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  • paulthompson

MULL OF KINTYRE Weather and Whether!!

Throughout our paddle we have had a rare old mix of good and difficult weather as you would expect, from calm seas under a blue sky through to the fog and mist that blighted us up much of the Aberdeenshire coast and Pentland Firth and occasonally raging froth filled seas you would never launch a kayak into. None however has seriously delayed our progress more than a few days, but the enigma that is The Mull of Kintyre has brought our progress to a full stop with no end in sight as surface pressure forecasts predict depression after depression slamming into this impressive, dominating and 1000 million year old peninsular that has always been taken seriously by mariners since the Vikings and probably earlier.

The expert navigators and seamen that were the Vikings decided discretion was the better part of valour by not rounding the peninsular but opting for a short portage of their boats from West to East Loch Tarbet, some 50 kilometres or so to the north of our current position. Sitting here as we are for the third day at Machrahanish watching increasingly larger seas build and surf currently 2.5m with yet more depressions forecast we are beginning to think the Vikings did have a point !!.

In a sea kayak the Mull of Kintyre is a very committing headland, which when started has few get-out points of any use or safety for 20km+ should condition deteriorate out-with the forecast (which has happened on the north and west coast). When you add to this the significant tide race and few in number days with no wind it makes for a challenge worthy of an adventure like the one we are on.

Our belief has been throughout that if we are to truly sea kayak mainland Scotland this has meant travelling into all the Firths and rounding all the major headlands; so, skipping the Mull of Kintyre would not be the right thing to do and a portage at Tarbet or canal kayak through Crinan would seem like a fudge.!. Nearing the end of this challenge we have few other options left unlike earlier in the paddle when we were met with large seas at Inverness blocking our way north and we opted to paddle down the Caledonian Canal, Loch Linnhe and round to Ardnamurchan point before returning to the northern route and around the roof of Britain. So, for now progress is delayed like many before us and we await the blessings of the weather Gods to continue our safe passage.


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