View across Eilean Chaluim Cille Bay to Ardnamurchan Point and lighthouse. with my kayak and gear behind the beach, Ardnamurchan, Scotland
I was discovering how relentless the prevailing south-westerly winds are from the Atlantic Ocean and how completely exposed the west coast of Scotland is. Although I still experienced plenty of beautiful sunny days during my trip the sea very rarely, if at all, calmed down. The wind blew strongly for the next few days and I had little chance to make the relatively short crossing to the Isle of Muck, so I had plenty of time to visit the lighthouse and explore the peninsula on foot. It was another beautiful place to camp but every day I could feel the might of the Atlantic Ocean on my doorstep, and as much as I enjoyed camping at that dramatic location I was getting increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t continue my journey onwards to Muck.
I’ve always used folding kayaks for travelling, and they are generally wider than rigid kayaks, making them slower but more stable. My kayaks have always had fairly big open cockpits, because I prefer the comfort for extended periods of paddling, and I also have extra equipment to accommodate as a fully equipped photographer, and often need it close at hand. I’ve never particularly liked using spray-decks or spray-skirts, so consequently, in addition to the extra beam, doing an Eskimo roll has never been an option, if I had ever been unfortunate enough to capsize. I’ve never really had to develop so many technical skills as anyone who just uses rigid kayaks, apart from being able to do high and low braces, which I had to do a lot on this trip. Although the wider hull of folding kayaks, relative to their length, affects the tracking, and usually necessitates the use of a rudder, there are always conditions when I also have to use technical skills to assist with steering.