Ardnamurchan Point and Loch Sunart

This is a new angle for me on an area I am becoming particularly interested in and more familiar with. An original plan of a two day paddle round Ardnamurchan point had to be modified to one day to allow the rounding of the point to take place and fit in with good weather on the Saturday and therefore avoid the windier conditions which were forecast and experienced on the Sunday.

Cars were placed to allow different start and end points (the dreaded time-munching shuttle) and soon after this we were setting off from Fascadale Bay on the north of the peninsula. From here, the coast is pretty much cliffs or steep ground punctuated by the odd shallow cave or small, rocky bay – one of which, Port Eigin-aig, I had enjoyed lunch at on my previous Ardnamurchan visit – culminating in the large overhanging cliffs of Rubha Carrach.

From there we could see the first sands just north of Sanna Bay a couple of kilometres away where we would stop for in a sunny spot out the wind. Here we re-charged our batteries with the view of the lighthouse ahead and our attention was drawn to the splash of waves on against the shore at its base.

Setting off again, we covered the 2 or 3 km to the lighthouse quickly against the remaining north going stream with the wind at our backs and though the coast here is interesting, I seem to have missed it largely by focusing on the paddling and target ahead. Tide against wind makes for livelier conditions but though it was choppy and a bit chaotic in the worst of it, our passage round the point was actually pretty easy and event free. Great fun!

Soon we were round the point and heading west with the cliffs above sheltering us from the wind we had till now been working with and against. The remainder of our paddle took us west, under higher cliffs and with the odd rocky bay, some of which would allow landings wouldn’t be suitable for camping. One of these bays (actually a large ledge) had some stranded sheep lingering, they must have gained access when the tide was out and would be in for a long wait to get back out as even goats wouldn’t get out going upwards.

Rounding a corner, our destination of Kilchoan came in to view with Ben Hiant rising up behind and a nice view to finish off the day with.

Sunday as expected (forecasters do get it right sometimes) started off wet, very wet! So wet, coffee shops and cake seemed more appealing than any of the options for local, sheltered paddles we had discussed the previous evening but thankfully the downpour ceased and sun came out as we arrived at our launch-site by Camus Fearna, just west of Glenborrodale.  From here, we paddled a clockwise circuit of the islands of Oronsay and Carna and were lucky to get through the drying channel between Oronsay and Morvern even though only an hour or so from high tide (neaps), a narrow channel through the rocks and seaweed meandered between the two. The winds were up as expected and if anything the choppy conditions at the west end of Oronsay were not far off those experienced on rounding Ardnamurchan Point – a bit of excitement to end the day on.

All in a good second paddle salvaged from what looked like being a very damp day and very different scenically than that paddled the previous day. This might be a good spot for an open canoe jaunt sometime, if the short crossings and shelter can be made use of.


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