Monday, 15 September 2014

A Paddle into the Bay

On a calm day, there's nothing better than taking the camera for a gentle paddle into Kilchoan Bay, passing along the front of the houses of Ormsaigbeg and Ormsaigmore.

The more active paddlers can always find some excitement at the mouth of the Millburn by trying to paddle upstream.  On this day it was hard work - there had been 26mm of rain in the previous 18 hours - so the burn was high.  In fact, even more excitement came a few minutes later when what was probably a sea trout jumped close beside Rachael's kayak.

Further back into the bay there are wonderful views across the flooded salt marsh to the old manse, Meall mo Chridhe, now a restaurant with rooms.  Just above it can be seen the ruins of St Comghan's, a 12th century church which is well worth a visit.

At the back of the bay the wildlife and sheep which normally graze the marshes are confined by the high tide.  The geese here are greylags, resident all the year, and they're joined by gulls, herons, oystercatchers and other waders.

Not everything is postcard pretty.  This lamb, washed up on the south side of the bay, drowned after a dog chased it into the sea.  But nothing is wasted: now it's food for the hoodies - hooded crows - and, if no-one is around, the sea eagles which fly across from Mull.

Rounding Glas Eilean, an island to the south of the bay, opens views straight down the Sound of Mull - in the distance, the Lord of the Isles, a CalMac ferry, is coming up the Sound.  By this time the storm clouds were building over Beinn Talaidh on Mull, and a light breeze had got up.

Once round Glas Eilean we were into the deep bay called Port na Luinge.  As well as being an ideal place to see grey seals basking in the sunshine, it's one of the best places for otter-spotting.  The seals are nervous - they're justifiably unpopular with local fishermen - but we drift in towards them on our kayaks so they stay on the rocks until we're quite close.

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