"....Angus Mackie and Gordon Brown laid on calm reflective seas and warm sunshine as they taught us about kayaking photography. Superb days with lots of fun and learning.
My gear is all dried and put away and I have now had a chance to reflect on our 3 days. I really enjoyed our time together and I felt I learnt a lot about photographing kayaking and scenery from a kayak. Angus and Gordon were such entertaining and instructive coaches and everyone was such good company. I think I will need to renew my acquaintance with Kyle Rhea sometime soon to see if I can master a low brace turn without requiring a snorkel! I am itching to to try some of Angus's suggested editing techniques and maybe even a stitched panorama...."
Richard BottJust one of the comments from this year's Scotland360° / Skyak Adventures sea kayaking photography course. To see more of the photography, discover some of the secrets behind successful photography from a sea kayak and enjoy the highlights from the three days, please read on....
The Sandaig Islands have been on my kayaking bucket list for quite some time now. Situated at the southern end of the Kylerhea narrows, overlooking Skye and Glenelg, Sandaig is the setting for Gavin Maxwell's classic tale, "Ring of Bright Water", his story of living with otters on a secluded and remote corner of Wester Ross.
Tania and I had a few days on Skye and and the conditions were looking perfect for a paddle from Kylerhea to Sandaig and back again.... The forecast was settled, the tides were in our favour and we had the company of a couple of other paddlers - George from Greece and Roar from Norway.
As we were on Spring tides, the flow in Kylerhea was up to its maximum and we were fortunate to have the advantage of the south-going stream on our way down to Sandaig. Running at up to 8 knots on spring tides, this is quite a useful conveyor belt. With a leisurely stop for lunch and time to explore the islands for a while, our plan was then to pick up the north going stream which would assist us back up to Kylerhea once more.
Launching from the ferry slipway at Kylerhea, we had clear blue skies, wall to wall sunshine and no wind. The conditions were definitely in our favour.
In April of this year, Skyak Adventures and Scotland360° ran our first sea kayaking photography course.
Sea kayaking offers great ways of accessing and exploring some of the most scenic coastlines and photographic locations in Scotland and our course offers a unique blend of practical instruction in photography both on and off the water, as well as tailored sea kayak coaching from Gordon Brown, the UK's foremost sea kayak coach.
No technical photography skills are required; this is a course for participants to learn to produce great results from their cameras whilst sea kayaking and to get the best out of their own photography.
Our last day of the Easter holidays on Skye was to be one to remember. Having had a great day out in Loch Bracadale with Pete the day before, our conversation now turned to the subject of open crossings. We were keen to explore more of Skye and the islands of Fladda-chuin to the north were fast becoming the target.
The weather forecast was looking good with the winds dying down to around Force 1 or 2 and the conditions becoming very favourable. On the basis of such good conditions, we hatched a plan to take in the islands of Eilean Trodday, Fladda-chuain and Gaeilavore to the north of Rubha Hunish. As the furthest north headland on Skye, Rubha Hunish juts out into the Minch with the effect that the tide sweeps around the point. Sound and careful planning is therefore required to take advantage of the tides and not to be caught out in the strong tidal streams.
In 2014, we were long term students for Giles Trussell in his successful bid to attain his BCU Level 5 Coaching Award. As one of his objectives, Giles prepared Tania and me for our 4 Star Leader qualification which we successfully completed.
Pete Gwatkin, another Level 5 aspirant has now picked up the baton from Giles and we are now going through the same process with Pete.
The plan for the next couple of days was to get out with paddling with Pete using Skye as our base. This was an opportunity to get to know each other and simply to enjoy a paddle after the 4 Star preparations of the previous few months.
We were all keen to go some some biggish days and there were certainly plenty of options. Top of the list for the first day was Loch Bracadale on the north west coast of Skye. Planning to launch at Harlosh, the route took in Harlosh Island, Wiay and Tarner Island. With a start and end point at the same place, the logistics were fairly simple.
Following a week of concentration and working hard for our 4* sea kayak assessment, Tania and I still had a further week of holiday to enjoy, out on Skye. The weather had been windy and stormy at the start of the week but as it abated, we started to make some sea kayaking plans. It was time to relax and have some fun...The plan was to launch at Isle Ornsay and head over to the Sandaig Islands, the setting for Gavin Maxwell's "Ring of Bright Water". The sun was out and the day was dry, but the wind was still stronger than we would have liked.
Clear, calm weather on the west and a phone call from my pal, Tom Tindale saw us catching up for a paddle together. We settled on a plan which took us from Kyle of Lochalsh, northwards to Plockton, exploring the coastline and the many skerries along the way.
Leaving a very dark and misty Black Isle, as the day dawned, the weather on the west certainly seemed to be a good deal better. We shuttled cars and boats and decided that Kyle to Plockton would be the better option, given tide, wind and light. The light was crystal clear and the views to the surrounding hills, coast and islands were stunning. 17km later and having had a great day out, we pulled into Plockton just as the sun was now setting below the surrounding hills.
A great Autumn paddle with the Scottish Sea Kayaking E-Group, joining the development weekend on Skye. Launching from Elgol, we paddled along the shores of Loch Scavaig, enjoying the spectacular views into the majestic Cuillin Hills.
Heading initially for Camasunary, we then turned towards Coruisk and Loch na Cuilce. From there we paddled along the western shores of Loch Scavaig, heading for Soay, the setting for Gavin Maxwell's basking shark fishery of the 1940's. Stopping to explore Soay harbour and the site of the shark fishery, we then set off back along the Soay Sound and, leaving the shelter of Soay itself, had a 5km open water crossing back to Elgol and a well deserved meal at Cafe Sia in Broadford later on that evening.
This was an area of the coast I had long wanted to explore by sea kayak. The day, the conditions and the company all combined to make this a classic day out and a journey to remember.