who knows?
Rob decides to dice with his gelcoat and take the inside line among the rocks.
Fiona and Kevin enjoying the lively water.
Lunch time at last. It seemed to take a long time to reach the Point of Sleat. Looking back at our track we were never moving at less than 5 km/h but it felt a lot slower than this.
Rob at the Point of Sleat, lighthouse behind. The water is starting to get lively. Round the corner it's about to get a whole lot livelier.
For some strange reason I didn't take photos during the lumpy bits. Just to prove that the sun shone on us for some of the time, here's picture with the Cuillin in the background.
My favourite picture of the day. Roddy and a stormy sky.
Thanks to Roddy, Kevin, Fiona and Rob for making a lovely day out on the water.
30km paddled in a mixture of conditions. This is an exposed bit of coastline, with few possibilities for landing or cutting the trip short. Sea state varied from flat (the first and last 100m) to waves over our heads and was a whole lot of fun.