In to Inverie

A surprisingly short paddle in from Mallaig of 10km, had us across in Inverie, the village known for its relative remoteness from other settlements. A forecast of F3/4 winds with higher gusts had us go with a late start as these were due to decrease over the day and though there were spells of F3 along the way, largely we had kinder conditions than forecast and later the winds seemed to be dropping off all together and the skies lightening a bit too.

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We rewarded ourselves for a successful crossing with a beer at the the Old Forge Inn before paddling on for the last kilometer along the bay to Inverie’s campsite. It sits in a wonderful spot with great views back out towards Mallaig and beyond to the peaks of Rum. Here, surrounded by some of Knoydarts peaks, we had views away from the sea too.

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Once the tents were up and beds made, it was back along to the pub for a hearty feast – too hearty almost – and tiredness crept up on us all too soon, so that an early night was called and the walk back to camp was forced on us sooner than we’d have expected.

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Gusting winds through the night were heard by some but not all of us and waking next day we were pleasantly surprised to find Monday’s good weather had made an early start, instead of grey skies, we had blue ones and a real warmth in the air – lovely!

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A short walk up the nearest hill, Cruach, allowed us to take in and enjoy views before departure, in any case the tide was out so no sense in rushing off. A stunning walk, nice and quick with views in to Knoydart and offering a glimpse of Loch Nevis too. More spectacular though, were the views over the bay and out to sea; Eigg, Rum and Skye revealing their highest points to us in the distance.

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Afterwards we had a very relaxed and sunny first lunch on the beach before the packing and carrying began. Unfortunately the water was still lingering out in the distance so some hard toil ensued getting boats and gear down to the edge.

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After crossing the open portion of the loch in half an hour, we then had the same stretch as that on our route in to retrace, but this time with less winds and more distracting views. A porpoise, possibly more than one, made an appearance up close and soon after this we were lingering on a beach cooking up and eating a second lunch of picked mussels as we gazed over at the Skye Cuillin, peaking over the Sleat Peninsula to the north.

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The last third of the return journey seemed a bit cooler somehow, the sun had been slightly obscured by cloud and with that the glare and warming effect was reduced, but there was definitely still warmth in the air and a haze, starting to form, could be seen when looking across the sea towards the Small Isles of Rum and co.

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Now that I know just how quickly Inverie and the south side of the Knoydart peninsula can be accessed by kayak, I can see more paddle / hill-walk jaunts taking shape in the years ahead.

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