Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The magical ingredients...for a perfect (kayaking) "10", on the Moray Firth.

Drama in rock.
The magical ingredients on this day were: a long-anticipated paddle, a marine forecast that kept its promise, and a stunning and dramatic coastline. Ian, who inspires and tempts us (and so many) with the excellent images and narratives in his blog, Mountain and Sea Scotland, put together the perfect paddle - and not far from home. After more than two months out of the cockpit, it was so good to be back on the water.

Wherever one is in the world, every kayaking adventure, large or small, begins with packing lots of kit...into small spaces.

Room for everything.
Ian kindly allowed the use of his Tiderace Xcite. Checking the initial "fit" on the felt great.

Launching is always the beginning of a grand adventure!

Leaving the quiet harbour at Sandend...

The adventure begins.
there are three possible directions to paddle, across the Firth, out into the North Sea to Norway (!) ...

or along the incredibly scenic and rugged coast of Aberdeenshire.

Just several paddle strokes later, it was clear that the latter choice would be both exhilarating and breathtaking.

Gentle swell off the North Sea.
With the possibility of basking sharks, twice the length of the kayaks, this "dorsal" fin got the photographer's heart rate elevated. In the ocean swell, it submerged and surfaced...

Ian, calmly paddling by the "dorsal" fin.
but it was just a rock. Plankton-eating basking sharks are harmless but they are the second largest fish in ocean - weighing up to seven tonnes! Only the whale shark is bigger. 

The ruins of Findlater Castle.
What appeared to be a dark, rocky, smudge from a distance, wasn't what it appeared to be either. The ruins of Findlater Castle date from the 1300s and replace an even earlier castle that was occupied by the Vikings. It is impossible to describe the feeling...almost a 1000 years have passed. What stories these ancient walls could tell.

A day on the water with a good friend, exploring spectacular rock formations, ancient castles, isolated beaches...

Such a varied shoreline.
secret passageways...a perfect "10"?

Surely, it can't get much better.

But it does. SO good to be back on the water again.

More to come...


  1. Hi Duncan, it does look so "magical". Staying tuned for the next instalment! It must be nice to be paddling again. :>) Gen.

  2. Hi Gen, nice to hear from you. Yes, it was simply way too interesting a paddle to limit to just one posting! :) Many thanks, and warm wishes, Duncan.

  3. Does "Spartan" know what you are up to in Bonnie Scotland?

  4. Haha! "Spartan" would be very happy, indeed, Mike. If he could be here, he would enjoy so much these waters! Thanks for that. Hope to see you soon. Duncan. For those who may wonder, "Spartan" is a sleek British-style kayak, waiting patiently, (with "Solstice") back in Canada. :)

  5. Mike, Duncan also told me that Spartan would be happy...but...I visited Spartan today and when I told him, he sadly drooped in the middle and his Celtic decals sagged. Duncan doesn't seem to understand what it is like to be abandoned.
    Glad you had a great time though D, and I'm sure you'll be forgiven.

  6. Haha! Well, I must admit that I am surprised anyone would feel that “Spartan” would be anything but absolutely delighted with the fact that his beloved paddler (me) has the opportunity to be back on the water again, albeit in “another” kayak. Love, after all, feels only joy in the knowledge that those we love…find and experience joy. I'm rather convinced, therefore, that Spartan is grinning broadly - along the entire length of his waterline! ;) Duncan.