Sunday, January 01, 2006
I got an email the other day to say the Inverness Canoe Club were planning a Hogmonay paddle. I haven't done any sea paddling with the club so the organiser was only going to let me go if the forecast was for low speed winds. I was in luck, I phoned Rhona just after 07:00 and she confirmed that I was 'On'.
The trip started from the tip of the lower 'Point' in the picture, called Chanonry point. This place is a well known spotting point for the Moray Firth dolphins. We paddled east then north to the shoreline ( up a bit then left in the picture). We reached the cliff-faced shoreline and I was asked if I wanted to try some rock hopping. I didn't know what it was but after watching some of the others dodging through the rocks near the shore I had to have a go. Mike managed to ground himself on one of the rocks which caused great amusement and invoked a 'knock you off' rescue.
We paddled east to find a landing spot and had lunch. I produced my sandwich bag containing an apple and a banana and was treated to mince pies, fruit cake, tablet, nore mince pies and mulled wine ! Now I know what went into all those bags people were packing into their holds. I will be better prepared next time.
We set off south heading for Fort George. There were fourteen of us in the group and, although I am not the chatty type, I found myself alongside a few different people and managed to get some good info from those who have been paddling longer than I. The first was that I need to get a rudder. My boat has no skeg and it's rather difficult to keep in a straight line when the wind is following. I was advised by two different people that I could have my enjoyment very much impaired if I had to spend several hours trying to keep the boat straight.
We reached Fort George where the HW spring tide was crashing all along the walls then rebounding back out. I was once again invited to take part in an impromtu activity, surfing. I backed in near to the wall and waited. Paddle paddle paddle paddle, great fun. I had another go before we made our way back to the start point.
Although the area is famous for dolphins I did not see any, only plenty of seals. It was a good day out.