Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Scotland journey 2: Rounding Kerrera

Back from Mull we camped at the caravanpark in Oban (Gallanach Farm, next to the sound of Kerrera). After a tiring climb to the Ben More the day before and with a trip to the slate isles in prospect, a resting day was welcome. A day off would also be a good occasion to dry and vent the camping and kayak gear and to resupply our food and drinks for the next multiple day-trip. The Tesco in Oban is a perfect kayak-expedition supplier.

What to do on a resting day? Paddling of course - it's a holiday ;-) We decided it would be a pity not to paddle on such a perfect day and left the car at the campsite and put the kayaks in the water to visit the Tesco in Oban. From the caravanpark we first headed south on the Sound of Kerrera to round the isle of Kerrera. Kerrera is a low lying island in the Firth of Lorn that shelters Oban from the worst of westerly winds. It's rural character is a big contrast to the crowded Oban. The south coast is rough, with Gylen Castle in a majestic clifftop setting. On the west-coast Kerrera offers some fine sandy beaches. The view on Mull, Lismore, the Scottish Highlands is fantastic. We started with a light wind, but on the west-coast the wind disappeared completely and we were paddling on a blue mirror. After a picnic on Slatrach Bay we paddled into the harbour of Oban.

A big surprise as we packed our new supplies in the kayaks. We heard a familiar voice calling "Hi Hans, Hi Govert!" - it was Gerard, a Dutch paddler. Gerard was in Oban awaiting Nout and Patrick, who would come to Scotland some days later, for their kayak-expedition to St. Kilda. What a coincidence! Gerard joined us at the campsite in the evening. We were fascinated by the stories about their preparation for the St. Kilda trip - an open crossing of 60 km's on the Atlantic. Govert and I were having a kayak-holiday. The adventure of Gerard and his friends is a kayak- expedition!

Friday, 30th. May, wind 2/3 Var, sea state slight, sunny.
Oban-Kerrera Island-Oban, 23 km

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