Monday, 8 April 2013

Loch Sunart, a day of three otters

From inside the van, blue sky beckoned temptingly, steel and glass being a good barrier to the biting easterly wind. I launched near Glen More, on the southern shore of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, and was soon reaching for pogies as cold fingers refused to follow instructions. Within a kilometre I had encountered my first otter swimming unconcerned near my boat.

I picked my way along the north shore of Loch Sunart, past Glen Borrodale and Risga Island until I was opposite the island of Carna and made the short crossing into the wind. This was the home of otter number two, busily munching on a fish as I photographed him on the rocks.

I paddled through Caol Charna into Loch Teacuis through a narrow channel. Here I saw my first human of the day. Continuing on a circuit of Loch Teacuis I found respite from the wind on reaching the tree lined far shore. Now with an empty stomach a lunch break seemed in order. The new unscratched gelcoat beneath me meant I was super-fussy about where to land, but eventually picked my way against current through the narrows to find a spot both sheltered from the wind and benefiting from full sun. Coffee was soon brewing as I lapped up the sunshine.

I came to my senses as ominous looking clouds appeared over the hills of Arnamurchan. Narrow channels to the west of Carna had significant flow as Loch teacuis filled up so I hunted out the slack water and made easy progress. In the distance I spied another otter – too far away for a picture but I sat for a while enjoying watching it swim around oblivious of my delight.

As clouds lowered, I made my way quickly back to Glen More where my home-from-home yellow van stood out on the shore like a beacon.

This is where I went, a total of 25km paddled.

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