Archive for Bass Rock

Forth Favourites

Posted in Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags , , , , on October 6, 2014 by Jinja Coo

In the space of a week I was lucky enough to enjoy three paddles in some favourite places in the Forth after a bit of a break from the place…

First an evening paddle out to Bass Rock…
Great sunset, bouncy conditions, bird life and a gorgeous moonrise.

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…Then a misty crossing from North Berwick to the Isle of May and back..
Passing Bass Rock again for the second time in the week. However, it is impossible to get bored with the place. A day of stunning reflections on the water, great cliff and cave scenery and lots of seals and birds as well as some exploring of the Isle of May on foot…

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…Then finally, a trip out St Abbs way.
Paddling form Coldingham, west to beyond Fast Castle and back. More great cliff scenery, sleeping and awake seals and more bouncy conditions for interest too.

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Sleeping Seal

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A great week’s paddling!

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Summer Evening Visits to Bass Rock

Posted in Open Canoe, Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags on August 11, 2013 by Jinja Coo

It try not to visit Bass Rock too much as it is a real favourite, so it was unusual to head out twice in quick succession. Two evening paddles during a real summer weather spell in the same week. As usual, the gannets were the highlight but the other birds and seals were interesting too.

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Not only were we lucky with the sunshine and warmth, but the sea was relatively flat too, so it was easy to lie back and look up at the gannets (with mouth closed) as they came and went from their nests. At the highest point, they were holding position relative to the cliff in the breeze up there, fine tuning their final landings at their own nest between the not-so-welcoming beaks of neighbours. An amazing sight, as was that of them circling round, collision free in their thousands above us.

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With the tide being low, it was interesting to see the various hues taken on by the rocks exposed on the cliffs which have different exposures to sea water over the course of a day, the sun’s setting light warming things nicely on the bright side, quite the contrast with the dark side further round.

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Bass Rock – Long Time no See …

Posted in Kayak, Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags on August 17, 2012 by Jinja Coo

… at least not close up.

One of the very rare, gorgeous summery evenings this year had a few of us heading out Bass Rock for a paddle and attempt at making passage through the cave on foot. Unusually calm conditions out at the Rock coupled with a low tide, made access to both cave entrances easier than usual but a complete passage through was blocked by a foul looking pool of unknown depth. Perhaps the one mentioned in this account.

A really enjoyable place to visit with due to the number of birds, the seals, the scale of the cliffs and a feeling of remoteness and wildness just a couple of kilometers from the nearby town of North Berwick.

13th of October, 2010 – Night Paddle to Bass Rock

Posted in Kayak, Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags , on October 13, 2010 by Jinja Coo

Almost a year to the date of the last similar trip I joined in which we headed out from North Berwick in a loop towards Craigleith then on to Bass Rock before heading in towards Seacliff Beach for an intended stop then back to our starting point.

We met up with the last of the day’s light fading as we got ourselves organised, including the extra need for lighting, but by the time we had discussed our plans and launched it was actually already dark. Adorned with various glosticks and head torches we headed out through the waves.

The same route was followed as that taken last year but the main difference this year were in the level of surf at the shore. We launched in to some surf, not too bad at all but over the course of the trip I lost a map and case which I can only think was swept off unnoticed when a wave broke directly on to me on the way out. The water out from the shore was in no way rough though there must have been some swell to generate the surf. We quickly made progress over the Craigleith then without circumnavigating on to Bass Rock, using first a cardinal buoy en-route then the Bass lighthouse itself as navigation aids until the rock itself loomed large out the darkness like a giant iceberg. The white coating it receives form the birds still discernible even in the limited light coming from NB’s street lighting.

At the Bass, we split with a group rounding the rock whilst some of us waited beneath the lighthouse awaiting their return. It is always a bit lumpier round the back of the rock and with that in mind and the known absolute darkness round there, it was not an attractive prospect for some. From memory of last year’s trip though, I can say it is a pretty special experience – lack of vision gives rise to a much stronger sense and use of what ones ears, general awareness of movement and nose are telling you.

From the Bass, once we had re-grouped, we set off with tea and nibbles in mind to Seacliff Beach where we intended stopping for a rest. Aiming for the lights of a known house above the beach, we kept close together and chatted about the bioluminescence first then about the clearly and increasingly audible booming of surf ahead of us. We stuck even closer together as we approached the beach and were intending to go in one by one in the safer side, free of rocks. However, before deciding on any kind of plan as we slowed down, we were all taken by surprise rising and surging forward together as a wave caught all of us suddenly. With various expressions of surprise most of us back-paddled fast and watched as one member of the group, indicated by a headtorch, blasted all the way in though safely thankfully. Our tea stop was abandoned and once all back on the water safely, we continued back to start with no other events along the way.

Back at Milsey Bay where we started the surf was tiny and we landed almost without incident, just one member of the group having a wet exit just at the shore line.

Great trip – very atmospheric a spooky twist on a popular route which gives it an totally different feel.

1st of August, 2010 – Bass Rock

Posted in Kayak, Paddling, Sea Kayak, Surf with tags , on August 1, 2010 by Jinja Coo

Three of us had a short trip out to the Bass Rock in probably the calmest waters I’ve paddled out there. This allowed a lot closer inspection of the caves there than I have had before especially in the western entrance to the one that runs right through the Bass. Seals use the rocky beach at the back of this this as a home and we had a few of the younger ones showing quite an interest in us, swimming up close and under us whilst we explored as far as we dared by kayak.

I’m not sure if I would have the guts to walk through this, even the landing and launch in any level of surf look interesting given the consequences of an unexpected swim in the dark but I did find an interesting account from the past of someone who has which is sort of putting ideas in my head.

With the calm waters out at the Bass, I got complacent about my camera and rather than putting it back in the sealed box on my deck, I just left it tucked inside my buoyancy aid. Back at shore the breaking surf caught me out and the camera is no more. I managed to read off the last pictures it took but have now had to order a waterproof one which is what I really should have done in the first place.