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Salty Seadogs Day 1 – Sound of Arisaig (by Andy Garland)

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Easter Trip to Scotland

Salty Seadogs Day 1 – Sound of Arisaig (by Andy Garland)

The weather forecast for our first day of paddle-faffing was good – a light southerly breeze and reasonable temperatures. The paddle-faff got off to a tremendous start as we had decided to drive for two hours to Glenuig Bay, where we were to launch into the Sound of Arisaig. The car-faff was very scenic, but it was it was disappointing that we couldn’t escalate the faff to the next level by doing a car shuttle.

However, once we arrived at our destination the team got distracted by the wonderful scenery and were overcome by an urge to get on the water. This resulted in the boats being unloaded from the cars in a matter of minutes and everyone being ready shortly thereafter. The only person who seemed to have remembered anything at all from the last faff and procrastination training session was Catriona, who hadn’t brought the right size of deck and had to faff about to find a spare. A good solo effort from Catriona, but overall the team’s performance was disappointing…a faff should be a marathon, not a sprint.

We launched depressingly quickly and headed across the Sound. The sky was blue, the sea was calm and the vistas all around us were breath taking – The mountains of the Isle of Rum reared out of the sea to our left, and the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye grew ever larger in front of us as we progressed across the water. After about 5km we arrived at a bay where we had planned to take lunch. Pleasingly, we had the opportunity for a micro-faff while we decided whether or not the beach was too bouldery to land. We decided that it was, and moved to a sandy bay a little further to the west. By now time was moving on, and we had only half an hour to explore a little further before making the return crossing.

We poked our heads around a headland to look into Loch nan Caell, and then turned around to cross the Sound once more. The return crossing, as always, seemed further than it had on the way out but by late afternoon we were back on the slipway at Glenuig. I think people might have been a little weary, because once again they couldn’t organise a proper group-faff and boats were unpacked and loaded onto cars with alarming rapidity. To be fair, the two hour drive back to our lodgings followed the car-faffing plan pretty closely. However, this piece of well executed faffing was undone once we got back to the hostel, as we were changed and in the pub within 30 minutes of arrival.

Overall, it was an excellent day in excellent company, but I think that there is an underlying current of organisation and smooth operation that has started to creep into our trips. This needs to be stamped out. For those of you that missed my recent Advanced Faff training course (how to scupper a days paddling by locking keys in car), I’ll be running another session in the near future.

Click for more photos…….