Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cold Windy And Scary, but Great Fun.

Todays paddle was another one in the Cromarty Firth, are you seeing a pattern here ?
I started near the Burial Ground at Kiltearn near Evanton (615,653). It was still only 1 degC from the night before but due to warm up a bit. The plan was to observe the seals which hang about on the sand near both sides of the Cromarty Bridge. I was not supposed to be paddling alone but the other person pulled out at the last minute.

Despite the very singular nature of the party I decided to go ahead with the plan and cross SW into the 11knot ( 20kph ) wind and head for the south side causeway of the bridge. Near the middle it was very lively, the tide was on it's third hour of coming in and in the middle of the channel it was arguing with the wind coming in the other direction I was caught in the crossfire with waves breaking over the bow and big spray hitting me in the face, great fun.

On reaching the causeway I took shelter for a wee while as I could see that the next part of my journey was going to be more difficult. I planned to head to the north side of the bridge but the waves would be coming at me from a bad angle on my left, and they were getting big with plenty of white tops now visible. Ach what the hell, I paddles out.

This part of the trip had me sneaking my way north whilst also 'surfing' the bigger waves NNE, laughing with excitement but also crapping myself when there were nasty sideways hits. I have never seen so many different wave conditions in such a short space of time. There were sets of big ones that looked like rapids on a river but they were moving, these were a great help and good fun when caught right. I dared to look at my GPS a few times and I was getting 7.7 kph from them. I continued sneaking my way north when the waves weren't looking and going with them when they were.

I reached the north causeway without having a fishes view of the firth, I remember saying " I can't believe I just did that ". This time last year I was someone who didn't like water, disliked swimming and didn't do any water sports.
I had arranged to meet the wife and kids at the Foulis Point restaurant at midday and had to burn up time as the old adrenaline had been like nitro in the engine and I was way too early.

The worst part of the day was waiting in the cold for the nice warm car and change of clothes to arrive, but a big turkey dinner made up for it.

Oh I only saw one seal near the start of the trip, Berty the Gull must have told them I was coming :-)

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