Thursday, 2 January 2014

Achiltibuie June 2013 post 1: Oldany, Summer Isles, Ristol. Catch of the day, Seals & Peregrines.

This trip (covered across four posts) was the Z-Pro Tango's finest hour, although the post for May 2014 (once we'd bought a solid boat) covers Achiltibuie & the Summer Isles better than this one does. 

In this week in the N, we got out on the sea almost every day, taking it to numerous islands where we caught lots of meals of everything from mussels to sea urchins. 

This time we had the leisure to explore the summer isles in much greater detail than the previous year, and they didn't disappoint. Our place to stay was as superb as ever, with views from the door of An Teallach:
 & Ben Mor Coigach:


On the first day, the winds were up, so we needed a sheltered paddle and went for Oldany Island which is much closer to the mainland than any of the Summer Isles. It turned out to be a great choice. Drifting with the wind we were taken very close to some sleepy seals:

 There was also a small island covered in hundreds of raucous terns:
Once the weather improved we headed out to the Summer Isles, setting out early to leave lots and lots of time for exploring Tanera Mor & Tanera Beg.
The water was still mildly choppy, making paddling against the wind splashy.

These islands have lots of great rock features, including this natural arch on the south east side of Tanera Beg:
 And this large cave on the south west side of Tanera Beg

Under this natural arch is a great patch for catching sea urchins - a seafood delicacy in much of the world that has been very slow to take off in Britain.
 After heading round Tanera Beg, we paddled between the islands, where there was a family of eider ducks

Then, on the North end of Tanera Mor, a pair of peregrines, presumably with a nest nearby, were performing quite some acrobatics. It was worth taking a few photos of the performance - slightly tricky from a rocking boat:

Also between the islands was a small seal colony. As the day went on, some of the seal pups emerged from their hidden sleeping places:

On the way back an otter was fishing near the coast:

We also paddled round Isle Ristol...
  ...Where a bonxie decided to go for us (mildly perturbing in an inflatable boat).

Next day we travelled north and took the more leisurely, ferry-based, approach to Handa...

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