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Loch Linnhe and Shuna Island by Adya Misra

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Loch Linnhe and Shuna Island by Adya Misra

On Easter Sunday we woke up to dramatic views of swaying trees near our hostel. Strong winds were building all morning and the prospect of being out at sea wasn’t too appealing to the group.

We knew this weather was coming, even though we checked everyday on multiple apps in the hopes that the weather front was delayed or cancelled. Catriona decided that the salty face scrubs from big waves were not for her and instead planned a walking route nearby. I had woken up exhausted and wanted to stay indoors, but both Ian and Martin Page told me it was an “easy trip” which was good enough to convince me to get in my boat.

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We headed to the Shuna island on Loch Linnhe to get our salty water fix and stay sheltered from the strong winds. Without too much faffing we got on the water and in no time we arrived at a 14th century castle in an inlet within the loch. After taking lots of photos of the castle and the surrounding mountains, off we went towards Port Appin for lunch. We had the occasional strong headwind which meant we were working for our lunch!

We had a quiet lunch at Port Appin, with a brief chat with other sea kayakers who were on a multi day trip in Scotland. We were clearly an unusual sight on the island as someone approached us and said “I’ve never seen so many people here”.

Our return journey was a lot more exciting as we contended with following sea waves and strong winds funnelling through the islands. The wind was strong, but definitely not as strong as forecast which was a welcome relief to many. We crossed the channel to touch Lismore and then paddled towards the Shuna island (This Shuna island is not the island the Werner sea kayak paddle is named after, I checked). The wind did all of the work, and we glided through breaking waves with elegance. Nearly everyone in the group was giving Terry tips on how to deal with big waves pushing your kayak around, so if you’re interested in learning I’m sure Terry will share his newly acquired wisdom.

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After 14.5km of kayaking (thanks to Nikki’s watch for capturing this data) I had not had enough and wanted to do some rolling practice. Nikki and I scoped the bay for a deep enough spot for a bit of rolling and I successfully rolled my boat twice. I’m told two seals appeared exactly at this point and provided the wildlife fix we all wanted in Scotland. Many thanks to Ian Bell for organising the trip and taking care of the group in somewhat challenging waters.

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