Scarba and Belnahua

A second planned attempt to paddle out to and camp on the Garvellachs was set back again by the winds but in such an amazing place nothing was lost in terms of the quality of the trip that we ended up reverting to as a backup.

Saturday (Route)
Launching from Seil by Easdale, we headed direct to Cuan Sound and through this strong tidal area with some assistance from the last of the ebbing tide and only came slightly unstuck passing through the shallow channel between Torsa and Luing due to a minimum of water being present. A short walk towing the kayaks under the watchful eye of a fairly bold mink brought us to deeper water on the other side.

Following Luing’s east coast we rounded its southern tip then headed east in to wind and swell, taking numerous soakings along the way, towards Scarba’s east coast and some shelter. Scarba lies between two famous tidal features, the Gray Dogs to the north and the more well known Corryvreckan Whirlpool to the south. Looking for a rest stop and potential campsite, we headed north first up to a point where we found two possible camps not far from the growl of the Gray Dogs. Keeping these in mind, we headed back south towards the Corryvreckan area keeping an eye on the water movement so as not to be drawn in to it but as it happens, we actually had to fight our way round against the counter current to the bay, ‘Bagh Gleann a’ Mhaoil’ where a bothy is located.

Home for the night

The bothy was open and so we took advantage of a roof over our heads for cooking, and in some cases sleeping after enjoying a short walk up the hill behind to take in views and stretch legs.

Departing Bagh Gleann a' Mhaoil

Sunday (Route)
A leisurely start saw us on the water with time to make it up to the Gray Dogs for slack water thus allowing a chance to gauge conditions on the west side of Lunga before committing ourselves to the one way passage through the Gray Dogs once the stream flowed more strongly. In the end, we decided against going through in the conditions we observed and instead continued up the east coast of Lunga to Belnahua.

Paddling up Lunga's east coast

Cottages on Belnahua

Geese coming in to land

Belnahua was probably the highlight of the paddle for me, a small island with a past in quarrying slate but now abandoned. Workers’ cottages and the odd bit of machinery lie scattered about the place and it must have been a busy little place going by the number of buildings in such a small area. The island splits the stream running out of the Sound of Luing, so the swift and turbulent waters are quite interesting to watch and these gave us a helpful carry back to Easdale island and with it the end of our paddling for the weekend.

Lessons in mechanics

Slate with and without their pyrite crystals


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