St Kilda, Scotland
Kayaking at St Kilda, summer 2013.
Put simply, I paddled at St Kilda and had a great time.
But now I am finding it more of a challenge to tell to you all about it.
I am no great wordsmith and everyone has had their own kayaking adventures and most of you have had greater adventures than my three weeks in Scotland.
Two days paddling south of Oban looking into the tide races warily but paddling past. A windy day paddle on Skye, the ferry to Lewis, meeting up with Gordon Brown from Skyak, the great crew of the MV Cuma and the rest of the gang. Then off to St Kilda. 40miles out in the Atlantic. Incredible remote scenery and a real kayak adventure for me. For example the sea-fog closed in on the way back from Levenish to Village Bay. No problem to navigate by compass until the magnetic rock trips you compass round 60 degrees. Luckily we could hear the military generator in Village Bay. The listening station at the top of the island and the industrial buildings slapped into the middle of Village Bay contrast against the preserved remains of the St Kilda settlement. Without surplus electricity generated by the military installation there would be no signs of the settlement except the now wild sheep left behind.
We did not paddle the 40 miles out to St Kilda. We had three metre swells and a head wind. The boat trip out on the sturdy MV Cuma was epic enough for me. The swells declined gradually each day but were still big on the SW side of the islands. It made for some wonderful rock hopping and tunnel exploration. Loved it!
The wildlife was fantastic. There were so many birds on the stacks, orca, a breaching basking shark, otters playing on Lewis and dolphins. I was below deck when I heard the cry of “basking shark!”. My hands started shaking and I could not remember where my camera was. Gary the deck hand continued washing up. Then a relaxing week on Harris with lovely paddles with my wife Catherine. What a great but challenging place it is to paddle in itself. Even on our calmest day the Atlantic swell was still there. I am already dreaming of my next adventure wherever it will be. Happy paddling and keep adventuring.