22-24th August 2014
Most of the Inverness Canoe Club paddlers arrived at the Dunvegan campsite on the Friday evening before the sun had set, with fantastic views over Loch Dunvegan. It was slightly cool and drizzly, however the weather settled over the weekend.
After breakfast we organised ourselves into a peer group and coach led group down at the waters edge on Loch Dunvegan. There was slight head wind to contend with, which could be addressed better once on the water.
Once on the water the peer paddlers set off as one group, but once we reached the first headland it became clear we were too big a group to paddle as one party, so divided ourselves into two groups. One group decided to circumnavigate Eilean Mor were seals are renowned to bath on the rocks. The group I was in paddled west towards the island north west of Eilean Mor and crossed the loch diagonally into the wind to visit the coral beaches north. The sea was a little bumpy and a little windier when cloud weather system fronts would blow over and then the wind would settle down again.
We stopped off, of course half way up for a good old cuppa, before continuing for lunch on the coral beach; a few weather squarls were coming over from the Outer Hybrides. The coach led group arrived shortly after our arrival.
The group I was with carried onto Isay to view some archaeological ruins, before heading back to the campsite; on our way back I managed to persuade a few of us to see some seals at Eilean Mor. The evening was spent in the delightful restaurant The Old School.
The following day most of us continued onto Loch Bracadale were the weather remained very settled, blue sky and sunshine; today I was paddling with the coach led group. The day was spectacular, being guided by Justin and Margaret into various caves along the west side of the loch. One cave we ventured into was approximately 30 foot high; I paddled in and looked up to see bats flying overhead.
Towards the end of the loch there is a fantastic cave and arch, which can be paddled through at high tide; we spent our time here enjoying the wonders of the arch and cave, the waves lapping and drips dripping off the arch and cave ceiling.
During the paddle I thought I saw an otter, then thought why it had not dashed away for cover and also why it had a black tail; it was of course a mink.
After the caves we paddled across the loch as one group towards the island of Harlosh and back towards Loch Na Faolinn were we began at the head of Loch Bracadale; along the way we stopped off at an idyllic beach where we bumped into the peer paddlers having a cuppa and sandwiches.
One glorious weekend of paddling and adventures, with plenty of banter and excellent company.