Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Paddle to the Castle

We woke to stunning Highland weather this morning, hardly a cloud in the sky, a brisk northerly breeze, and the thermometre climbing towards yesterday's dizzy heights of 22C, so we took to the kayaks, planning to paddle east along the coast to Mingary Castle to take a look at how work is progressing there.

It isn't a long paddle, perhaps four kilometres, and with conditions almost ideal every moment was a pleasure.  Because the tide was rising we were able to shorten the route by cutting through the gap between Glas Eilean, the grey island, and the coast, something that's only possible about two hours either side of high tide.  We just made it - picture at top shows Rachael working her way through the weed.

The bay between Glas Eilean and Mingary Pier is one of the best places to see grey seals, and there were about a dozen of them there this morning.  They came close to the boats, but getting a picture of one from a rocking kayak with a temperamental waterproof camera isn't easy.

Once we were below Mingary Castle, and in the lee of the shore, we could use the larger camera, carefully carried in a sealed polythene bag.  Look closely to the right of the castle and a man is visible hanging off the rock face below the curtain wall.

This was Chris Flewitt, a senior member of the team at Vertical Technology, the company which is responsible for underpinning the castle before it falls down.  He's up here for a couple of days to check how the local team is getting on - see what they're up to on the Mingary Castle blog, here.

After talking to them, we spent some time drifting with the wind and taking pictures of the castle - conditions were almost perfect for photography - before turning and paddling home.

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