Monday, December 05, 2005

More Paddling In The Firth


The picture shows the view down the Cromarty Firth. In the distance you can see the sutors where the Cromarty Firth runs into the Moray firth. Closer is the crossing point point between Invergordon on the left and Newhall Point on the Black Isle on the right.

Ref. OS Landranger 21


Got out paddling again on Sunday 5th December. I started checking the weather report on Wednesday as I had already established that the tide was suitable for the trip.
The weather was rather less predictable. On Wednesday we were expecting Sunday to bring a 10mph easterly with heavy rain showers. After several predicted wind direction and speed changes the forecast on the day was light showers and a 5mph north westerly !

Andy and I put in at Nigg ( 796,687 ) which is on the North sutor of the Cromarty firth. There was a swell coming into the firth and real waves landing on the beach. We got our gear sorted and broke through the surf into the swell and started toward the pier at Cromarty. It was a great experience, a few weeks ago I did my first crossing further west but this crossing was very close to the real sea and the incoming tide and swell was funneling in through the sutors pushing us sideways and helping us on our way. Andy seemed to be loving it too.

The exciting bit over we neared the coast of the Black Isle and slogged along westward through constant heavy showers, the sun just managed to make an appearance for about 8 minutes and that was it. We beached about half way along ( 744,655 ) and had a flask of hot coffee each and a bit to eat.



The rest of the trip from Cromarty to Newhall Point ( 709,672 ) near Balblair was rather dull and damp, mostly into the wind. We were both glad to reach the crossing point and had a good rest before we did.

We crossed from Newhall Point back over to the north side of the firth and along to our individual take out points. The trip had taken 3 hours.

I tested most of my new kit on the trip. The paddle leash was, well a paddle leash, I didn't lose my paddle so I guess it worked :-) I was also wearing my new Yak Kalyx cag. I opened the under arm zips quite quickly as the early excitement caused a sweat, later I zipped them back up again, I have a Mountain Equipment jacket I use for winter hillwalking which has underarm zips and I have NEVER used them. The hood also came in handy in the frequent wintery downpours a very useful comfy piece of kit, nice touch having a piece of soft fleece on the inside of the collar.

The other piece of kit deserving a mention are the pogies. These were the Suzy 40 Below ones which are nylon with some foil like heat reflecting material on the inside. They did a great job at keeping the old handys warm even on the odd occasion when water dripped in my hands were warm throughout the day. The only time they got cold was when we stopped for a snack !

Now I'm off to plan the next trip, maybe the Dornoch Firth ?
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