23rd of March, 2010 – Sunrise Paddle out to Bass Rock

My third trip out to Bass Rock, the first had a threat of storm about it, the second was at night in darkness all the way, and this latest was an early morning paddle to witness sunrise behind the Bass. The place just doesn’t dissapoint!

Two of us set off from North Berwick at 5am in order to get out far enough to see the sun appear (hopefully) in line approximately with the Bass shortly after 6am. We set off in the dark with a glo-stick each to illuminate ourselves to any other craft out and about and paddled first to Craigleith, then east towards Bass Rock which by now was clearly visible against the glow of dawn on the eastern horizon. With each passing minute, the scene ahead grew more impressive.

Craigleith has a resident bird population itself that was becoming active and noisy as we passed, getting ready for breakfast no doubt but the real stars of the day were the gannets from Bass Rock itself. We encountered increasing numbers of these as we headed across to the rock, gliding silently here and there then from perhaps a kilometer or more away, the dense cloud of moving dots above the rock became clear to see, very impressive.

At this point in the journey across, we were treated to the sun’s appearance, very much by chance from our position, it appeared where the rock’s north cliff face met the horizon and we sat for a few minutes taking this in until the full disc of the sun had become visible. Shades on at this point and on we paddled to head round the rock where on approach the noise of bickering birds was as impressive as the smell! We didn’t linger too long before heading back to North Berwick, directly in to a F3 wind.

That glo-stick I had used was still going strong the next morning – way better than stated 12hr performance and outdoing me by a long way, I was flagging by mid-afternoon.

Despite having to go to work afterwards or perhaps in part because of this, I really think this is my best paddling experience to date.

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