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Scottish Sea Kayak Trail, weather and wildlife.

Posted on Jun 13, 2011 by Ben Thorburn

Scottish Sea Kayak Trail

I was preparing to join our Scottish Sea Kayak Trail trip and the thought of heavy rain combined with thunder and lightning on the water filled me with a little more than trepidation. Driving through Fort William did nothing to ease this as Britain’s rainiest town showed her true colours. I just hoped I didn’t get handed the metal paddle the next day.

They say that if you don’t like the weather in Scotland then hang around for 5 minutes and it’ll change…well it did! I arrived in Glenuig to clear skies and that set the trend for the next two days on the water.

Sun-kissed faces

I’ve never seen so many pink faces with beaming grins round one dinner table. In the end we were treated to an incredible couple of days on the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail the first of which was spent exploring the shoreline of Loch Nan Uamh. We saw a wealth of intertidal life like vibrant sea stars, large anemones and crabs, as well as an abundance of bird life. Coming ashore to stretch our legs, grab some tasty lunch and explore the cramped confines of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hiding places was a treat. Although excellent, it was merely a sample of what was to come.

The next day brought higher winds but as luck would have it they were accompanied by a large, bright yellow thing in the sky, something we didn’t expect to see. Our guides, Carol and Alex, assured us that the best place to shelter from the winds and swell would be the Arisaig Skerries and after a short crossing we were in another world as swell gave way to flat calm or the occasional ripple while breaking waves and boomers were visible on the horizon.

Sea Kayaking Scottish Style

We found ourselves gliding in shallow water across a white sandy seabed which gave up the hiding places of crabs and small fish. We were frequently surrounded by curious seals and to top it off there were gasps as an otter was spotted swimming at our 2 o’clock.

We’d covered some good mileage but the thing is that it flies by without you even noticing as you’re surrounded by stunning views to the Islands of Eigg and Rum and flanked along the mainland by the dramatic hills of Knoydart, with the Cuillin of Skye to the north.

To be honest, with all that I experienced, the weather was just the icing on the cake, we’d have been toasty warm and perfectly dry with our kayaking kit on but to have everything come together was simply superb.

We have a split the trail up into 3 manageable sections South, Central and North. Accommodation is in sea-kayaker-friendly west coast hotels, meaning that you always have somewhere warm and dry to return to after a day on the water.

About the author

Ben Thorburn

Ben is Head of Marketing at Wilderness Scotland and his love and enthusiasm for Scotland’s wild places is what he hopes rubs off and inspires people to visit such an incredible place. Outside of work he's found in his natural habitat; the mountains, whether skiing, on a mountain bike or walking.

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