Last weekend I had the chance to try some early season sea kayaking around the beautiful waters of Arisaig exploring the tiny tidal islands known as skerries. It’s only early March so I know what you are thinking – wasn’t it freezing? I had the same fears given all of my sea kayaking experience to date had been in sunnier climes but I can safely say it wasn’t.
Here are my top 3 reasons to get on the water early this season:
Before we even got in the water seven expectant seals bobbed up and down waiting for us. As we kitted up and had a quick refresher lesson their noses twitched with curiosity. Two of the younger ones followed us around for our afternoon paddle. In the shallow turquoise waters we stayed very and a little one stretched himself out of the water to reveal his mottled grey chest before flippering off. I think he frightened himself with his own bravado. Dolphins and otters are common sights here too but we had to make do with some very noisy Oyster Catchers and a couple of languid Herons.
I’m not going to lie, I dressed for the occasion with the usual layers and a warm hat and once we’d added a waterproof layer and a spray deck into the mix I felt fairly toasty. Wearing gloves was important too – I plumped for my cycling gloves which were light enough to allow me dexterity but with a bit of padding to prevent blisters. Obviously you can invest in proper kayak gloves but I think my bike gloves were pretty perfect. Apart from the kit you are actually moving all the time and your body naturally generates some heat.
Our guide Stuart gave us a few pointers on technique and how to use our core, back and feet better to glide through the water. In short if you are paddling properly you’ll probably stay pretty warm and cover some good distances.
Okay yes, we got rained on. Just a smidge really. It wouldn’t be Scotland without a little rain but it was genuinely four seasons in one day. We started and finished with a sunny afternoon with very little wind. In the right light the calm crystal clear waters sparked a bright turquoise and when the clouds rolled away we were rewarded with beautiful vistas of rainbows across snow-capped mountains. From here on in the days will get longer and our mild spring looks to continue. I’m definitely planning to get back out there before summer proper begins.
“In the right light the calm crystal clear waters sparked a bright turquoise and when the clouds rolled away we were rewarded with beautiful vistas of rainbows across snow-capped mountains.”