Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Treshnish Isles and Staffa

I spent last weekend at Onich, doing my 4 star sea leader assessment. Despite the inevitable anxieties about being assessed, it was a fun weekend. A lack of wind meant that we had to do the personal skills bit in the Falls of Lora. I had a brief encounter with the whirlpool that sank Freya Hofmeister in This is the Sea 3, though it wasn't so vicious on this occasion. I've no photographs of this as my mind was on other things.
Having gone west for this, and having also taken a few days holiday, I then took the ferry to Mull, with a vague plan to paddle off it's west coast.
With a good forecast I set off from the ferry slipway for Ulva. A paddle of 100 yards took me to the first stop of the day.

The Ulva Boathouse is a wonderful place!
The north coast of Ulva and Gometra was pleasantly sheltered. I rested for a while at the westerly end of Gometra

before tackling the open crossing to Lunga. There was a biggish but unthreatening swell to liven up the journey.
Lunga is a wonderful place- green and alive with birdlife. It was also inhabited by some ornithologists netting and ringing storm petrels- this done at midnight outside my tent! They were a bit of a pain. One of them tried to tell me that I needed permission to camp, and they left a some litter behind them. I've written to the Hebridean Trust (who own the island, and on whose behalf they were working) to complain about them. Fortunately our access laws give sensible protection against outdated attitudes such as theirs.

The following day was dull and windless to begin with. I headed first for Staffa. It was a long open crossing with little to liven it up until the first columns of basalt appeared.

The underwater geography here must also be interesting, as big surf waves suddenly appear out of an apparently calm sea. The Boat Cave is particularly well protected by these, but Fingal's Cave was easy enough to get into.
From here to the Ulva Ferry involves another open crossing. By the time I reached the Ulva coast the sun was out and colour had returned to the day.

The boathouse deserved a bit more custom before loading up for the long journey home.

1 comment:

  1. What a great trip.
    Well done on the 4* by the way!
    I'm not brave enough to do it yet - going to be a guinea pig at Skyak in August first.
    Well away from Falls of Lora!