Sanna Bay & Ardamurchan Point, Scotland, June 2022

On the final day, a return sea crossing from Portuick to Muck was planned. After heading out and rafting up with the larger group for the final briefing just outside of Sanna Bay, a ‘b team’ of three (Philippe, Kenneth & Jo) was formed, who opted for an easier day sticking to close to the mainland around Sanna Bay and  Ardamurchan Point.

After the group split, Philippe as the leader gave a mini briefing and we discussed what would happen if a rescue was required now the group was smaller.   

We agreed to head back to Portuick and as we paddled back into the wind from the south, we were surprised by how far we had drifted out of Sanna bay.  By the time we reached the start point, we had been paddling already for 1 hr 15 mins.    

After a short break to stretch legs and have a snack in the sheltered area in the rocks amongst the seals, we ventured out again. Philippe suggested we stay close to the mainland where we would be most protected from the wind and head towards Ardamurchan Point, which we had passed in the opposite direction a couple of days before. We paddled into the next bay keeping clear of the waves at the base of the headland.  

We crossed the next bay heading into the waves and found another brief respite  behind some  rocks.  We continued towards the lighthouse and began to turn the corner at Armamurchan Point, at which point the waves were a bit larger and slightly more confused and Philippe did a risk assessment based on group size and experience and suggested we turn back.

On the return, we stuck closer to the shoreline and Philippe led, with Kenneth at the back of the group. This time, the waves were behind us and pushed us along, as we paddled back past the headland. Before too long we were back where we had started buoyed by our trip.    

Although a short trip, there was plenty of scope for informal learning, both for me as the least experienced and for others, it gave the opportunity to lead a small group on the sea rather than the Thames. We discussed spotting potential hazards in the sea, such as rocks not visible beneath the surface of the water which may only cause a breaking wave only infrequently, and how to improve skills, such as turning more efficiently in waves by edging. We also considered trip preparation, such as taking maps of adjoining areas in case plans change and how the radio works when groups are spread out. 

When packing up the boats, we were passed by a foursome who asked if we were the kayakers they had seen from the lighthouse. It turned out the group had been staying in a holiday cottage overlooking the bay and been observing CKCs kayaking exploits from afar all week and had many questions! Once the boats were packed up, I stayed on the beach for a swim and then an hour or so later watched as the rest of the group appeared in the distance from Muck.

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