If you want a better idea of whats going on then get out OS Landranger 21 or see google maps and look at the Cromarty Firth from Invergordon up west to the bridge at Ardullie.
Tuesday 18th October, first wee trip in boat. Started out at Ardullie bridge parking car next to roundabout (grid 587,623). I was joined by T in a P&H Quest and S in a P&H Capella, both proper sea Kayaks and T and S are both really fit people. I knew I could easily fall behind in my very stable but slower Contour.
The weather was nice and sunny with a slight breeze, lovely paddling. We progressed nicely looking out for Seals and other such fauna. We hit a choppy bit or two and assumed it was just the tide turning, thing were going great and I was keeping up nicely although the others may have going slow for me :-)
We passed the Yankee pier ( in grid 66,67 ) and things changed, there was a strong wind blowing from the east south east and things were getting choppy. T and S were getting further and further ahead, I did notice S turning around to check I was OK. The fact is that although I was making slow progress in the wind I was really enjoying it ! The front of the boat was bouncing up and down and spray was hitting me in the face, I felt like I was on a whale catcher somewhere in the South Atlantic ! I had a couple of scares when I thought I had a wave sussed but it collapsed and the boat fell off the side of it, pardon my lack of sea dog parlance.
T&S were quite far ahead and I noticed they were heading for land at Invergordon ( grid 699,687 ). T landed but S came back to make sure I was OK. "T doesn't like it like that " said S. It appears T was having visions of being tipped freaked a bit and made a dash for land, that's why they got so far ahead of me.
Me and S had a look around the corner and tried to convince T that it was OK, there were in fact quite large waves bouncing along by the harbour and T decided to go back to land and wait for S to pick him up in the car.
Me and S continued on our journey and reached the take out point at ( grid 728,700 ). I worked it out as 17 Km and it took 3hrs 20 minutes.
Force 4's are good fun for some but not all paddlers.
Your group of three can become a group of 2 and 1 quite easily.
Don't stop, you get cold quick !