There always seems to be one January weekend each year with clear skies and glorious sunshine, often associated with mists and inversions. For 2017, the 21st January was just such a day on such a weekend. We were itching to get out in the sea kayaks again and the forecast for the weekend was looking great.
I've wanted to paddle around the Tarbat Ness peninsula for a while now and here was the opportunity for our first paddle of 2017. Tarbat Ness lighthouse is one of the Stevenson lighthouses, the second tallest in the UK and it sits on the driest place in Scotland.
It also has a reputation for some big waves and a good deal of swell, so any paddle around Tarbat Ness needs to take account of weather, wind, tide and ability. There aren’t too many landing places if the weather turns!
Our plan was to start out from Portmahomack and paddle around the headland, on to Rockfield and finally to Balintore – a distance of around 25 km.
The weather was forecast to be good and the winds light, so all seemed in our favour. What we hadn’t reckoned with was the fog which, on our arrival at Portmahomack was somewhat dense! However, we waited it out, conscious that we needed to pick up the SW stream from Tarbat Ness at 12:30 and so the fog needed to lift by 11:00 at latest. And so it did!!
A glorious day, although cold when stopped (and water that would have been less than comfortable should a capsize have occurred!). Bright sunshine followed the fog and with a still, glassy sea, this was definitely a day to be savoured!
26km later, we coasted into Balintore harbour having enjoyed the Easter Ross scenery from the sea. Enjoy the photographs below and please feel free to provide feedback.