7 and 8 October 2014. A windy weekend of equinox gales, Laide campsite is right on the beach a few of miles south of the lovely Gruinard Bay. It made a perfect starting or finishing point, even if a shuttle was still needed and some intrepid paddling was done by all. We arrived at different times through Friday and even on Saturday morning and set up tents between pools on the grassy links.
Saturday's paddle was a northerly, clockwise trip from Aultbea to Laide via Greenstone Point (Rubha na Lice Uaine). With the strong winds and storms threatening, it was an exposed paddle, of approximately 24km/15miles. However, the journey had only a short section without landings or protection, and a judgement was made on the water on prevailing conditions.
Here are a few notes:
- Saturday am rendezvouz at Gruinard Bay /Laide campsite, weather fine although overcast
- Launched around the corner at Aird pt, Aultbea - ample parking
- 3 groups of 6/7 then set off with the real 'keenies' heading across to skirt NW coast of Isle of Ewe
- remaining two groups hugged the coast for about 8 km/5 miles heading vaguely NW/N
- all groups landed at Sluggan Bay ( old ruined settlement ) for a break
- slightly choppy seas around the headland Greenstone point
- quite bouncy so didn't go too close to impressive cliffs, rock platforms
- once round the corner rewarded with stunning views of the NW hills ( An Teallach)
- disturbed a large flock of rock doves?? in one of the caves
- landed at lovely white sandy beach by Mellon Udrigle for afternoon tea & pee stop(!)
- easy paddle back to Gruinard Bay / Laide campsite
- sneaked a hot shower , followed by good craic & excellent meal at the Aultbea hotel
Once round the point we found calmer seas and this gave a more relaxed paddling - with glimpses of sunshine and amazing rainbows!! It was an opportunity to explore a couple of caves and experience easy rockhopping. Most of the party had a delicious meal in Aultbea hotel and we seated on a long table in front of roaring fire.
The next morning, the expected high winds, had not materialised. We had thought paddling might not be possible but instead we took the tents down in blustery conditions, and from then on the day improved and calmed. We paddled from Laide round the inside of Gruinard Island and round Static Point into Little Loch Broom, landing at Badluarach.