Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Making the Most of the Forecast

The weather forecast for the next seven days looks fantastic. After the strong winds and gales that seem to have been hammering us over the last month or so, this is an opportunity too good to dismiss. A hasty phone call to my kayaking pal Ben and the genesis of an adventurous seven day, 140 mile kayak trip emerged.

Ben (a.k.a. Big Ben) and I have worked together as guides for Clearwater Paddling leading many wonderful trips around the isles and coastline of the Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland. However we have not yet shared time kayaking together without clients to care for. We have spoken many times of paddling together, exploring coastline that is new for both of us and undertaking big adventures.

Mingulay crew 2013

With such a wonderfully settled weather forecast we have formulated a plan to kayak from Oban out to Castlebay on the Isle of Barra via Mull, Tiree and Mingulay. What started out as a discussion about a sedate exploration of the island of Lismore soon metamorphosed into this ambitious route.

It is a kayak journey that is well within our ability but we will have to be on our toes with our planning and decision making. It will be crucial to keep a close eye on the forecast - any hint of it changing with stronger winds making an appearance, we will amend our plans immediately. In a way this trip has been conceived on a whim but it provides me with excellent training for my planning processes. Ben informed me with delight that he expects me to have all the tidal information sorted with all the variances that this entails.

If we decide not to make the committing thirty two mile crossing across the Minch from Tiree to Mingulay we will revert to another plan that we discussed and this is to complete a circumnavigation of the island of Mull. This is an attractive option for me too - I have always wanted to kayak around this iconic Scottish island, exploring the myriad lochs, bays and wee inlets. I am therefore sanguine about the forecast, very happy that it is good enough for us to enjoy seven days of kayaking, but not so dependent on its stability.

I am looking forward to meeting the crucial decision making challenges that this trip will present because these will undoubtedly help my confidence for the larger challenges that lie ahead of me this summer.


  1. ooH wow what an adventure. I would normally say "Happy Trails!", but you are not on a horse, so safe journey!

  2. Replies
    1. Hello Margaret - we got as far as the Isle of Coll. It was a wonderful trip nonetheless.

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Val - we got as far as the Isle of Coll - it was an amazing trip.

  4. Thank you for your kind comments folks. We managed to kayak as far as the Isle of Coll and enjoyed a wonderful few days exploring the Mull coastline.


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