Nocturnal Forays on the Forth

After a long stint in the canoe, it was time for some sea kayaking but what to do with no free weekends coming up? Time to make use of the hours after work, or those before work. Why not both? Both it was and so in a particularly cold spell, the only one so far this winter, two forays out on the Forth were enjoyed.

A night paddle, to break the break as it were, and with no need to chase hours of daylight, we could meet later than on a regular night paddle. Two of us set off from South Queensferry, under the Bridge and headed west passing under the less interesting road bridge first then onwards a little further towards the workings of the next crossing for a look which is at very early stages; foundations for the pillars just being dug. We crossed here taking account of the green cross code, keeping a watchful eye and ear (radio) out for any movement in the channel.

Throughout our journey the focus of interest was the rail bridge, illuminated and un-shrouded for the first time in years, following a new and longer lasting paint job. With darkness around, everything else recedes out of view leaving the bridge structure to shine (literally) above all else. The full moon rising behind on our return added to the scene.

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Next day, well, just a few hours after, that same moon had moved westwards and was now setting ahead of us with the sun, Venus and Mercury all promising to follow its path from behind us. More of us this time set off from Granton and followed the light of the moon on the water over to Inchmickery, at first obscured behind the landmass of Fife behind. Lights we are familiar with on Fife gave its location away though and we did not have to deviate our course over the journey out.

The night previous had been cold but it was easy to stay warm as long as moving. After hours of clear sky, the temperature had dropped and so it was much harder to stay warm even when moving during this paddle. Oh well, you have to earn the good bits. Over our shoulders, dawn was breaking above Edinburgh’s skyline and occassional pauses to look back and enjoy the views didn’t impede our progress out to Inchkeith that much. Getting lighter all the way we were soon at the island and after a paddle round we, stopped on the beach for a very brief snack and cuppa. Hot tea priceless!

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Views were getting more splendid by the minute and the light changing all the time. We were soon back on the water and heading for Edinburgh, arriving back before the sun had shown itself but by which time Mercury and Venus had both faded to nothing. All so blissful compared to what would follow, work!

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