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Thread: Pirates of the Back of Beyond

  1. #1
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    Default Pirates of the Back of Beyond




    Day One – the Thirtieth Day of the Third Month


    In the Far, Far North, lies a land of fjords and mountains. A place where the Weather Gods reign, where travelling is arduous and slow going, and where wild beasts roam and swim. Just the sort of place where Treasure might be found. A place where Pirates go, and where the Young Captains, Tobey, Alex and Ben, would head for with their Scurvy Crew.
    The phases of the moon were consulted, and remarkably, the Easter holiday once again coincided with the first full moon after the equinox, such a surprising coincidence. The Expedition’s Crews made their separate ways northwards, before gathering for the final few hours journey to their remote launching place.


    At the narrowest point of a fjord-like sea loch, a mighty span arcs majestically across the turbulent waters.





    Here is the tiny hamlet of Kylesku, the sort of place that feels like the end of the earth. To the east, though, are even more remote places. These are the deep-cut lochs leading to Glen Dubh, the Black Glen, and to Glen Coul, the Glen at the Back of Beyond. This would be their destination for the first part of their Expedition, a place of towering rocky peaks, vast mountain sides and the tallest cascade in the world*.
    (*ish)

    In days of old, a Ferryman would have plied his trade here, but no longer. His slipway was to be the launch point, but the Expedition discovered a better alternative just to the south, in a sheltered Smuggler’s Cove. Here vast quantities of equipment, food, grog, wood and Red Ballast were loaded into their tiny craft. This far north, the trees are few and far between, so a week’s worth of wood was squeezed into their canoes, much of it into the Narrator’s boat whenever he wasn’t looking.









    Captain Tobey’s canoe, with Crew of Ableseawoman Lynne and Ableseaman Darren, actually had more freeboard then usual, as the kitchen sink hadn’t been included, nor any sea-dogs.






    As they left the sheltered harbour, on the slack of low tide, they passed around rocky headlands. Here, Captains Alex and Ben spotted some strange spiny armoured creatures clinging to the rocks. “Urchins” said Ableseawoman Liz, to which the Captains took some offence, until they realised that she was referring not to them, but to the round, shelled, animals that lived on the low tide mark.









    They were keen to press onwards. This far north, and this early in the year, the Weather Gods rule with a strong hand, and they were keen to get to their destination before the Gods’ attention turned to them. Rounding a headland, they could see the great trough of Glendhu ahead, with its twin of Glencoul to the right. Their route would take them straight across the immense junction of lochs for an open crossing of 500m, before hugging the shore round into Loch Glencoul, hopefully in a little shelter. When they’d driven their Chariots down the winding hill to the little harbour, the loch had been still and calm, but already there were waves appearing. As the route ahead came into view, and their crossing began, the Gods sprung their trap.









    The clouds darkened, the wind rose, and the Gods threw icy particles in their faces. They had no choice but to bow their heads against the tempest and paddle hard, taking the growing waves at a slight angle, heading for the shelter of the far shore. As their craft filled with hail and sleet, the Crew Battled onwards, the Narrator suddenly realising that his waterproof armour didn’t have a hood.









    Fortunately, the distance was quickly covered, and the Gods were only teasing them, for the moment they reached the sheltered shore, the Sun God stopped hiding and brought warmth to their chilly hands. The hardest part was already behind them.









    Now they turned into Loch Glencoul. The walls of this massive fjord rise steeply, drawing ever closer together as you head inland. Dominating the glens beyond is the mighty rock buttress of the Stack of Glencoul, beneath which they would make their home.






    They had hoped for shelter from the cutting North Easterly, but the Wind God threw them a curve ball, and they faced a strong head wind for their entire voyage. Fortunately, the fetch was getting increasingly shorter, and the waves manageable.












    Inching along under towering cliffs, they made slow progress, the Captains themselves putting paddle to water as they realise their Crew are getting on a bit now.












    As they crept towards their destination, the waves were growing mightier, and a bouncy ride was had. This did not dampen their spirits though, for ahead of them was their first glimpse of a mighty Cascade, the glistening falls that were part of the reason they had chosen to explore this wild and remote land. Eas a’ Chual Aluinn is its name, but Eas a’ Colin was easier to remember.









    Their intended camp was now near, and already the Captains were looking out for the best spot, near to a stone house, attached to which is a smaller building, a bothy that they hoped to visit and maybe use.

    Suddenly, as their strength was ebbing from the effort, a huge shape leapt from the cliffs on their port bows, causing them to briefly cower in fear, before recognising the majesty of the beast. With a wingspan like two flying doors, a white-tailed sea eagle was surely a harbinger from the Gods, hopefully a sign that they were welcome here.

    The Narrator scrabbled around in his boat trying to release his camera from its armoured chest, whilst spinning around and being blown backwards for a hundred yards. By the time he had camera to eye, the Eagle, mobbed by a raven that itself was a large enough beast, was distant and heading for the falls.












    A spectacular arrival, to a spectacular place. They landed on a rough, stony, beach, behind which the empty stone buildings stared blindly down at them.









    What a place to land. Rock everywhere they looked, a thin layer of topsoil clinging to it in the valley bottom, and seaweed covering the shore. Looking back out over the loch, the huge buttresses of the mountain of Quinag dominated their bay, and above them the Stack gazed over all.









    The Crew dragged all the kit up to the high tide mark, taking special care that the Ballast was easily available. Meanwhile, the Captains checked out the Bothy. There was nobody about. Had other residents not run quickly enough to escape?









    The Expedition gathered, and a discussion ensued. Could the Crew be bothered to put up the tents when an empty building was available nearby? Of course they couldn’t. Quickly, one room of the two-room building was filled with Captain’s Trunks and Crew’s Sacks. The Narrator, sneakily, waited until that room was full of 7 bodies, before moving his own gear into the other room, where the fire was.

    Now, bothies are open to all visitors to stay in, and the Captains and Crew all agreed that should anybody else arrive to stay, we would move some or all of us outside into tents and allow them to use the luxury accommodation. A message was put in the “bothy book” to this end, in case anybody visited whilst we were out exploring over the next couple of days.






    With the main tasks over, the Captains hit the beach, and most of the Crew could relax whilst Ableseawoman Liz started cooking the first banquet of the week; Cowboy Stew, of course! Washed down with Ballast and grog.






    After their arduous voyage, contentment descended on the Crew, as the Captains built islands of sea week and threw rocks at each other. And the Weather Gods, having tested the Expedition’s resolve that afternoon, decided to give them a light and magic show, the Sun God sliding slowly down behind the hills, lighting the western horizon with fire.






























    The Captains retired to the Captain’s Cabin, and the weary Crew sat long in front of the fire. Later, the Moon Goddess popped up to gaze down on them, as she does every Easter, taking special interest in the adventures of the Piratical Crew. This year, though, every night she brought a mysterious creature with her, the eyes of which stared down on the Expedition from the slopes of the hill, always directly below the Goddess. What could it be? A mystery that could not be solved, but with talk of White Walkers, each member of the Crew spent only a short time outside whenever the Ballast needing trimming.









    (Continued....for some time!)
    Last edited by Mal Grey; 3rd-May-2018 at 09:53 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Day Two – the Thirty First Day of the Third Month

    The Expedition awoke to bright light shining through the windows of their home-from-home. The Sun God was out to play! Today, they would head for the Tallest Waterfall in the World*, on foot across moorlands, along shorelines, and over burbling streams. First, though, bacon, the consumption of which is known to take the Expedition a number of hours each morning.

    (*Possibly. Or in Britain, at least)

    With Captains and Crew fully satiated, they headed deeper into the Glen. Carrying only enough provisions for a modest invasion force, they headed over the hill behind their Stone Fortress, before dropping to the shores of a lovely sheltered cove, Loch Beag, the Little Loch at the head of Loch Glencoul. As they wandered above the rocks, twin heads appeared in the clear turquoise waters below. Monsters from the Deep? Mermaids?















    Leaving behind the crystal bay, they climbed through tussock and bog, as the sparkling crest of the falls appeared over the hillside ahead.















    The Captains took the lead, as the Crew trailed behind. Soon they declared it was time for some feasting, so an appropriate rock became the table for lunch.












    As they lunched, the became aware of eyes around them. Ahead, a herd of wild beasts watched them warily, while above, a pair of winged giants wheeled and soared. This land is wild and bare, but still it is alive, so very alive, a place where Golden Eagles hungrily circle groups of Small Captains, and red deer look warily at the swords those non-Ancient Mariners have whittled.









    Though they were but a short mile or two from the sea, they felt as if they were in the middle of a vast mountain stronghold, bare rock scraping through the thin turf, whilst snow clung to the higher slopes. And dominating all in this Glen at the Back of Beyond, was Colin, sorry Eas a’ Chual Aluinn, the mighty Falls they had come to see.












    The Captains jumped or hopped over streams, skirted man-eating peat bogs, and scrambled over rocky outcrops, heading for the very foot of the falls. As the Expedition got closer, the Crew craned their necks upwards, trying to take in the 600ft height of these beautiful falls. The Captains conquered a rock at the lowest point of the falls, tiny Pirate figures below the tumbling cascade. Here they had thought to find Treasure, but of it there was no sign, no X-marks the spot.












    Meanwhile, the Narrator faffed about on the rock with his camera. Apparently, he was trying to “slow the water down”. The fool. However, as he fiddled with settings and balanced his picture-taker on a damp rock, looking upwards he could truly appreciate the meaning of the falls name; “waterfall of the beautiful tresses”.







    It was time to start their return, and the Captains led the Crew down the sparkling stream towards the sea, passing pools of multi-coloured rocks and mosses, and occasionally dropping large boulders into the clear waters to surprise any Expedition member who didn’t have his wits about him or her.












    Soon, the stream led them to the sea, the Little Loch once again. With the tide now low, they walked along the beach. The Captains spied an opportunity. For here, clinging to many of the rocks of the shoreline, was dinner. Well, a starter, as the Narrator had already planned the main course. Everywhere they looked, the fruits of the sea looked back. Looked back with a slightly worried expression on their shells, I should think, for the Captains were released with empty sacks and descended, horde-like, on the defenceless mussels.
























    With two sacks full of starter, they climbed from the shore and back over to the bothy. In the bay below, Pirate craft paddled silently though the waters, and the Expedition were wary of their intent. Would they want to share their home?












    As they crested the last rise, a portent of doom. They had already passed numerous skeletal remains of large mammals, and now they found a freshly dead heron. Was this the White Walkers who had been watching them last night? The Glen of the Back of Beyond, was now the Valley of Death.









    No matter, though, it was a place of great beauty, a sanctuary in the wilderness of the far Northwest.






    As the late afternoon turned into a golden evening, the Captains got to work, lighting their own stove, and cleaning their own mussels, while Ableseaman Darren led the Crew’s task force into action with their own supply, and the Narrator grappled with the 16 ingredients he’d lugged in for the Gong Bao Chicken.












    With a little extra garlic and chilli added to the butter to finish off the steamed mussels, and a dash of white wine thrown in, the starter was a revelation.















    Some Pirates were lucky to find Treasure within their Fruits of the Sea. Sadly, there weren’t enough pearls to make the Captains’ fortune…









    As the sun dipped lower, and the Ballast sank faster, dinner was served on the terrace overlooking their magical bay.


















    Later, once the Captains slept the sleep of the just, some of the Crew enjoyed a little more Ballast, and the odd dram of Grog, late into the night. Some of said Crew may not remember the entire evening in much detail…and if they do, they might rather they didn’t…


    (And there's more.....and more....

  3. #3
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    Default Day 3 – The First Day of the Fourth Month

    The Narrator awoke to peace and quiet. Partly this was a lack of awakened Pirates, partly it was a lack of wind, partly it was a lack of the ability to speak of some members of the Crew, especially those who had been last to bed.

    Outside, the Ableseawomen were applying Tea to their systems, overlooking the calm waters of the wonderful bay.


















    The quiet did not last for long, for the Captains had discovered that the Easter Bunny had been, and were hastily demolishing the evidence in case they had to share it with the Crew. Eggs are, after all, a traditional breakfast meal.






    After the chocolate starter, the main course of bacon commenced, with sides of black pudding and cheese.









    Suddenly, a Pirate appeared,






    Out in the bay, another vessel appeared. More Pirates?






    The Narrator wandered over to the landing beach, to discover a friendly pair of privateers, Mike and Jo, who were merely visiting for the day, and heading for the hills. Mike is a member of SOTP, and had built his rather nice canoe, which they had paddled across from a cottage on the mainland.






    As they prepared for their walk, the Narrator gazed at the hills. As the mists swirled and cleared, he saw that the glistening rocks had been sprinkled with a thin dusting of snow. This magical place was showing them every mood.















    With food inside them, even Ableseawoman Liz had recovered the power of speech, and the hunt could begin. For that Easter Bunny had left evidence of its passage, though to the Narrator it looked suspiciously similar to the deer poo, so the Egg Hunt could commence.
























    There was plenty for all Captains, and the Narrator even got offered a little himself, which magically disappeared remarkably quickly.


    With the ceremonies over, the Narrator had no choice. The call of the water was too strong, and he had to get out there now. For the loch was a mirror, the sea like glass, the astonishing hills reflected all around.















    As he slid quietly out of their bay, to explore the island nearby whilst he awaited the rest of the Expedition, the Narrator became aware of eyes upon him. Just a couple of boat lengths away, a face peered at him inquisitively from the golden pool of the loch.












    His companion remained with him as he paddled around the islands, until, in the distance, two more such shapes could be seen on the rocky shore, resting. On seeing the Narrator’s canoe, they slipped into the water and came over to investigate.









    Soon there were four such beasts, curious and with huge, soulful eyes, surrounding him as he floated, mesmerised, on the glassy water.












    The Narrator didn’t know where to look; at the soulful faces of the seals nearby, or at that majestic glen beyond, with its backdrop of snowy mountains. A seal understood his dilemma, so moved into such a position as to allow him to do both.













    The rest of the Expedition missed much of this moment of natural magic, as a rising breeze stole away the mirror, but the seals remained when the two other canoes caught up. Together, the Expedition headed into Loch Beag.





















    Oystercatchers joined them, their piping calls a constant soundtrack to their time spent in Glencoul, and a razorbill swam and fished nearby.









    They landed at the beach at the end of the loch, for a snack and a leg stretch. Once more, there was life everywhere. This was no Valley of Death, but a place stuffed full to the brim with life.















    As the wind rose, it was time to head back. Originally, they had thought to move on this day, to another loch Glendhu, and possibly onwards up another Portage to Nowhere and a hidden loch above. However, uncertainty of the Weather Gods moods had caused them to rethink. Cleverly, they had employed their own Trainee Weather Gods to assist them in forecasting, for only the most basic of written messages could be received by their magic communication devices. These Trainee Gods had written of growing wind in the middle of the week, and they had decided to stay one more night in their Highland Home, before escaping back to the mainland and amending their plans.

    Now, though, they must battle the wind to escape from the Little Loch. The fight was hard, and the waves were rising as they rounded the headland into their bay, zig-zagging to get the right angles, before running into shore with wave and wind behind them.









    Returning to their Stone Home, they found a trio perched on the bench outside. Offering to move some equipment out to allow them to stay, it soon transpired that these friendly chaps were just passing through, heading to the twin bothy at Glendhu.

    So, once more they would have the bothy to themselves, or so they thought. Anyway, for now, they found sun and shelter in the back garden, for the wind had turned to the west, after several days from the north east. Here they reflected on what it would have been like living here, when the Elliot family, who only left in the 1950s, called this remote spot home. Their Bothy, was the school rooms, where the children once had lessons, where now the Crew drank grog and Ballast. On the hill above, a sad reminder of the fate of two of the five sons of the family a hundred years before; a white cross standing in memory to the brothers who died in the Great War.









    As they did a little wood-chopping and general housework, the Crew were suddenly surprised by a lone voice. A Castaway had arrived. Max, a Frenchman with a suspiciously Irish/American/Scottish/French/English accent, was nearing the end of a ten-day trek across these bare and arduous lands, for the last five days of which he’d been suffering severe Achilles tendon strain in both ankles. The Pirates and Crew welcomed him in, and made sure he knew there would be space for him, though little did he know what was in store for him.

    Last night’s starter had been a steaming success, so Ableseaman Darren headed once more to the rocky shore in search of edible treasure. He came back with a sack full of mussels, and a monster!






    He and the Narrator sat down to clean them, a slightly protracted and seemingly never-ending process which is worth it for the delicious results, helped occasionally, and briefly, by Captains. As they scraped and pulled beards, our friends from the morning paddled out after their walk, their canoe a tiny dot on the ocean.












    The meal that night, cooked by Ableseawoman Lynne, was superb as always. Afterwards, to the entertainment of The Castaway, as well as the Crew, giant marshmallows were toasted on the bothy fire, and the dafter crewmembers tried to fill them with a sweet milky grog called Baileys.









    The night was a long one, with guitar and songs (including some Poo Songs) until the small hours, and much Ballast was disposed of. For they had decided to rescue The Castaway from a painful retreat, and needed to clear room in The Narrator’s canoe to fit Max in for their escape attempt in the morning.


    (Yep, they keep on coming... there's a week yet!)

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    Default Day 4 – The Second Day of the Fourth Month

    The day dawned bright, once again a frosting of snow on the higher ground, for the temperatures had fallen below freezing that night. Once more, the eyes of the White Walker had gleamed beneath the moon, and they felt that they had stayed long enough in the Valley of Death that was full of life.






    As the Crew packed bags, counted the remarkable number of empty Ballast Bags, a planned week’s supply having already been almost depleted, Captains Tobey and Ben played on the beach whilst Captain Alex played with his sword.






    After just a few hours packing, they were ready to depart. Though there was a breeze on the loch, the Weather Gods were in reasonable mood, for it would blow from behind them. Castaway Max may by now have been having second thoughts, for it would be his first voyage on the ocean waves in a canoe, and he’d have to share a canoe with a Narrator who doesn’t do tandem.









    A swift re-build of the Narrator’s canoe cleared room for The Castaway’s bags, and a large bag of rubbish, all the wood having been burnt to their satisfaction the night before. The Captains and Crew were mildly amused to find the Narrator last to get on the water for once, but he pretended not to notice.


    Off they headed, taking a line for the far shore, planning to then follow this all the way around to Kylesku’s Smuggler’s Cove. The Narrator quickly discovered that camera-work and tandem paddling is harder, as the boat doesn’t stop when he starts pointing lenses at stuff.









    As they passed the entrance to Loch Beag, they had a final glimpse of the wonderful Glen at the Back of Beyond, where they had spent such a fabulous few days.












    The voyage out, under sunny skies, was a fitting end to this stage of the Expedition, and once more the seals followed them. Possibly to make sure they’d gone. Though at times the wind came more strongly, and from an awkward quarter, most of the time the paddling was easy. In fact, thanks to the need for constant steering, the Narrator noted how easy it was for stern paddlers in terms of paddling effort spent, and said as such, much to the annoyance of Ableseamen Darren and Rob.















    Soon enough, houses began to appear on the shore, signs of civilization ahead. Rounding the last few headlands, they became exposed to the easterly blowing down Loch Glendhu, and the waves became a bit confused and erratic where both lochs met, but the paddling was never too hard, nor the waves too big.









    Shortly afterwards, they entered the Smuggler’s Cove, where Ableseawoman Lynne celebrated with a Titanic moment.






    Bags were suddenly strewn all over Kylesku, and Chariots fetched to move them and their gear to the next destination.






    First, though, lunch called and they headed, with Castaway Max in tow, for the Kylesku Hotel without even stopping to remove any layers of filth.

    Pushing open the door of this rather smart and beautifully modernised establishment, the Narrator was met by a very small future Pirate Captain, whose Crew turned out to own the hotel. They were welcomed in, despite the pong and slightly feral Captains, and a fantastic lunch was soon being devoured as if they hadn’t just spent the entire previous three days mostly eating and drinking. The Cullen Skink was fabulous, as was the Suilven Ale. The price of the Mussels, though, proved they had indeed lived like royalty, for they were as much as a King’s Ransom.

    So ended the first part of the Expedition. They had voyaged on immense fjords, gazed upwards at shining mountains, living in a remarkable outpost on the edge of the wild hinterland. Always, they were watched over by the wild things that lived there, hundreds, nay thousands, of creatures that flew, swam, or swept majestically. It has been a true privilege to share their home for a magical few nights. And the White Walkers had never got them.

    Now, they would move on, after saying farewell to the Castaway, their plan to rest a night or two by the rugged shore and sandy beaches of the west coast. If the Weather Gods relented by then, they would once again set off for the wilderness.


    A Haven on the Western Shore

    With full stomachs and empty purses, they left behind the oasis of the Kylesku Hotel, and turned south west in their Chariots, to brave the small and winding road that dips in and out of the landscape on its way to the Pie-rate Village of Lochinver (spelling deliberate, as you will later understand!).
    After a tortuous journey avoiding driving into the back of the Narrator as he once again stopped to take a photo which he has subsequently deleted, they turned down an even smaller road to the sheltered bay of Achmelvich. Here they would make camp for a day or two, take stock, re-stock, drink stock, and maybe search for more Treasure. For here they had heard of a miniature Pirate Castle, and a towering Old Man, surely signs that they were on the right track?

    They set up camp on a green sward, just yards from the rolling sea, yet sheltered by a rocky bluff. And a toilet block, carefully hidden from the pictures, but very welcome after a few days digging holes. Behind the camp, the towering peaks of the remarkable landscape of Assynt looked down upon them with an icy gaze. And in the other direction, a cove of golden sands on which to wander.


















    That evening, the Captains paddled in the waves, whilst Eider ducks surfed offshore, and the Crew basked in their new-found cleanliness.


















    Later that night, Ableseawoman Liz produced a fabulous Soda Bread load from the firebox-kitchen, which lasted about 25 seconds, 20 of which were spent putting butter on it.








    (and on, and on, and on.....)

  5. #5
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    Default Day 5 – The Third Day of the Fourth Month

    They had heard rumours of the Old Man. Standing tall and proud, near the wave-lashed point of Stoer, a Norse name if ever they had heard one, this monolithic tower sounded to the Captains like the sort of place where Viking treasure might be found. Today they would lead a foray to look upon its lofty heights.


    First though, pie. The Best Pie in the World. For the nearby Pie-rate Village is home to a fabulous Larder, where piles of pies lie under a counter of glass, begging to be consumed. Captains and Crew alike made their choice, before heading for the shore to eat them.









    As I write, I am drooling once again at the memory of my Pork, Apple, Cider and Sage pie. Which might have been chosen again the following day…


    The weather closed in, as had been forecast by the Trainee Weather Gods, but as they headed north towards the Old Man, it seemed that this exposed peninsula was the only place not lashed by rain or draped in clouds. At a lighthouse they parked, before starting the boggy trek above mighty cliffs towards the headland itself.






    As the Narrator lined up yet another photo, suddenly a smell of the Last of the Summer Wine came to him, as Compo flashed across his lens.












    At one point, high above the seas, a bluff dropped away to the seething waters below. Here, suddenly, they saw the Old Man, a seemingly tottering pile of sandstone that had somehow withstood the lash of wind and wave through the ages.





    The Captains led them upwards to a view point on the highest hill around. Ahead of them, a line of majestic mountains, each like a mighty pillar of stone, were hidden thoroughly in the clouds.






    They descended once again, and now the Old Man was far below them.






    Creeping to the edge, Captains Tobey and Alex surveyed the red-tinged tower, looking for signs of Viking Pirates.









    They could see no such signs, but under a rock they found a different sort of treasure, that of new life. Frogspawn somehow survived the harsh landscape in a puddle under a remarkably-poised rock.









    Empty-handed still, they returned wearily to their Chariots, and once more to camp.






    Fireboxes and “smores” were the order of the night, as they huddled under their tarps against the cold.











    (Have a break, you're half way through!)

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    Default Day 6 – The Fourth Day of the Fourth Month

    Part II – Pirates of the Three Lochs


    They awoke to a cold and dreary world, but with the hope of brighter things to come. If the Weather Gods were listening. Even at sea level, snow was falling.












    Today they would head once again into the wild country inland, to a chain of lochs beneath towering peaks, where they hoped to find signs of Treasure.
    First, though, they had a Pirate Castle to find. A small one. Fortunately, this proved to be an easy Quest, as it was just over the hill from camp, a remarkable little hideaway, complete with tower, bed, shelving unit and fireplace.















    With the castle found and explored, the Expedition set out once again. They got as far as the Pie-rate Village, once again, for a short(crust) stop and some lunch.

    South of the Pie-rate Village is an infamous road. Tortuous, narrow, steep and winding, the Mad Little Road takes brave Charioteers into the hinterland, getting ever closer to the iconic mountains of Assynt’s Inverpolly and Coigach estates. As they drove, possibly queasily whilst trying to keep up with the Narrator and his erratic photo stops, glistening white peaks dominated the horizon. 3 years earlier, they had gazed on these peaks from the most special camp on Tick Island, but today they had a different destination.















    Their destination was Loch Lurgainn, sitting beneath the stony feet of the towering hills of Ben More Coigach, Cul Beag and fabulous Stac Pollaidh. A small sandy beach looked like the perfect launch point, and the portage down to the shore line from a large layby was only a bit boggy, so was pretty much standard for experienced Captains.






    It wasn’t a bad spot to launch the next stage of the Expedition, and the Captains were hopeful of finding treasure beneath the wild and beautiful hills.






    On the water, they paddled beneath towering mountain walls, clearly home to the God of Winter, who had yet to fly south for the summer.









    Inevitably, once on the water, the Wind God spotted them and sent a nice little breeze straight into their faces. Hugging the far shore, they were heading for a spot in the corner of the loch where Ableseawoman Lynne had promised a lovely beach and a mighty forest behind it, the perfect ingredients for a camp in the wilds. Looking over them at all times, were the rocky towers and crenulations of the fabulous peak of Stac Pollaidh, and the gully-scoured face of Cul Beag.





















    After a superb paddle on Loch Lurgainn surrounded by the hills, the promised sands appeared ahead, and quickly they landed on a fabulous sandy shore. The Captains jumped ashore, ready to fight any other Pirates who might have landed before them and, apparently, any dinosaurs they found there.












    The views from this remote place were simply stunning. Here they would spend the next day or two, before moving onwards down the chain of lochs.






    Behind the soft sands, a perfect woodland offered shelter, fuel and blood-sucking insects. All you could ask for of a wild camp in the Highlands. The Narrator found himself a spot with a fabulous view from his sleeping bag, whilst many tarps were strung, and continuously added to or moved over the next few days.



























    Meanwhile, Captains Tobey and Alex were pitching their own tent, with just a little help from Ableseawoman Lynne. Here they would sleep (eventually) for the next few nights, with their own wood stove to make tea on, lit by traditional(ish) methods.















    As the canoes rested, the Captains explored the beach, made dams and harbours, dug holes, killed dinosaurs and went basically feral.


















    Captain Ben went for a voyage, taking control of his own canoe.












    As the camp chores were done, the sun sank behind the flanks of the giant hill of Ben Mor Coigach, adding its own touch of gold to this incredible landscape.












    That night, it was time for Ableseawoman Lynne’s famous Corn Beef Hash. Every year, she likes to leave this to late in the trip, to ensure she has spent enough time lugging many cans of corn beef and bags of potatoes across the highlands.






    As the giggling from the Captain’s tent eventually died away, the Crew wandered down to the beach, to stand under the vast dome of stars that wheeled in the heavens overhead, reflected perfectly in the mirror of the loch at their feet, and to ponder their place in the galaxy. So cold was it, that soon they headed for their warm sleeping bags, but the Narrator opened up the side of his tent, to watch for a little longer, the stars against the hills, sleeping with his tent wide open. Until it became flipping freezing when he woke a few hours later.





    (You've broken the back of it now)

  7. #7
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    Default Day 7 – the Fifth Day of the Fourth Month

    Today was to be a day exploration near camp, for it seemed a likely place for Treasure. The Expedition rose, slowly, to find mist clinging to the hills, an ever-changing fog that brought magic of its own.


















    The Crew prepared for a day of chores and of relaxation, happy to be living in this wonderful place. After an extended breakfast, some of them headed for the loch outlet nearby, so they could fall down holes in the heather near there. Or at least, that’s what the Narrator chose to do. In the wetter holes, which he managed to avoid, frogspawn could be found.
























    Captain Alex helped Ableseaman Darren dig and line a fire pit, the turf carefully put aside to reuse when they left. Despite the sunshine, the wind was still bitter, so they would need it that evening. Even more tarps were added to shelter them from the ever-present westerly wind.















    After lunch, lightly grilled cheese and ham tortillas for the Narrator, the Captains launched their hunt for treasure.









    An epic quest commenced, across barren sands, rough moorlands, and through forests. For about 30 seconds until Captain Ben spotted something…









    It seems the Vikings around these parts weren’t very good at hiding Treasure.





















    Now their hunt was complete, two old Sea Dogs relaxed in their Highland Home.






    The breeze had swung west, and the beach was now sheltered from the wind, as it steadily died away. The sun, bringing a little warmth to their faces, touched the sands, and the Crew moved down to sit by the shore and relax, whilst the Captains started a tunnel to Australia. Captain Alex taught Ableseawoman Lynne to use a slingshot. This was a perfect hour, gazing at the landscape of this amazing place, whittling, playing and maybe drinking an early glass of ballast. The Narrator claimed this was merely to lubricate his throat for a few folky songs on the guitar, chosen to hopefully suit the landscape. And a poo song. Which increasingly matched the landscape in the hollow a few hundred yards from camp, though all properly buried, of course.












    Captain Ben, three years after his modelling masterpiece of Suilven, decided to try his hand at Stac Pollaidh.






    As evening came, finally the wind was gone, nothing but a whisper. The Narrator was first on the water, for a brief few minutes on the glass-like loch.












    Crewman Rob was next on the water, in the last of the gloaming, before they retired to the warmth of the fire and Liz’s chilli pasta.












    For the rest of the evening, they snuggled ever closer to the roaring fire, at the end of a perfect camp day.


    (Stop snoozing at the back!)

  8. #8
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    Default Day 8 – the Sixth Day of the Fourth Month and Captain Ben’s Birthday

    Half Past the Witching Hour. The Narrator awoke, something had changed. The wind was back, and growing rapidly having sneaked up on them from behind, meaning his tent was now exposed to the blast off the loch. Fortunately his tent is tough and strong, but the tarp camp, carefully arranged to stop the westerly wind, wasn’t faring so well in a rising Force 6 easterly. He found Ableseaman Rob, who seems to spend a lot of windy nights outside tying and untying guy lines, trying to fasten down camp, and a few tarps were quickly re-strung or removed before the Narrator went back to his tent and slept till dawn, oblivious. The other Crew, especially AS Darren and AS Rob, slept less well, for they were next to camp, and the tarps above the Bootstrap tent, and numerous nocturnal excursions were needed as the wind grew stronger.

    With the wind came some rain after dawn, and when the Narrator awoke, after briefly checking camp was still there, he saw no need to move from his cosy sleeping bag for a good few hours more. Eventually he wandered out to find a reduced tarp village, and quickly the Crew moved to protect what they had left up, by dragging canoes into place.









    Looking out on the loch, all vague thoughts of moving onwards were quickly put on hold, they would stay another day in this spot.












    The Crew swung into action, brews went on, wood was chopped, fireboxes were lit, wood was chopped, breakfast was cooked, wood was chopped, tarps were retied yet again, wood was chopped, and the remaining Ballast was used as ballast for their thrones.















    Thoughts turned to their circumstances, marooned on a remote loch shore, whilst the waves crashed all around. With no signal on their communication devices at all, they had no way of knowing how long the storm would last. The Narrator and the two Ableseawomen decided to brave the elements and wander off uphill in search of signal, and to view the possible escape routes from above. With the wind and rain had come warmer temperatures, and the hills had been stripped of much of their snowy covering.






    Stopping to rest occasionally, they were struck by the thickness of the lichen on the rocks, and the colours of which it was made, as well as the mosses that grew in the bogs in which they sank.















    Reaching a viewpoint by a large boulder, they gazed on the vista of moorland and mountain.






    No signal still, so they turned their thoughts to portages, and how they could return to their Chariots, should the wind stay strong in the morning. It became clear that a route would be possible linking short portages and short loch crossings, probably better than the mile in a straight line across bog and heather that would be the fastest route to the road.

    If the wind dropped, they planned a different escape, linking the 3 lochs of Lurgainn, Bad na h-Achlaise and Bad a’ Ghaill. Lynne and the Narrator were keen to do this, then walk back to the Chariots, so as to say they had completed a “route” through the landscape, and hoped that rest of the Crew forgot that they could just paddle straight back to the start in about an hour, instead of lugging across two rocky and boggy portages, and paddle two lochs, before finding themselves a forty five minute walk from the start, for no other reason than because it needed to be done.

    They dropped boggily back to camp, where they found Captain Birthday Ben had made himself his own shelter. For it was indeed his seventh birthday, and the tent had therefore been decorated.









    The Narrator decided to make a Chocolate-Chip-Bannock to mark the occasion, and the Captains waited patiently. For a long time.


















    Eventually, having taken the better part of an hour to cook, it was ready, and thirty seconds later, it was gone.

    The afternoon was spent sheltering under the tarps, or chopping more wood. A Mountain of Feather Sticks was assembled.






    The Ableseawomen started work in the Galley, though from what I can see in this photo, all they were actually doing was warming some Ballast on a firebox.






    As always, camp was shipshape and organised.






    Dinner that night, their last in the wilds, was a spicy enchilada sauce concoction from Ableseawoman Lynne, which was exceedingly well received on a chilly, damp evening like this.






    All the Captains’ eyes, though, were now on pudding. Ableseawoman Liz produced a cake for Birthday Cap’n Ben, baked on the reflector oven, and first choice was of course offered to Ben.









    Once again, an hour’s work was demolished by Captains and Crew in minutes. Light, chocolatey but, disappointingly, not dinosaur shaped.









    (I didn't ask you to read it all, its your own fault...)

  9. #9
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    Default Day 9 – the Seventh Day of the Fourth Month

    The Escape


    The Crew awoke to light winds, and no rain. The escape was on, they would portage the falls, and link the three lochs, Lynne and Narrator had got their wish and a Pointless Portage would commence, far more fun that a sensible and simple paddle back to the chariots.

    First though, drama. Captain Ben had acquired a new toy for his birthday. Two years before, a small red aeroplane had been lost on Loch Maree, then returned by Storm Katie in a miraculous recovery. So the Narrator had tempted fate by buying a new red plane, one which actually flew. Straight out onto the loch, where it started bobbing contentedly towards the Chariots, obviously in no mood for a portage. Ableseaman Darren leapt into action, and into his canoe, and headed off after it, directed urgently by Captains from the shore. Fortunately, the rescue mission was successful.








    The work began after breakfast. Camp disappeared slowly into bags, the ground was cleared, firepit re-turfed and all litter hunted down. A few hours later, and after an extra round of teas, the portage began. The outlet from the loch was nearby, and to the Narrator it seemed easiest to portage straight from camp, rather than load the canoes for a 200 metre paddle, then unload again. He set off over the moors, and soon the usual stream of random Captains, Crew and luggage was strewn across the wilderness.









    Captain Tobey now pulls his weight by carrying a proper portage pack. Sometimes.






    Ableseaman Darren was sitting down on the job. Not entirely deliberately.






    Empty canoes were paddled a little closer, than hauled over the short portage to the next Loch, Bad na h-Achlaise (bless you).















    The first of two Pointless Portages was complete, and the Narrator and Ableseawoman Lynne were happy, whilst the rest of the Crew were polite enough not to question their sanity, or look pointedly in the direction of the cars over a calm loch.






    They set sail across the small loch, still surrounded by the majestic peaks of Assynt. What a landscape this is. Behind them, the rocky river that is the only thing stopping direct access from loch to loch, tumbled through boulders and pools.















    After a long voyage, maybe as much as ten minutes, they reached the second Pointless Portage, where an even shorter river drops an even shorter height into Loch Bad a’ Ghaill. With a couple of inches more water, this might “go” or at least line, but as it was, the quickest thing to do was a short and easy portage a few metres to the east.


















    This was a bigger loch, and the views opening out, but still the hills towered over them, though the weather was closing in.









    They headed out onto the waters of this third loch, looking for a beach on which to have lunch, for they’d been paddling for several minutes since the last mini Easter Eggs were handed out from the Narrator’s endless supply.









    Once ashore, brews were made, lunch was served, and the Captains wisely hid all signs of newly clean boots and trousers by rolling in wet sand.


















    The Ableseapeople examined their charts, and set a bearing for a likely landfall, near the winding road beneath the towering cliffs of Stac Pollaidh. This crossing, with the wind behind them, would be the last of their adventure, and as always, they paddled the last mile with mixed feelings of anticipation of hot showers and cool ales, and of regret in leaving the wonderful landscapes of the far, far North West.












    They landed on a rocky shoreline, just a short, but steep, distance from the road.









    Once their mountain of gear was hauled up the slope to a large layby, they drew lots and one member of each Crew walked back to the cars. As he was a solo Crew, the Narrator drew both the short and the long straw so had to walk and to sort gear. After a forty five minute trek, which seemed to be mostly uphill despite the amount of descending in the previous few days amounting to about 20 feet, Ableseawoman Liz, Ableseaman Darren, and the Narrator retrieved their chariots and returned to the fleet, where they loaded everything aboard before inserting the Captains on top of the piles of smelly and damp stuff.









    It was with a slightly heavy heart that the Narrator led the Convoy away from their wilderness home, but as they left, the hills were revealed one final time in all their glory, a fitting end to their adventure.









    For one reason and another, after driving around the hills and coast looking for a different spot, they ended up back at their previous camp in the lovely bay of Achmelvich. This turned out to be a great decision, for that evening, they headed into the Pie-Rate Village of Lochinver again, where they met up with friends of the Narrator for an evening of fine dining, fine ales, fine stories and fine company. The Caberfeidh Inn gave them a fabulous welcome, despite arriving en-masse, unannounced and with slightly wild eyes from their days staring at distant horizons in wild and beautiful lands. Fortunately, they had, by then, washed off some of the smell.






    And so ended another adventure. This one was a little different, not a single voyage but, instead, a series of shorter explorations in search of Captains’ Treasure. And, once more, the real treasure was the very lands themselves, these special places in the middle of nowhere, in which they could forget the travails of life and spend time simply and contentedly in some of the wild places of the world.


    (Congratulations, you have reached then end. Of the fun bit, anyway. Have a gold star!)

  10. #10
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    Kylesku

    Paddling
    Lochs Glencoul and Loch Glendhu meet just east of the old ferry crossing at Kylesku, which is at a narrowing in the longer sea loch. Westward this becomes Loch a’ Chairn Bhain, and the narrows below the bridge are home to a fast tidal stream. We launched just round the corner from the old ferry slipway, in a sheltered cove, Camas na Cusgaig, next to a fishing boat jetty, with a narrow track down to a beach.

    http://www.paddlepoints.net/PaddlePoints.php?PP=13956

    These are big lochs and, whilst surrounded by hills, they are not particularly sheltered, for any wind is funnelled by the landscape. This is therefore serious paddling, and experienced paddlers only should attempt it. The tides are not too bad, other than through the narrow section by the bridge, but low tides at the head of the loch mean a reasonably long drag of canoes and gear to the shore. Fortunately its not too muddy in most places.
    The shores of Loch Glencoul are unforgiving and rocky along its northern edge, there are few places to land easily, though you could find something in an emergency. The southern shores are a little friendlier, and the further west you are, the closer you are to road and a few houses.

    Bothy
    The bothy at Loch Glencoul is maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association. These free shelters in the Highlands are wonderful spots, but must treated with respect for them, the environment and fellow visitors. You may find them full, and if you’re staying there, you should be willing to move over to let others in too.
    http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/


    Eas a’ Chual Aluinn
    The highest waterfall in Britain is most often reached from a rough and boggy path approaching from the Kylesku-Loch Assynt road, and therefore only viewed from above. Seeing it from below as we did, was excellent. There’s little sign of a path from the shore line, and not many folk come this way. There is a boat from Kylesku that goes to the head of the loch, and views it from a distance, as well as doing some seal watching, but it doesn’t land.

    Kylesku Hotel
    Excellent and recommended. Very welcoming to a smelly bunch of adults and feral children. Not cheap, but excellent quality food and ales.


    Achmelvich

    The Shore Caravan Site
    This smallish campsite is in a wonderful location between a fabulous sheltered sandy beach and the rocky west shore. The facilities are a little tired, but there’s everything you need, and the owners were very helpful, lending some of the group towels.
    http://shorecaravansite.yolasite.com/
    No dogs, as lots of sheep around.

    Lochinver
    With a small Spar store, petrol station and various eateries, this is the only place in the area to replenish stocks. The shop has all the basics, including boxes of Ballast, but the Tesco in Ullapool is better for a full expedition shop. The garage sells wood (though our kindling was damp and poor, not ideal!).

    Lochinver Larder – the Pie Shop
    This is a famous place, and the pies are out of this world. Takeaway and sit on the shore, as we did, or sit in. A must visit place. You can also order Pies by Post, but the minimum quantity is 10, and they’re so good you might find you couldn’t help but eat them in one sitting, before suffering a Mr Creosote moment.

    Caberfeidh Restaurant and Bar
    This was a bit of a find. From the street, it doesn’t look like anything special, but as soon as 12 of us (including my 4 friends we met up with that evening) wandered in, they found us room in the bar despite being fully booked. They looked after us superbly, and the quality of the food was fantastic, though again not cheap but that’s to be expected in the middle of nowhere. Most of the meals are using fresh local ingredients, so sea food and venison featured strongly. The Suilven ale is also great!


    Lurgainn etc

    The little road south of Lochinver is fabulous, but not suited to larger vehicles!!! Once at Loch Lurgainn, the launch point we used in the bay is a short walk from the Stac Pollaidh car park, where we left the cars. Some of the bigger laybys would be fine for leaving the odd car, but it is vital that passing places are not blocked, and big vehicles do use this road to cater for the local communities.
    http://www.paddlepoints.net/PaddlePoints.php?PP=13959

    Wild Camp. I won’t post up the exact position of the camp. If you can’t work it out from maps and images, its probably not for you. If you can, enjoy this fabulous spot, but please look after it, leave no trace of your presence, and do not cut living trees. There is a little dead standing wood, but not much, so assume you must take your own.
    Portages. The portages between the lochs are very short compared with some we have done. At the higher one, leaving Loch Lurgainn, the river is boulder choked and rough, so doubt its ever even possible to line. The portage is just a few metres to river left. The lower one, into Loch Bad a’ Ghaill, might go in higher water, for a whitewater paddler, or might be lined. There was just too little water for it to be less hassle than a quick short portage for us.
    For other ideas for harder canoe trips in the Assynt and Inverpolly area, see both the previous Pirate blog, Lynne’s earlier blogs, and Crow’s falling down waterfalls blogs, amongst others.

    Travelling North
    It’s a long, long way. Hope that’s helpful 😉

    Inverness
    Big Tesco Extra is useful for expedition supplies. A choice of two, strangely, we use the one on the A96 Nairn Road. A good place to fill up with fuel.
    Tiso. A big Tisos is a good place for topping up with gas or camping gear that you forgot. Café upstairs too. Just off the main A9 at the roundabout by the Kessock Bridge.
    V8 Café A great modern take on a traditional “transport” type café, this is hidden in an industrial estate near said Tisos. Recommended.

    Perth
    Tescos just off the A9 bypass by the A85 junction.
    Tisos at the big A9 roundabout.


    (That's it. There is no more)

  11. #11
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    Yet another classic narrative Mal, and surely many possible contenders for the annual photo competition.
    Whilst I don't envy cold nights under canvas, I'm jealous as hell of the mussels and the pies .
    Once again, it's great to see the kids (of all ages ) enjoying these great adventures.

    Lest anyone should wonder, I look nothing like that rock stack .
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  12. #12
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    Brilliant and, as usual, inspirational - both the trip and narration. The boats do look well loaded - and the Captains get bigger every year!

  13. #13
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    A wonderful blog Mal and some fantastic photo's to boot
    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

  14. #14
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    An epic tale about an epic trip, brought back great memories of my trip to kylesku last year. Thanks for sharing

  15. #15
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    Magical adventure, treasured memories for Captains and crew alike.

  16. #16
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    Mal, I think this is your best blog ever! Loved the photos, especially of the blurred waterfall and the seals.

    Had to giggle at Liz and my early morning brew at the bothy picture. I had forgotten!!

    And this:

    "If the wind dropped, they planned a different escape, linking the 3 lochs of Lurgainn, Bad na h-Achlaise and Bad a’ Ghaill. Lynne and the Narrator were keen to do this, then walk back to the Chariots, so as to say they had completed a “route” through the landscape, and hoped that rest of the Crew forgot that they could just paddle straight back to the start in about an hour, instead of lugging across two rocky and boggy portages, and paddle two lochs, before finding themselves a forty five minute walk from the start, for no other reason than because it needed to be done."


    It was only a few years ago that you couldn't see the point of portaging!!

    Although this was a different journey than usual, I very much enjoyed it. I have wanted to visit Kylesku for a long time and it didn't disappoint. I will definitely return to the bothy at Glencoul.

    Tobey's favourite memories are meeting Max, poo songs and the seals. Mine, are the portage chocolate eggs and listening to the guitar and singing on the sandy beach at Lurgainn.

    I will post my blog as soon as.

    Lynne
    All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    Yet another classic narrative Mal, and surely many possible contenders for the annual photo competition.
    Whilst I don't envy cold nights under canvas, I'm jealous as hell of the mussels and the pies .
    Once again, it's great to see the kids (of all ages ) enjoying these great adventures.

    Lest anyone should wonder, I look nothing like that rock stack .
    Damn, I missed an OLD MAN joke opportunity at your expense. Oh, well. Still, at least that Old Man hasn't fallen in the water as much....



    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    Brilliant and, as usual, inspirational - both the trip and narration. The boats do look well loaded - and the Captains get bigger every year!
    Cheers Chris. Probably the last time each Pirate Family are in one boat....but the second boats have already been bought and a test paddle will be happening very soon indeed. Tomorrow, in fact.


    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    A wonderful blog Mal and some fantastic photo's to boot
    Cheers Tim.



    Quote Originally Posted by markpfc View Post
    An epic tale about an epic trip, brought back great memories of my trip to kylesku last year. Thanks for sharing
    Thanks Mark. Your blog was part of the reason we chose it. It was already on the radar, the glens looked so wild and untouched it had to be done, and your pictures confirmed that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Nick View Post
    Magical adventure, treasured memories for Captains and crew alike.
    Cheers Nick


    Quote Originally Posted by Lynne View Post
    Mal, I think this is your best blog ever! Loved the photos, especially of the blurred waterfall and the seals.

    Had to giggle at Liz and my early morning brew at the bothy picture. I had forgotten!!

    And this:

    "If the wind dropped, they planned a different escape, linking the 3 lochs of Lurgainn, Bad na h-Achlaise and Bad a’ Ghaill. Lynne and the Narrator were keen to do this, then walk back to the Chariots, so as to say they had completed a “route” through the landscape, and hoped that rest of the Crew forgot that they could just paddle straight back to the start in about an hour, instead of lugging across two rocky and boggy portages, and paddle two lochs, before finding themselves a forty five minute walk from the start, for no other reason than because it needed to be done."


    It was only a few years ago that you couldn't see the point of portaging!!

    Although this was a different journey than usual, I very much enjoyed it. I have wanted to visit Kylesku for a long time and it didn't disappoint. I will definitely return to the bothy at Glencoul.

    Tobey's favourite memories are meeting Max, poo songs and the seals. Mine, are the portage chocolate eggs and listening to the guitar and singing on the sandy beach at Lurgainn.

    I will post my blog as soon as.

    Lynne
    Thanks Lynne. This was definitely a good trip for the photos, regular bouts of "weather" all add to the atmosphere.

    I had to make sure you were blamed for the portages, as well as take some credit myself.

    Guitar on the beach is one of my own favourite memories, but at least I could turn it off if I wanted to, you lot were stuck with it!


    Looking forward to reading the blog....bring your laptop to the Thames!!!!

  18. #18
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    Still, at least that Old Man hasn't fallen in the water as much....
    Nothing wrong with your memory is there Mal
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

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    One big adventure and a brilliant blog and pictures Mal.
    Simms ..

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    I may have mentioned that I used to live and work in that area . I also climbed and hill walked around there and there was actually a LAMM (Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon) in that area and I might have been the only entrant who arrived from the north. When I see these photos, I always question my sanity as to why I left but I do know the answer (it starts with R and rhymes with pain).

    Anyway, lovely to see. The best places are always the ones that require effort to get to but the rewards can be enormous.

  21. #21
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    fantastic blog & pictures as ever Mal. glad you got lucky with the moon again

    I had to do a double-take on this picture - the water clarity is astonishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post


    the cooking looked amazing too, although I was concerned Gong Bao Heron was going to make an appearance on the menu at one point!

  22. #22
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    Fabulous photography, fabulous location, fabulous bloggage, absolutely love seeing the youngsters loving every minute of these adventures. Well done all involved

    And Mal, I now know what "photo heavy" really means

  23. #23
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    Another mega Malblogg of another fantastic Easter adventure.
    The only minor disappointment is the lack of one of your Iron Man Portages but you can’t have everything.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    There are three types of people in the world:
    Those who can count and those who can't.

  24. #24
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    Once again another World Class Adventure.... with photography to match, totally outstanding!
    Keep yer paddles wet, and powder dry....

    MB

    ´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ ><(((( ((º>
    `·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ ><((((º>

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simms View Post
    One big adventure and a brilliant blog and pictures Mal.
    Thank you.


    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    I may have mentioned that I used to live and work in that area . I also climbed and hill walked around there and there was actually a LAMM (Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon) in that area and I might have been the only entrant who arrived from the north. When I see these photos, I always question my sanity as to why I left but I do know the answer (it starts with R and rhymes with pain).

    Anyway, lovely to see. The best places are always the ones that require effort to get to but the rewards can be enormous.
    I'd forgotten that, yes you had mentioned it before. Such a special part of the world, and fortunately it was mostly too cold for rain!


    Quote Originally Posted by aannddyyhh View Post
    fantastic blog & pictures as ever Mal. glad you got lucky with the moon again

    I had to do a double-take on this picture - the water clarity is astonishing



    the cooking looked amazing too, although I was concerned Gong Bao Heron was going to make an appearance on the menu at one point!
    It was discussed....

    The water up there is stunning, properly stunning.


    Quote Originally Posted by meirion View Post
    Fabulous photography, fabulous location, fabulous bloggage, absolutely love seeing the youngsters loving every minute of these adventures. Well done all involved

    And Mal, I now know what "photo heavy" really means
    Cheers mate. And I only posted about 20% of the photos...


    Quote Originally Posted by hemlock View Post
    Another mega Malblogg of another fantastic Easter adventure.
    The only minor disappointment is the lack of one of your Iron Man Portages but you can’t have everything.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Cheers Martin. Weird, but certainly a couple of us were wanting more portages across bogs. We had been supposed to be doing a mile or so uphill to an unknown loch, but the wind forecast didn't make it sound wise.

    Possibly the most difficult portage we've done occurred just this afternoon. Fighting through the madness at Wolvercote on a hot Bank Holiday, and trying to get boats and bags together with cars when there's no parking....


    Quote Originally Posted by Bonarmbj View Post
    Once again another World Class Adventure.... with photography to match, totally outstanding!
    Ta mate. The mussels were almost as outstanding as your Burns Night Feasts. Almost.

    One day, we need to co-ordinate a Bonarmbj feast with a Pirate Portage, just for the photos of carrying all those marvellous wooden chests up mountains....

  26. #26
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    Your best so far Mal.....wonderful.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  27. Default

    Wow,, great trip blog. Must add Scotland to my ever growing list of places to go and paddle :-) .

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patterdale Paddler View Post
    Your best so far Mal.....wonderful.
    Dunno about that, the first couple were probably my favourites, just, but the conditions were great for photography.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gudthor View Post
    Wow,, great trip blog. Must add Scotland to my ever growing list of places to go and paddle :-) .
    Definitely needs to be on there. Probably best to get the ferry rather than canoe across from Denmark though...

  29. #29
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    Default OS Maps Fly-Through

    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 Loch Glencoul and "Colin".


    Here's the link for Lurgainn etc.


    Follow links then click "Start Fly-Through". *Its possible this is only viewable to those registered as OS Maps users, would be interesting to know if it works for folk.
    Last edited by Mal Grey; 9th-May-2018 at 08:42 AM.

  30. #30
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    Excellent, enjoyed reading this book.
    Quality time for all, parents, children and uncle Mal
    Atb to you all Terry

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry. young View Post
    Excellent, enjoyed reading this book.
    Quality time for all, parents, children and uncle Mal
    Atb to you all Terry
    Cheers Terry. God forbid we should ever do a two week trip, I'll break the internet.

  32. #32
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    Was saving this for my morning coffee.. had to get another cup it was so long. Not a complaint!

    Great blogg, kudos to all, especially the planners who oft go unrecognized. Great photos and a lot of writing in that blogg, another cracker!
    Cheers,

    Alan


  33. #33
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    Epic! Well done the Narrator, thanks for sharing, I'm jealous!

  34. #34
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    Another excellent adventure you guys!
    These trips are becoming as traditional a part of Easter as a long eared fluffy mammal delivering roasted cacao seed ova.
    As usual, you have all inspired me so I'm going to wrap up and brave the 40 mph winds and lashing rain and leave the confines of my holiday cottage (summer in Scotland!) I'm off to the local tea shop - I may be some time!
    Last edited by Ninja Pirate; 9th-May-2018 at 10:36 AM. Reason: shoddy spelling
    There's a Bluebird in my heart

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chainsaw View Post
    Was saving this for my morning coffee.. had to get another cup it was so long. Not a complaint!

    Great blogg, kudos to all, especially the planners who oft go unrecognized. Great photos and a lot of writing in that blogg, another cracker!
    I'll make you a coffee should we eventually meet! Thanks. Biggest planning is what to take for the Pirate Families, thankfully mine is far simpler and I can just lose myself in maps for a month or two...


    Quote Originally Posted by son goku View Post
    Epic! Well done the Narrator, thanks for sharing, I'm jealous!
    Cheers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja Pirate View Post
    Another excellent adventure you guys!
    These trips are becoming as traditional a part of Easter as a long eared fluffy mammal delivering roasted cacao seed ova.
    As usual, you have all inspired me so I'm going to wrap up and brave the 40 mph winds and lashing rain and leave the confines of my holiday cottage (summer in Scotland!) I'm off to the local tea shop - I may be some time!
    Thanks. Hope you survived a successful expedition in search of tea. And hope the weather is kind to you!

  36. #36
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    For any body who hasn't had enough of me talking about these places, I also did a couple of short blogs on my website. These are actually written in normal format, not Pirate! Photos are suspiciously similar though!


    https://www.wildernessisastateofmind...-loch-glencoul


    https://www.wildernessisastateofmind...wild-in-assynt

  37. #37
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    It took me about 3 sittings to read this, but it was fantastic. Another epic trip and blog.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    It took me about 3 sittings to read this, but it was fantastic. Another epic trip and blog.
    Cheers Al. You only had to read it, dunno how many sittings it took me. Thanks mate.

  39. #39
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    Fantastic!! thoroughly enjoyed that.... oops - half the morning gone!! I'm sure there was some work somewhere I was meant to be getting on with!!
    If I could only paddle like a doggie oughta paddle

  40. #40
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    Well done Mal. Another epic adventure for Pirate Toby and his intrepid crew.

    I read the lot in one sitting but now need sustenance in the form of coffee and flapjack. All that food had me salivating, even though I've eaten well.

    The photo's are great, the story fantastic and the crew amazing.

    Thanks to all and the narrator.

    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  41. #41

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    I'm a bit behind the beat (reading this a few months late) but this is another classic write up. Really appreciate the time and effort taken to share this.

    Kevin

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