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Thread: Pirates of the High Seas – Morar and Nevis

  1. #1
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    Default Pirates of the High Seas – Morar and Nevis

    Pull up a barrel, pour yourself some grog and gather thee round to hear a tale of the further adventures of the young Pirate Captains in the Highlands and Islands of the far north.

    This is the story of the fourth annual trip, as Captains Tobey, Alex and Ben lead expeditions to the wilder parts of these islands in search of treasure and the meaning of life. And chocolate. Which may well BE the meaning of life. Unless that’s wine.

    In previous years, they have voyaged down Loch Shiel, crossed loch and climbed mountains in Inverpolly, and taken their canoes for a walk in the hills by Loch Maree. This year, they would head north-westwards to the forbidding waters of two of Scotland’s most challenging lochs – Morar and Nevis. The plan was ambitious – to attempt a full circuit down Loch Morar, over the portage to Loch Nevis, up that deep and spectacular fjord, and out onto the High Sea to return via Mallaig to their starting point.





    Saturday, the Eighth Day of the Fourth Month

    They would meet on the shores of Britain’s deepest loch, with 8 full days ahead of them to complete this trip, for they expected many a day bound to their tents by the storms that regularly sweep through this wild part of the world.

    The Narrator, as usual, was last to arrive, after the long journey from the sunlit southern lands of Sussex. After purchasing vast quantities of supplies at the Trading Post of Fort William, he finally reached the shores of Morar in the late afternoon. Here much faffing commenced. Enough faffing that a boat was sent out by the Captains to find out what he was playing at, as they were already well and truly ensconced on a wild and beautiful island out in the loch. Captain Alex lead this rescue mission, crewed by Ableseamen Darren and Rob.






    With his gear stowed at last, finally they launched their craft and set a course across the calm waters of the loch towards An t-Eilean Meadhoin, the Middle Island. It was a lovely early evening, and views of pine-clad islands against a backdrop of rugged hills helped the Narrator relax immediately, the worries of normal life falling quickly away.









    The Narrator followed his companions around a wood-clad headland and into a lovely sheltered bay, where the smell of cooking welcomed him. Here he was greeted by the rest of the Expedition – Captains Tobey and Ben, Ableseawomen Lynne and Liz, and Seadog Wren. They had even levelled out a special place for the Narrator’s tent, and covered it with a comfortable layer of sand, service beyond the call of duty. His timing was perfect – dinner was about to be served, and soon he was set up with a steaming bowl of Lynne’s excellent chilli in his hands.





    As the Captains explored the island, built harbours on the beach, and cooked marshmallows, the Crew settled down to a lovely relaxing evening, the perfect start to a week of adventure. They lingered until after dark, as the moon rose and the stars came out to wheel endlessly above their little island paradise on this dark and brooding loch.




























    Before he had left the Last Civilized Place, the Narrator had printed out a magic prediction of the weather for the week ahead. In the past, this had normally turned into an entertaining work of fiction immediately the Expedition had set out, but it was hoped that it would be at least a guide to the moods of the Weather Gods they might encounter as they voyaged into the wilderness. And the gods did look a little angry…

    This document had indicated that the Sabbath should be a day of rest, for the Wind God was predicted to be at play, and the Rain God looked like joining him. The Captains deemed a day of island exploration was required, and the crew were very happy to comply.


    Sunday the Ninth Day of the Fourth Month

    They awoke in their little secret cove to mixed weather, a basically pleasant day punctuated with windy squalls and a band of heavy rain.





    First, a little fishing. Captain Alex led this exercise, instructing Ableseaman Darren, and amazingly they had a catch. OK, it wasn’t entirely enough to live on for a week, but fortunately they had brought other supplies with them.









    Of course, it had to go straight into the pan, for Captains are hungry and demanding.









    Between heavy showers, the Crew collected wood, explored their island home, and made their plans for the journey ahead, whilst the Captains practiced their seamanship and built dens and harbours. Seadog Wren revelled in her surroundings. At one point, a huge White Tailed Sea Eagle cruised overhead, too fast for the cameras to catch.







































    That evening, it was the Narrator’s turn to cook. He produced a Thai Green Curry that took a while to prepare, but cooking on a fire on an island is somehow never a chore, and the result seemed to go down well with Captains and Crew alike. The Pirates believe that happiness lies in the provision of fine fayre and that the avoidance of scurvy requires plenty of fresh food, and that vitamins are important, especially those in the red ballast.









    Evening brought a little brightness, between dark and heavy showers. It also brought another, slightly larger, fish to the pan. This time there was enough for the Captains to share a bite or two with the Crew, before Captain Alex borrowed the poor creature’s head to use as a monster for their game.


















    They celebrated their Fishy Feast with an unusual concoction – a grog called Baileys in Marshmallow cups.









    (This tale of derring-do will continue after a short rest for the Narrator to replenish his grog)
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  2. #2
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    Default Monday the Tenth Day of the Fourth Month – a Voyage Down Loch Morar

    They had spotted a weather window coming, all signs suggesting clearer skies and a lessening of the wind for the morning, as the Weather Gods got a little rest of their own. The Expedition’s original plan had them already at the far head of Loch Morar, but the previous day’s wind had prevented this. Instead, they would head straight for the infamous Portage to Loch Nevis, a place where once Ableseaman Darren, Ableseawoman Lynne, and Captain Tobey had suffered hardship before.

    The morning looked good, the loch had no white caps to the modest waves, and the Crew hurried to pack away their sprawling camp. Within only a few hours, they were ready to set sail, and to leave their island home behind them and brave the unknown.





    Weaving between the islands, they reached the open loch itself. They had chosen to voyage down the northern shore of the loch, taking advantage of the wind, which came from behind. Despite the calm amongst the islands, out on the loch itself the waves were already noticeable, and they needed to press on eastwards.

    As they travelled, they kept a sharp lookout at the helm, for this was the home of mighty Morag of Morar, legendary monster and girlfriend of Nessie.












    A squall hit them from behind, as they approached a small rocky headland, and here they had a fight with wind and wave. After ten minutes of hard work, they turned the promontory and beached for a rest before continuing once the waters had calmed.






    As the Expedition got further from the civilized end of Morar, the landscape became wilder, as did the water. Great towering cliffs squatted on steep, brown hills, and tall peaks disappeared up into gloomy clouds at the head of the loch.












    The waves were getting larger as the fetch of the loch got longer, but for now there were no touches of white on the wavetops. It was, however, a little disconcerting to be constantly crept up upon by the power of nature from behind, and to see the waves crashing against the rocky shore. Fortunately, the Captains are experienced sailors, and no landlubbers, so there was no sea sickness suffered.















    The Captains urged the Crew onwards, and it was now a race against the growing wind. After nearly seven miles, they turned, relieved, into calmer waters behind the headland of Rubha Dubh, the Black Point, where their portage would begin.















    They were ashore, and could begin to unload their vast pile of luggage including, of course, plenty of bags of Ballast in the form of Grog to fuel the Crew. Before they began the hard work, lunch was required. Behind them, there were now white wave caps on the loch, and whilst the Sun God was taking his turn in the sky, the Wind God wasn’t going to let them escape without a warning of his power as they eluded his grasp.









    Now the Expedition faced The Portage. A mile away to the north lay the bay at Tarbet, on the wild tide-washed shore of Loch Nevis. Between them a spine of hills climbed to a few hundred feet, the low-point a marked pass beneath higher hills. Through this gap, an old track climbs and descends. This looked easier than some of the portages the Captains had faced before, but as always, they were wary of ambush by Pirates in this narrow defile. The Captains went on ahead, to make sure the passage was safe, whilst the Crew laboured behind with their loads. Each crew member made two climbs to the summit with their cargo, before returning to the canoes, now attached to portable chariots, for a team effort pushing these up the steep track. The Sun God was giggling to himself now, for though previously he’d been welcomed with open arms, now the crew were hot and bothered by his presence.















    Finally they reached the summit of the track, where the Narrator distributed chocolate eggs from his never-ending bag of snacks. Ahead the track plunged downwards to a wild coast. Again, the Captains led the way, whilst the Crew loaded their canoes again and added lines to help them restrain the urges of the boat to escape downhill at high speed.
























    They had reached the tiny port of Tarbet. There are many settlements with such a name in Scotland, and they felt they knew all about the reason why, for the ancient meaning of “carry across” is something that they could feel in their muscles and their very bones.






    Now they had to find somewhere to camp. Captain Tobey and his Crew had stayed here once before, in a now defunct bunkhouse with Old Frank, a late and lamented legendary figure in these parts. The Captains wisely told the scruffy male members of the Crew to wait by the canoes, and took the Ableseawomen off to beg for a campsite. On the Captains’ Charts, this spot was marked as the Tower of Doom. They hoped this was not an omen.






    The Ableseamen waited for news. First the Captains visited the house across the bay. Then they walked across to the old Chapel, into which they disappeared for some time. What were they doing? As they awaited news, the menfolk planned where to pitch their tents, though it has to be said that all options looked pretty grim, a damp sloping field of muddy grass covered in the droppings of woolly animals seemed to be the best spot. They knew the Weather Gods were expected to be in angry mood for the next few days, and they had hoped to find a better-looking place to shelter for a while and wait it out.

    A man appeared from the direction of the old Chapel and walked towards them. They found it hard to read his intentions, and he opened the conversation after a brief “Hello”, and talk about the forecast, with “you’re not camping here”. Fortunately, this was immediately followed up with “because we’re putting you in the chapel”. Their prayers had been answered.

    For whilst this is not an “open to all” bunkhouse, the Laird has decreed that the Custodians should not turn away people in need if they had visited before, and Tobey had done so, and had been recognised. However, their accommodation was still a little bit “under construction”. This meant the Custodians felt unable to charge the Expedition for a few nights stay, but still hastened to prepare 8 beds for their guests. And honoured guests is how the Expeditioners were made to feel, the welcome to a bedraggled bunch of travellers was extraordinary, and it was made clear by Norman and by Dougie that they were to stay as long as they wanted to, and that if the weather did not relent then other onwards arrangements could be made. They parked their tired vessels and went inside to what felt like luxury accommodation. This was no Tower of Doom, this was an oasis in the wilderness. As the weather closed in outside, the Captains and Crew made themselves at home, and enjoyed Liz’s cowboy stew.


















    (More scribing fuel required, this tale will continue shortly)
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  3. #3
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    Excellent so far!

  4. #4
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    Default Tuesday the Eleventh Day of the Fourth Month – a wet and windy walk

    Reaching this safe haven meant that they could gain more information on the predicted behaviour of the Weather Gods. And that forecast was grim, the Wind God and the Rain God were very angry at their escape from Morar. They would be here for a few days, for the next part of their journey was full of risk if the conditions weren’t good. They were trapped on this wild and difficult shoreline.

    Captains are hardy, though, and like to challenge the Weather Gods at times. They planned a foray eastwards, on foot, to scout out the approach to the head of Loch Nevis. Off they headed up the short, steep climb from the Bay of Tarbet.














    Rounding the headland, the view ahead was bleak, and the vast mountain fortresses that surround the loch were hidden from view in sagging grey clouds.





    At the mysteriously named Kylesmorar they passed a few lonely smuggler’s cottages, and a battered old chariot adorned with the horns of some legendary beast.









    A little further on, the path became fainter, and fainter, and they clambered across slabby rocks. They had reached The Narrows, where the tidal loch waters flow fast and cruelly at times, an area through which they had planned to paddle in search of Treasure. They realised that this part of the plan would have to be aborted.






    They turned to return to the Tower of Doom, but as they did so, a cry went up! “What is that mysterious beast, swimming up The Narrows?” All gazed in awe as a large Fish-like creature leaped in and out of the water, heading up the loch with a Sense of Porpoise of its own.

    It was a wet walk back, but their spirits remained high for what awaited them wasn’t a dripping and flapping tarp, but a warm and dry shelter with very comfortable bunks. And a cauldron of sausage pasta…and lots of places to hang lots of wet gear…and room to play without wellies…
















    Wednesday, the Twelfth Day of the Fourth Month

    The following day, the Wind God was still a major presence, though he was roaring from a different direction and their bay itself was fairly calm. They could, though, see whitecaps on the waves out on the Loch. Again, they would be going nowhere, but it was clear that Dougie was happy to have them continue their stay. A rubbish fire was held on the beach by the Custodians. Well, it was quite a good fire, but you know what I mean.









    The Rain God was having a day off, and the Sun God even popped up quite often, so they made the most of the day with a walk back over the Pass to the shores of Morar. It was possible that they’d missed some treasure signs on the portage, so it was important that they made sure.





















    Captain Tobey was checking for tracks, and soon found sign of great horned beasties.









    Either giant sheep, or deer, but all they could see was normal sized woolly jumpers.









    They reached a perfect little beach on the shore, and there passed some pleasant time skimming stones and just relaxing over a little lunch.
























    Ableseawomen Liz built a mighty Cairn to watch over the shore.









    On the return, they passed a few friendly faces.






    As they arrived once more at Tarbet, an unusual sight awaited them. On most days, a ship visits this lonely outpost, the Ferry from Mallaig. Today it was delivering a particular item for one of the Custodians – mail order comfort.





    [



    Offshore, the loch still raged, would they ever escape from this wild and lonely place, or would they be doomed to live out their days in isolation? Secretly, I suspect some of the Ableseamen and women would rather like that idea…






    As they walked back towards the door, the Captains heard a report of some footprints. Big, bunny-shaped footprints. For in these lonely places, sometimes the Easter Bunny comes a little early, to ensure he can get around every deserving Captain. It was time for an Egg Hunt.
























    Once more, they returned to base, satisfied with their haul. Captains require copious quantities of chocolate Treasure to survive in the wilderness. Crew require copious quantities of Ballast…









    There was news of the Weather Gods’ mood relenting slightly, and they hoped to escape early the next morning, for they still wished to make it to the distant port of Mallaig. And their Ballast was running frighteningly low. It would be a tight window, they would need to be out exactly on time if they were to avoid the attention of the Wind God once again. So tonight, a Farewell Banquet was required, to which the honoured guest would be Dougie, their fine host and Chief Custodian. The pressure was on for the Narrator, for it was his turn in the galley, and the famous Bolognaise would now need to meet independent scrutinising.





    An excellent evening followed; there were even Poo Songs; as well as a fine unaccompanied song from their host, Dougie, which moved the Expedition greatly. The Narrator produced an oven-cooked chocolate chip bannock (better on a fire!). Some of the Crew became a little tired and emotional when Dougie brought out the special whisky to supplement their own supplies.


    (We break, once more, for a little rehydration)
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  5. #5
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    Default Thursday, the Thirteenth Day of the Fourth Month – Escape from Nevis

    An early rise, and an anxious check of the dawn horizon out on the loch. Both tide and weather patterns meant they had to be off soon after the Sun God made an appearance, if he actually bothered. The Tower of Doom was filled with the sounds of packing and loading, and the smell of strong coffee to help the Narrator get over his tiredness and emotion from the night before’s whisky.

    Soon, they were gathered by the shore, ready to launch an hour before the tide was at its highest.






    Sadly, they said their goodbyes to Dougie, the perfect host, who had looked after them, provided whisky and song, and been such good company, all despite the fact that the Expedition had literally arrived over the hill from nowhere, pushing canoes, without the slightest warning.






    Now for the serious bit. The Expedition planned to traverse the length of Loch Nevis, hoping to reach the distant headland of Rubha Raonuill, on the northern point where the loch is open to the Seven Seas. They would, though, hug the eastern and northern shores, and if the Wind God showed his face too much, they would stop at the Remotest Village, Inverie, before considering their options the next day.

    Heading out of the Bay of Tarbet, they first had to cross the loch on the early morning’s calm seas, a section of well over a mile. As they left, they had a glimpse of the “Big House” where stays The Laird when he is in town. Dougie had told them that if he had been visiting whilst they were there, it would have meant an invitation to dinner, and that Ableseaman Darren and the Narrator would have been at high risk of multiple dram poisoning.









    The crossing went without mishap, just a few moderate bouncy waves. So far, so good.






    Ableseawomen Lynne wrestled with the chart, as inevitably it was on the wrong side just when they needed it. Until then, the Narrator/Navigator had been relying on his magic map device, but this was small and today he wanted the bigger picture.






    They made their way up the wild shoreline, beneath towering mountain sides where deer watched, puzzled, as their small flotilla passed.






    They had been paddling for a couple of hours now, and the Wind God was wakening. For now, he was fairly calm, but soon the Expedition would become exposed to the full Westerly that the God was sending to test them.


















    As they approached the small isle of Creag an Eilein, they were exposed to the full fetch from the loch’s wide entrance to the west, and the Wind God spotted them. Lines of white-tipped waves came at them from the side, and here they had to take diagonal lines to keep bow or stern angled into the swell. A zig-zagging course was the only option, and they had a battle on their hands. Shore was close at hand, but any landing would be wet and difficult, so they persevered. It was, though, hard to keep the fleet together, as each craft had to pick its own line, and the Wind God was making many of the choices for them.

    The Narrator was luckiest, as he was in the lightest boat. Alex and Ben’s canoe was doing well, riding the waves gamely, though their work was cut out for them. Captain Tobey’s canoe was struggling a little, as with lower freeboard, they risked taking on water at each turn. Instead, they reduced their number of zig-zags, but this meant being further away from the rest of the fleet and the shoreline. It was with a sense of relief that the Expedition gathered in the sheltered waters of Inverie Bay, behind the gentle hill of An Cnap.















    It had been a hard battle, but all were safely ashore for a rest. Tobey’s canoe had taken on some considerable water in the last run in to shore, so the Crew got to work.






    Nearby were some trees, and as the Captains were quite cold, their shelter was sought and a small fire-pit used to warm them once again as Hot Chocolate was supplied. It turned out that the Easter Bunny had sneaked some items into the Narrator’s bag too, which was useful at this moment in time.












    Across the bay, the Remotest Village awaited their attention. Shortly they crossed the bay, much more easily now, and took shelter beneath the massive stonework of Inverie Pier.









    The Expedition had some urgent needs. Firstly, they needed to know the most up to date Weather God Forecast. Secondly, they’d run out of Ballast. Some of the Crew headed ashore, but it took a good while to solve both shortages. Fortunately, it was a success, and the weather signs were reasonable, and limited Ballast supplies acquired. They had a chance at escape on the morrow, so could move on around the bay to Smuggler’s Cove at the headland of Rubha Raonuill, ready to take their chance if the Wind God was in the right mood. They headed off once more.






    The Wind God was having a bit of a siesta, but his mate, the Rain God, decided to go and check out the Expedition as they paddled around the loch, parallel to the shore.






    Soon enough they were leaving behind the metropolis of Inverie Bay, and approaching the headland that would be there home for the night. Behind them, the hills were moody.









    Threading through the small rocky isles of Sgeirean Dearga, the Red Teeth, they felt eyes upon then. Had Morag left her home and followed them to Nevis? Were Mermaids gathering to sing Siren Songs to the Crew? No, it was Ron and his friends, Harbour Seals, seven of them at least.






    As the Narrator dawdled, it was obvious to him that these magnificent creatures were merely curious, and they followed him for the rest of the voyage, always just behind and glimpsed only out of the corner of the eye.






    Approaching Rubha Raonuill, their long voyage was nearly over. A figure, perched on a plinth, looked over them, hopefully benevolently.









    Just around the point was a sheltered Smuggler’s Cove, a wonderful spot of sand and pebble, lapped by clear seas, where they would shelter for the night.









    They were camped on a wild coastline, on a grassy platform between sheltered bay and the wild, windswept, rocky shore of the western seas, a wonderful place to spend the night. There was even a sheltered alcove in the rocky headland, where barely a breath of the quickly-rising wind reached, making a perfect place for the galley and dining room.












    Almost as soon as they were settled in after their Longest Voyage, the Captains were off exploring. For this was declared to be a prime Pirate Stronghold, and it seemed treasure was likely. They forced Ableseawoman Lynne to clamber over hill and cliff to help support their Quest, and were off looking for “X Marks the Spot”.





















    Yet again fortune was with them, for there were 3 Treasure Chests to match the 3 Captains; it remains an amazing coincidence that this always happens.









    Not content with their energetic explorations, the Captains decided to head off and visit the Statue across the bay, referred to quietly by the Narrator as the Madonna-with-the-Flat-Boobies. The Crew, relieved not to be forced to keep up, settled back to watch from afar.












    At some point, dinner was served, superb Venison Chili from Liz’s kitchen, and the limited rations of replenished Ballast were consumed, before the Crew wandered over the rocks of their Headland Home, and gazed slightly anxiously westward, to the crossing that faced them in the morning. The rocks and pools were full of the dismembered remains of poor creatures ripped apart by some cruel mythical beasts. Or maybe the otters which clearly had their home here, judging by the spraint and remains all over the place, and the suspicious hole just near camp. Other creatures also lived here; Ron was still out in the bay keeping an eye on things, and two small wriggly looking things were seen by the Captains, and out of the corner of the eye by various members of the Crew. They weren’t Weasily recognisable, so nobody was Stoatally sure what they were…






























    Tonight, they would go to bed early. They’d had a long day, but in the morning, they had to be up well before the Sun God in order to catch the tide and avoid the attention of the Wind God. A dawn launch was the plan. First, though, the Rain and Sun gods combined to give them a show – was this a sign of their good will towards the Expedition?











    [Top up your goblets again, folks]
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  6. #6
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    Default Friday, Fourteenth Day of the Fourth Month – Across the Sea to Mallaig

    This was the big day, and many of the Crew slept a little fitfully. The Expedition had one chance, and one chance only, to escape from their Headland and reach the Legendary Port of Mallaig, before the Wind God woke up again and roared his displeasure in their direction. For this to happen, they needed to leave their Smuggler’s Cove well before High Tide, and just after sunrise, to cross the mile-wide entrance of the huge Loch Nevis, before following the coast along to Mallaig.

    From there they hoped to continue onwards to the beautiful Silver Sands, but this would depend on the conditions they would face once exposed to the westerly winds.

    Looking out of the tent, all was quiet. It was a “go”.









    As they de-camped and prepared for the Sea Crossing, there was a little tension in the air. Inevitably, the calmest period was gone by the time they slipped their canoes quietly onto the salty water, but the wind was still low enough for them to make the attempt.













    Keeping closer together, they set a diagonal course, meeting the waves at an angle, as they headed towards the distant shoreline beneath the massive bulk of Sgurr an Eilein Ghiubhais. Keeping the fleet close together, they paddled steadily, keeping an eye out for Pirate Ships.















    As they approached the far shore, their most dangerous crossing having passed without incident, they looked back at the mountain fastness of Knoydart, just as the Sun God fired his beams through the ever-changing clouds.









    Across the sea, the jagged Cuillin peaks of the wild island of Skye lined the horizon.






    Their escape was nearly complete, but the Wind God was not going to let them get away easily. As they neared the headland beyond which lies the safe haven of Mallaig port, the wind strengthened and the waves became choppier. Soon they would have to decide – turn into the harbour and finish their voyage there, or continue onto the open sea and paddle around the coast to Silver Sands.
























    It was an easy decision to make. Not only were the westerly winds rising quickly, but to reach Silver Sands they would have to turn broadside to the fetch, or zig-zag for miles, and yesterday’s battle was not forgotten. There was also the not-unimportant matter of the Mallaig Eateries which were about to open and start serving breakfast…so into the harbour they turned.















    And that was the end of their epic voyage, though not the end of the Expedition. They had successfully voyaged on wild lochs and choppy seas, despite challenging conditions for much of the time, and whilst they had not completed the full circle, they were proud of what they had achieved.

    With canoes parked safely on a small beach deep in the harbour, and the good folk of Mallaig looking at these scruffy travellers who’d arrived from nowhere in tiny craft, they crossed the road to the nearest café serving bacon…where most of them upgraded to Haggis…and celebrated their success.

    There remained the small matter of their chariots, parked by the shore of Loch Morar some distance away. Fortunately, this part of the world is serviced by the most picturesque Iron Road, and three of the Crew were happy to make the most of this opportunity, though it would also mean a two mile walk from Morar village.

    Inevitably, when they checked the timetable, the next train would leave in 5 minutes, and they had to rush to catch it. Sadly, it was not a fire-and-smoke-spitting steam engine, but something that looked more like the commuter trains in the Metropoli they were familiar with. After just a 3 mile ride, they disembarked at the tiny halt of Morar, and commenced a pleasant walk along the loch.






    Soon their chariots came into view, and the circle was closed.






    It was a matter of just minutes to return to the harbour, and a matter of flipping ages before they’d faffed with gear, generally messed about, and replenished all their supplies in a nearby Victualler’s.






    Now they had another decision to make; move to the coast and stay in a place with Steaming Hot Showers and Seated Lavatories, or return to the Islands of Morar and dig holes. They chose the latter, strange folk as they are. Two more days would be spent in this beautiful wild country, before returning for one civilized night to scrub up before they had to meet too many normal folk.

    First, though, they had a mission to complete. Custodian of the Tower of Doom, Dougie, returns to live in a cottage near Silver Sands when he is not working in Tarbet, and they wished to thank him for his hospitality. A bottle of strong Jura Grog was deemed an acceptable gift, and they managed to find his abode and deliver their gift to his puzzled son, before he returned himself after his week’s hard labour putting up with Captains and Crew. And then, once more, they took their chariots along the loch shore ready to depart for the islands again…



    [Maybe the last chance to top up before the end. Then again…]
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  7. #7
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    Default To the Islands Once More

    Once more they found themselves heading for An t-Eilean Mheadhoin, where they had decided to land in a more sheltered Secret Camp that they had spotted the previous weekend. For the Wind God knew they had escaped his wrath, and was expected to send an angry riposte over the next day and a half.






    Landing once more on The Island in the Middle, they sought out a small bay near the southern tip, with the tiniest of beaches. Others resided in their previous campsite, but with the Wind God due a visit they were happy. When last here, Ableseaman Darren had found a sheltered little hollow behind a sprawling yew tree, with flat ground. Here they landed, and set up a hidden camp.















    Camp chores were dolled out to the Crew, whilst the Captains rested after digging and lining a fire pit.


















    That evening was lovely, all the stresses of the journey now behind them, and a day simply sat on a remote and beautiful island awaited them. And they had replenished the Ballast.









    [very quick break this time folks]
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    Default Sunday, the Sixteenth Day of the Fourth Month – goodbye to the wilderness.

    Their last full day began with a morning paddle to Eilean Ban for Ableseaman Darren and the Narrator. This proved to be a pleasant, moss covered place, with towering trees, ancient walls and a modest pier.






































    Returning once more to Secret Camp, they found the Easter Bunny had been again, this time on the right day…






    Sadly, they cleared their home of any trace other than a little tramped ground, returning turfs to the fire pit, and making sure their site was clean. As the Captains played by the shore for one last time, they loaded their canoes ready for the brief paddle back to the mainland.




























    It was still quite windy out on the loch, but by now they were experts at the zig-zag, and the voyage back to the chariots was quick and relatively painless.













    And there, on the windswept shores of a wild and lonely loch, their odyssey ended. It had been an amazing voyage, a tough adventure at times, and not without its scary moments in mountainous seas, but by taking advantage of the brief weather windows, and thus surprising the Weather Gods when their guard was down, they had successfully achieved their main aim.






    They loaded their chariots, but their time in this beautiful land was not yet quite over, for they would spend one last night be the shores of the ocean, at a place equipped with Hot Water and very, very nice views; Portnadoran.
    Here they pitched their camp for one last time, before wandering the shore, gazing westward to the isles. After an evening spent in a local Inn, they watched last light fade over the magical isles of Eigg and Rum, a fitting end to their adventure in the wilds.




















    And there ends this tale of Pirates and of Captains. Until we meet again…
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

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    Default Information

    This was a different trip in some ways. Whilst we have paddled big open lochs before, the distances across open waters have normally been short. On this trip, not only were we planning on paddling on some of the UK’s bigger lochs, but we’d also be on tidal waters, in an area known for difficult currents, and we would be attempting a couple of long crossings as well as paddling around the coast. It was therefore essential that we planned it well, that we allowed lots of time to wait for the weather, and that we had back up plans and escape routes.

    The route is regularly done by sea kayakers, as well as hardier open canoeists including quite a few members of this forum. Taking families with children required very careful thought though.

    The actual paddling part of this trip could be done in 3-4 days in good weather. We allowed 8 full days, with optional legs to the head of both Morar and Nevis that we had to miss out. Having a decent forecast proved key to our confidence, and to paddle the legs from Tarbet to Rubha Raonuill, and then the leg from there to Mallaig, was only possible because we took advantage of the only 2 possible weather windows we had. XC weather was the main source, and I did manage to pick up an update in the little shop/info centre in Inverie. Dougie and Norman at Tarbet would be happy to provide forecasts to passing folk where possible; we took advantage of this, so actually had up-to-date information all the time. Funnily enough, this actually stuck very close to the printed weather forecast I’d grabbed on the Friday afternoon before leaving the south coast!

    Tides add another dimension, and there are some very odd currents on Loch Nevis (Lynne and Rob both had experiences of unusual currents on previous visits, possibly a tidal eddy effectively). We therefore planned to do all the major crossings, and to pass headlands, either side of slack high tide. For us, this meant leaving an hour to an hour and a half before high, which fell early in the morning. As is often the case, this was also the time of day when the wind was calmest.

    Tidal flow out of the loch towards Mallaig is actually relatively low, though you’d still want to avoid wind over tide if possible. The bigger problem here is the big exposure to the westerlies – its nearly 15 miles to Rum…

    The route on Paddle Points: http://www.paddlepoints.net?R=676&A=4142

    Conditions

    Despite our grabbing of the weather window, our last half mile into Inverie Bay was harder than we would have liked to have, and not without risk of swamping. The headland at Creag an Eilein is almost opposite the loch entrance so westerly winds come straight at it from the sea, and the fetch is many miles. We could have chosen to beach a few minutes earlier and carry around, but we chose to continue, staying fairly close to shore. It was rough, the wind was maybe F4 or so for a short time, but the canoes and crew handled it well. Not something to recommend unless you are experienced and confident in your paddling though.

    The rest of the paddling did involve some waves, and occasional winds of F3-4 but with less fetch. We hugged the shore as much as possible.

    The two major crossings (Tarbet across to the N shore of Nevis [2km+], and across the entrance to Loch Nevis [1km] were only done because we could take the opportunity of lower winds (est F2)


    Escape Options


    From Morar
    Return if wind permits. Walk out along shore (not a portage I’d fancy!!). Portage to Tarbet.

    From Tarbet
    Portage back to Morar if forecast to be more sheltered (e.g. NW-NE winds). Walk out via Morar shore. Ferry to Mallaig (talk to Tarbet locals and try to call first, but they would take you out).

    From Inverie
    Ferry to Mallaig as above.

    From Rubha Raonuill
    Return to Inverie along north shore of loch, then as above.


    Distances

    Morar Islands to the portage at South Tarbet bay 7m head of the loch another 4m
    Portage 0.8m (103m climb/117m descent)
    Tarbet to An Cnap 5.2m (initial crossing 1.6m but could shorten)
    Tarbet to Inverie 6.3m
    Tarbet to Rubha Raonuill hugging east side of loch 8.7m
    Rubha Raonuill to Mallaig 4.6m (crossing part 1.2m on a diagonal)
    Train Mallaig to Morar 3m
    Walk Morar to cars near islands 2m
    Total, a less than impressive week’s paddling 😊 27m

    Mallaig

    We used the public slipway (GR NM676970) alongside the pier which exits onto East Bay road almost opposite the junction with Davies Brae. From the water, this is alongside the pier which the Knoydart Ferry moors against, and is a little tucked away. The Harbour Master encouraged us to use this – previously I’d come across sea kayaks being told they couldn’t launch there, though this may have been more about parking I guess, and certainly wasn’t the Harbour Master. Anyway, he confirmed it was a public slipway. We nipped back with the cars and parked on the slip just to load, as quickly as we could.

    The Co-op is just up the street towards the station, just a few yards from the slipway on the same side of the street.

    There’s lots of parking in Mallaig, but to be honest it can be very busy. We couldn’t park in the main car park as you come into town, it was full. The next option is all around the side of the harbour, the further you go the more likely you can park. Neither are particularly near the slipway, but either are fine for leaving cars for multiple overnights – it happens all the time round here.

    There are plenty of cafes and pubs.


    Inverie

    When open, the pub and the café are useful. There’s a small shop/visitor info place roughly opposite the café – its not a “proper” shop, more souvenirs, but has local meat and an alcohol cabinet (which only started selling a couple of days before we got there!). There is a farm shop 20 minutes walk away in the bunkhouse direction. There’s also a Post Office with very limited supplies and opening hours.

    There’s a public loo on the pier.

    Arisaig

    Reasonable SPAR shop, and the Arisaig Hotel. The food and beer there was excellent on our last night.


    Campsites

    We like Portnadoran, a couple of miles north of Arisaig, for its rocky shore, beach and simplicity, though you can’t go far wrong in this part of the world, all the main ones are in wonderful locations. The facilities and site are fairly basic, but that’s all you need after a week digging holes and washing in lochs.


    Wild Camping

    Wild camping on the Morar islands is wonderful. There are a few options, not that many, on the main islands, but there are enough. Bigger groups than ours might struggle.
    Further up the loch there are a number of options, though they won’t be as sheltered. Lynne and Darren have camped up by Oban bothy before.

    Tarbet isn’t so easy. We got lucky with the “bunkhouse”, and had a little insider knowledge thanks to Tobey and co’s previous visit; this isn’t an option for everybody. Its clear they don’t want to open this up to all-comers, and it is not a place advertised anywhere, though equally I know folk would be looked after in an emergency. I’m sure the locals would be happy for folk to camp on the field though, but its not the nicest of places, a bit muddy and covered in sheep poo. A mile or so up the coast in either direction would appear to offer better options.

    Around Inverie Bay, there are options by An Cnap, a nice cheap campsite at Long Beach near the Knoydart Foundation Bunkhouse, and probably the odd spot to the north of the bay. Out by Rubha Raonuill there might be a few other options than ours, but the spot we used in the bay on the southern side of the headland is wonderful, if a bit exposed.

    Weather

    You’ll get some.

    All the locals use XC Weather, as do I. Good for wind. The forecast I printed on the Friday was remarkably good for the whole week, but this can only be an exception.


    Thank yous

    To Dougie at Tarbet, for being the perfect host, kind and genial, and making us know we could stay as long as we liked whilst waiting for the conditions to turn, and for letting us know they’d get us out if we were stuck. Hope the Jura met your approval but lasted a little longer than the bottles you shared with us.

    To Norman, who remembered Tobey in particular, for making sure we were able to stay in the first place. Hope your Ireland holiday was fun.

    To Mollie and ?Amy who helped get the place ready for unexpected guests. We REALLY weren’t expecting two fluffy new pillows each having just spent hours portaging boats across the hillsides!

    Also to Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the “Laird” in these parts, for expressly letting his people know that they are fine to welcome such folk as us with traditional highland hospitality.

    And of course, to my companions on our Expedition, Captains Tobey, Alex and Ben, and Crew Lynne, Darren, Liz and Rob, and not forgetting Wren the Seadog. So, about that “cross-Scotland” trip……Rannoch looked lovely on the drive home….

    Finally, thank you to the Ticks for staying away for once, not one tick on a Human this year, though poor old Wren had a few…but she will stick her nose in their homes…
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  10. #10
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    Sorry it took so long to get this posted this year folks!
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    I'm so impressed. Such an audacious plan, considering the weather potential, remoteness and ages of the Captains. This is absolutely what adventures are made of. The blogg was brilliant, so well written and stunning photos. I was particularly impressed that you got some pictures of the sea conditions on some of the hairy crossings.

    Mike

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    impressive as usual

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    Fantastic account of a brilliant trip, well done Mal.
    Lucky kids!
    Welding and fabrication for forum members.

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    A masterpiece of a blog and a triumph of adventure planning with children - nice one Uncle Mal.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

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    I don't have the superlatives to say what I think about the blog and photos Mal.
    I would say though, that those lads seem to have doubled in size since you all started doing this, and it's great to see them still doing and enjoying it.
    Well done to parents and uncle for showing them the path.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

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    Incredible blog! I hope one day those children look back (one day) and appreciate all you have given them.

    Thank you. I'm new to this site but learning that your blogs are ones to watch out for.

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    A fantastic trip - what memories these kids will have for years to come!

    Superb planning, inspired write-up and (as usual) stunning photos!

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    Worth the wait for it .... Consumed over breakfast coffee.
    Well done to all concerned.
    MarkL
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  19. #19
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    I really enjoyed the blog, great photos too. Lucky kids. One day they'll look back with real gratitude. Glad to know I'm not the only one with the Weasely distinguished but Stoatally different gag on repeat.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

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    Fantastic blog & photos. Admiration (and a little jealousy) at planning such an expedition and to succeed despite the best effort of the Wind & Rain Gods !
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  21. #21
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    Superb blogg of a fantastic trip. I know I am not alone in looking forward to this blogg appearing each year. I'm sure I will read it a few times in anticipation of next years
    John

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    Superb blog, that looked like a proper adventure.
    You don't stop playing because you are old, you get old because you stop playing.

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    WOW..... that was awesome cracking blog

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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    Superb blogg of a fantastic trip.
    What John said.

    I especially admired the action photo of the dog leaping out of the water.
    Not in Oxford any more...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by maryinoxford View Post
    What John said. .
    ++1 for that ... Lynn's synchronized one will appear next which I also wait for
    MarkL
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  26. #26
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    Thanks folks. This one was a little different, what with days spent indoors and some serious open water!

    Lynne's is nearly done, I believe she's spent the weekend cub-wrangling in a field, and as I'm heading south tomorrow, I couldn't wait longer to post. It'll be worth the wait.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bananaboat View Post
    I'm so impressed. Such an audacious plan, considering the weather potential, remoteness and ages of the Captains. This is absolutely what adventures are made of. The blogg was brilliant, so well written and stunning photos. I was particularly impressed that you got some pictures of the sea conditions on some of the hairy crossings.

    Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by Patterdale Paddler View Post
    A masterpiece of a blog and a triumph of adventure planning with children - nice one Uncle Mal.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiP View Post
    Fantastic blog & photos. Admiration (and a little jealousy) at planning such an expedition and to succeed despite the best effort of the Wind & Rain Gods !
    Cheers guys. Planning was indeed everything on this trip, plus the ability to sit and be patient, then go for it no matter what time of day it was when we needed to. Yes it was an audacious plan with kids, but allowing lots of spare days helped, as well as the knowledge that if necessary, we could buy ourselves out on the ferry!


    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    I don't have the superlatives to say what I think about the blog and photos Mal.
    I would say though, that those lads seem to have doubled in size since you all started doing this, and it's great to see them still doing and enjoying it.
    Well done to parents and uncle for showing them the path.
    Ta Paul. Its not difficult to find motivation to write these blogs, the places and the people are wonderful. As for the kids growth...must be all those spag bols...


    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    Superb blogg of a fantastic trip. I know I am not alone in looking forward to this blogg appearing each year. I'm sure I will read it a few times in anticipation of next years
    I say it every year....but its all YOUR fault, for starting up this site in the first place. Add in the odd inspiring blog from people like Moosehead, scoutmaster and the like, and of course Lynne herself, and its more a case of knowing which to choose next rather than having to motivate myself to go.


    Quote Originally Posted by Turas Mara View Post
    I really enjoyed the blog, great photos too. Lucky kids. One day they'll look back with real gratitude. Glad to know I'm not the only one with the Weasely distinguished but Stoatally different gag on repeat.
    Lynne had some more useful little ditty....which I've completely forgotten!


    Quote Originally Posted by maryinoxford View Post
    What John said.

    I especially admired the action photo of the dog leaping out of the water.
    That's one of my favourites. Sticking the DSLR in "Sports" mode and using the long lens works amazingly well.
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  28. #28

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    Stupendous blog and photos Mal. I've started, but not finished, a PowerPoint presentation for the boys to take to school, and it's much shorter than this!! It was a fantastic trip, as ever. I have a vague recollection of feeling miffed at the weather while we were there, but now seem to only have fabulous memories of the whole trip. The photo of Alex paddling on his own (picture 24) is my fave of the whole trip.

    Cub (and Beaver) wrangling now over, although we're all so sleep deprived, the chance of Lynne finishing her blog without falling asleep at the screen is still probably fairly slim!

  29. #29

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    Fantastic blogg, and definitely an inspiration. Thanks so much for posting.

  30. #30
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    I thought the blog might start to get slurred with all those grog breaks!!!

    Excellent stuff!! I doth my cap to you all.

    Thanks for taking (God knows how much) time to share with us.

    cheers
    If I could only paddle like a doggie oughta paddle

  31. #31
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    Brilliant blog of a wonderful adventure, a great voyage to be shared around the campfire
    when the captains are of an age for grog n ballast. Congrats to all.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Bootstrap View Post
    Stupendous blog and photos Mal. I've started, but not finished, a PowerPoint presentation for the boys to take to school, and it's much shorter than this!! It was a fantastic trip, as ever. I have a vague recollection of feeling miffed at the weather while we were there, but now seem to only have fabulous memories of the whole trip. The photo of Alex paddling on his own (picture 24) is my fave of the whole trip.

    Cub (and Beaver) wrangling now over, although we're all so sleep deprived, the chance of Lynne finishing her blog without falling asleep at the screen is still probably fairly slim!
    Funny how quickly we forget the weather. TO be honest, it wasn't that bad, apart from the very wet walk, it was just a bit windy. Nothing on that might on the Maree islands last year!

    All the photos of the kids paddling are great.

    Can't wait for Lynne's blog, and the videos. She's allowed a little sleep first.



    Quote Originally Posted by spynappels View Post
    Fantastic blogg, and definitely an inspiration. Thanks so much for posting.
    Lynne's blogs have inspired most of this, amongst others, so if I can do my bit, great.


    Quote Originally Posted by BaldMan Jump View Post
    I thought the blog might start to get slurred with all those grog breaks!!!

    Excellent stuff!! I doth my cap to you all.

    Thanks for taking (God knows how much) time to share with us.

    cheers
    Cheers Nige. Didn't take as long as the Sweden one, it was just the shitty old laptop making the photo editing so slow. Now bought a new laptop...


    Quote Originally Posted by terry. young View Post
    Brilliant blog of a wonderful adventure, a great voyage to be shared around the campfire
    when the captains are of an age for grog n ballast. Congrats to all.
    Hopefully by then THEY'LL be carrying it all for US...

    Thanks Terry.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey
    Didn't take as long as the Sweden one
    just in time for the next Sweden one to approach again.
    MarkL
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    Fantastic blog and what a trip, inspirational stuff, especially with the Captains, thank you

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    Nice to see a bit of piracy and traditions being maintained.

    Great trip - well done to all involved.


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    Inspirational as ever and a wonderful spot for a trip: we did a good bit of paddling around that area last summer on our way back from Harris (where we also did a fair bit of paddling). My wife (who isn't a member here) absolutely loves your "pirate trips". We have adopted three children and your blogg is extremely useful in picking up tips on how to help them thoroughly enjoy canoeing and camping so thank you.

  37. #37
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    Finally back with WiFi... Top drawer bloggage, fantastic photos as ever. Well done all for completing the trip

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    Wow. Super inspirational. I'm guessing that a lot of planning went into this trips. Where do you obtain detailed tidal information, heights and tide streams, for Scotland from?

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    Fantastic blogg , great pictures as always. Brought back some great memories, albeit of my failed attempt to complete the circle.

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    Nice one Mal, great story telling of what looks like a memorable trip.
    Good job you had the Captains experience to fall back on
    Cheers
    Tim


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    Brilliant stuff. We nearly went up to Portnadoran at Easter ....... seems you all enjoyed your adventure

    "Pedal five hundred miles on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature" - Pierre Trudeau

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    Epic journey matched with an epic blog. Well done all.
    Big Al.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cr500dom View Post
    Fantastic blog and what a trip, inspirational stuff, especially with the Captains, thank you
    Cheers Dom


    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Nice to see a bit of piracy and traditions being maintained.

    Great trip - well done to all involved.

    Traditions are important, especially when they involve chocolate...


    Quote Originally Posted by Lime View Post
    Inspirational as ever and a wonderful spot for a trip: we did a good bit of paddling around that area last summer on our way back from Harris (where we also did a fair bit of paddling). My wife (who isn't a member here) absolutely loves your "pirate trips". We have adopted three children and your blogg is extremely useful in picking up tips on how to help them thoroughly enjoy canoeing and camping so thank you.
    Thing is, even the little adventures closer to home can be just as much fun for the kids. Hopefully you and your new crew can get on a nice easy canoe camp sometime to get you started. It honestly doesn't matter where this is.


    Quote Originally Posted by Davy 90 View Post
    Finally back with WiFi... Top drawer bloggage, fantastic photos as ever. Well done all for completing the trip
    Cheers Ade. Hope Wales was fun.


    Quote Originally Posted by Schooner View Post
    Wow. Super inspirational. I'm guessing that a lot of planning went into this trips. Where do you obtain detailed tidal information, heights and tide streams, for Scotland from?
    Partly internet, partly speaking to people who've done it before. I use easytide for the basic tidal info (you can buy "tokens" to get future tables well in advance). Generally the tidal fall isn't that huge in terms of height in these parts, but the features of the landscape (and underwater) are very much in play and these can do all sorts of weird things.
    Other sites can give you an idea of size of flow if you don't have access to full detailed charts. YR.no, the weather site, has maps which can be used to see the patterns and strength of streams in a fairly general wasy: https://www.yr.no/kart/#lat=57.1073&...raum&proj=3575 (not working right now). Just change the time at the top by dragging the marker along, size and colour of arrows give you the strength. No good for detailed work, but gives an idea.
    We knew that the tidal stream along the coast around Mallaig is fairly low. Far more important was the wind. However, by making sure we did all the critical tidal bits (crossings, headlands etc) in a 2 hour window around high tide, we effectively took tides out of the equation.


    Quote Originally Posted by markpfc View Post
    Fantastic blogg , great pictures as always. Brought back some great memories, albeit of my failed attempt to complete the circle.
    I'm sure there will be another time!


    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    Nice one Mal, great story telling of what looks like a memorable trip.
    Good job you had the Captains experience to fall back on
    What would we do without them?! (Probably just sit in camp drinking ballast and never getting anywhere...)


    Quote Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
    Brilliant stuff. We nearly went up to Portnadoran at Easter ....... seems you all enjoyed your adventure
    Shame you didn't, we could have roped you in to a little extra portage work...


    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    Epic journey matched with an epic blog. Well done all.
    Cheers Al. Having done the route to Mallaig on the summer Knoydart trip definitely helped!
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  45. #45
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    Awesome bit of blogging Mal,your photography is second to none.

  46. #46
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    Epic photo Mal.
    Quote Originally Posted by maryinoxford View Post
    What John said.

    I especially admired the action photo of the dog leaping out of the water.
    Dr. Joe
    Electric Hospital
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  47. #47
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    Probably the best blog for a long, long time. Exceptional photos, superbly written and an outstanding achievement. Well done all and many thanks for sharing it with us.
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    Awesome bit of blogging Mal,your photography is second to none.
    Thanks mate. Taking more and more of my time up though!


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Joe View Post
    Epic photo Mal.
    Its one of a sequence in "sports mode", rapid fire. The others were "OK", but that one stood out, as Wren was in the perfect pose, having a whale of a time.


    Quote Originally Posted by 25272527 View Post
    Probably the best blog for a long, long time. Exceptional photos, superbly written and an outstanding achievement. Well done all and many thanks for sharing it with us.
    Mike
    Thank you. Keep an eye out for Lynne's accompanying blog, but she's busy with stuff at the moment.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  49. #49
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    Great stuff and real adventures in a beautiful part of the world, Fab stuff!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsTree View Post
    Great stuff and real adventures in a beautiful part of the world, Fab stuff!
    Thank you!
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  51. #51
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    Just got back from doing similar trip..wall to wall sunshine.. that portage was a tough one.. your Blogg Mal was the inspiration I needed to move us up there, I found the OS map missed a lot of detail compared to yours.. I didn't bother with piccies as mine are so poor when compared to the likes of yours and Crows.

    PS the Bunk house is still work in progress (we were offered if we wanted) but the weather was that good it would have been rude not to pitch the tent, with the gentle breeze no MIDGE ...win win
    Last edited by PeterB; 22nd-June-2017 at 08:14 AM.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB View Post
    Just got back from doing similar trip..wall to wall sunshine.. that portage was a tough one.. your Blogg Mal was the inspiration I needed to move us up there, I found the OS map missed a lot of detail compared to yours.. I didn't bother with piccies as mine are so poor when compared to the likes of yours and Crows.

    PS the Bunk house is still work in progress (we were offered if we wanted) but the weather was that good it would have been rude not to pitch the tent, with the gentle breeze no MIDGE ...win win
    Good to hear you too had a good trip. No midges? Wow!

    The portage is tough, but you should try Inverpolly, or Maree to Fionn Loch, for a real tester!

    Not at all surprised you were offered a space in the bunkhouse.

    I always like to see photos, not just arty ones, its useful to get an idea of different conditions and locations.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  53. #53

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    Fabulous blog, as always. And respect for doing what you guys do with the youngsters. An awesome intro into the ways of the wild. I've never paddled L Morar - this prompts me to rectify that. Some pals did a similar trip some years ago, portaging with sea boats. But I'll pass on that joy! I've been into L Nevis from Mallaig - more respect for doing that in opens! I recall the final corner coming back into Mallaig in a W'ly 5/6 - and not with pleasure.

  54. #54
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    Superb blogg and adventure with young kids, in a place I love. Thank yoj very much for posting.

    Adventure is an essential requisite in everh childs upbri gibg and education, and this is a fine example. Today my son (16), is in Lerwick waiting for some seriously bad weather to pass through, so his yacht can start the ten day crossing to Spitzbergen.

    My you gest daughter (14), travels to spain for the summer on monday to enhance her Spanish langauge.

    My wufe is on our pTio in Norfolk talking witn friends visiting from Jordan and she and I are travelling back home to Ethiopia on Monday.

    Our eldest daugherremains jn Norfolk until July, then heading to Tunisia.

    And it all started when our eldesg was one, on a weeks canoe camping on the River Wye.

    Thankyoj so much for ensuring the spirit of adventure continues in our young people.

    Regards.

    Alan l.

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    And sorry for the crap spelling......

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike__B View Post
    Fabulous blog, as always. And respect for doing what you guys do with the youngsters. An awesome intro into the ways of the wild. I've never paddled L Morar - this prompts me to rectify that. Some pals did a similar trip some years ago, portaging with sea boats. But I'll pass on that joy! I've been into L Nevis from Mallaig - more respect for doing that in opens! I recall the final corner coming back into Mallaig in a W'ly 5/6 - and not with pleasure.
    Yeah, that corner can get a bit bouncy, but was OK for us, just a reminder that carrying on with the waves coming at us from the side probably wasn't a brilliant plan! Thanks mate.


    Quote Originally Posted by Juno2 View Post
    Superb blogg and adventure with young kids, in a place I love. Thank yoj very much for posting.

    Adventure is an essential requisite in everh childs upbri gibg and education, and this is a fine example. Today my son (16), is in Lerwick waiting for some seriously bad weather to pass through, so his yacht can start the ten day crossing to Spitzbergen.

    My you gest daughter (14), travels to spain for the summer on monday to enhance her Spanish langauge.

    My wufe is on our pTio in Norfolk talking witn friends visiting from Jordan and she and I are travelling back home to Ethiopia on Monday.

    Our eldest daugherremains jn Norfolk until July, then heading to Tunisia.

    And it all started when our eldesg was one, on a weeks canoe camping on the River Wye.

    Thankyoj so much for ensuring the spirit of adventure continues in our young people.

    Regards.

    Alan l.
    HI Alan, good to hear from you, and you are so right about getting some adventure into kids lives. I was fortunate that my parents did so for me, hopefully these kids will remember such times as fondly as I do, and maybe other parents will see the Pirate trips and be inspired to do something themselves. It absolutely needn't be in such a wild part of the country, adventures close to home can be equally as fun for youngsters. Woods, hills and especially islands can become different, exciting, worlds in the imagination of both young and old.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  57. #57

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    This must have been one of the best canoe bloggs I've ever read (text) and seen (pics) so far. Great combination of words and photography putting together the special brew that makes any canoe enthousiast wishing he had a day off tomorrow, rain or shine.

    Also good to see what can be done with a 700D and a 18-135 STM, even under these circumstances. I have to admit I hardly ever use my 70D and 18-135 STM anymore on my outdoor pursuits, since I bought my Galaxy S7. But these kind of bloggs surely show my wrong!

  58. #58
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    I don't know how I missed this one...............all the superlatives have been used up already so I'll just say I won't miss next years instalment!
    Congratulations all, on the journey, on the photographs and on the blogg
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  59. #59
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    Awesome trip.
    Makes me want to do something similar.
    Paul
    Looking for the end of the rainbow

  60. #60
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    As a bit of fun, I've been drawing the Pirate routes onto OS Maps, so you can use the new "Fly Through" feature to follow them. It really does give a great idea of some wonderful routes through the lochs and hills of the Highlands.

    Here's the link for Morar and Nevis, then click Start Fly-Through.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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