Basking in Sunshine, but not for Long

After an early drive down from Ullapool, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about going paddling for some reason and that feeling was not improved by failed efforts to find anywhere for a longed-for coffee and cake for breakfast. However, I drove in to the top of Elgol with sunshine and a great view of the Cuillin looking a very inviting destination. There was a buzzing scene at the harbour down below of boats being readied and passengers dressed for good sea journeys in the area, it looked like everyone was out to enjoy the good weather.

Thankfully breakfast was sorted by one of the operators who sell coffee and snacks and with that my mojo was back and it was time to crack on. And crack on I did. With sunshine comes … midges apparently, and I couldn’t get my hot coffee drunk quickly enough and paddle gear on quickly enough to escape them.

Setting off from Elgol

Setting off from Elgol

I set off towards the Cuillin, still bathed in glorious sunshine, but now that I was looking at them continually, it was obvious after one a few hundred meters that less pleasant weather was developing, at least on the tops.

Sgurr na Stri

Sgurr na Stri

IMG_4707

Arriving at their base, just by the falls coming out of Loch Coruisk, it was already grey, then soon after, as I made my way out past dozens of seals on my route to Soay, it got wet too. Very wet and pretty windy, then very windy with interesting swell and chop developing. I made it in to the shelter of the harbour and clambered out over seaweed covered rocks up to the old shark fishing station and had my lunch inside what remains of the building, hoping the midges would leave me be. They did, the breeze probably saw to that. An interesting place but time was against me hanging around and in shorts, I didn’t want to wander too much in the bracken in case I picked up any ticks.

Gavin Maxwell's old Shark Fishing Station on Soay

Gavin Maxwell’s old Shark Fishing Station on Soay

Boiler for rendering shark livers

Boiler for rendering shark livers

Setting off again, the wind had dropped a bit, but in any case was now carrying me back to my start … which was out of sight through rain / mist and so my compass was guiding me for part of the way. Nice and bouncy conditions all the way back, good fun but quite a different finish to the day than how it had started. The ribs certainly looked like they were in for a bumpy ride as they headed out, full of wrapped up passengers, as I arrived back in.

Cuillin hiding beneath a veil of mucky weather

Cuillin hiding beneath a veil of mucky weather

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