Bunking off to Cumbrae and Gigha (Part 2)

Heading to Gigha, Paps of Jura ahead

Heading over Sound of Gigha, Paps of Jura ahead

We noted a distinct nip in the air as we made our way across the Cowal Peninsula to the Portavadie ferry. It’s definitely not summer any more, but at least it was sunny. We had toyed with the idea of taking the ferry over to Gigha, but being that the Sound of Gigha was in a state of rare mirrorlike calm, we launched beside the ferry slip and paddled over instead. I was taken aback by the peacefulness that prevailed throughout the day. We were almost entirely alone except for seabirds as we paddled south in beautiful scenery. I do sometimes feel that the Kintyre Peninsula and vicinity truly represents “undiscovered Scotland”. It seems so devoid of people and, on a calm day like we had, the tranquility is soothing to the soul. And not a drop of rubbish in sight!

Searching for shells on Cara Island

Searching for shells on Cara Island

We continued southwards passed Rubha Dubh (a name that brings a smile) to Gigalum Island and Cara, stopping for lunch at the latter. Once again, we were entirely alone and we amused ourselves by collecting small round, mother-of-pearl-type shells that I fancied making into a necklace (if they ever do in fact make it out of my BA pocket). We had a leisurely time puttering about the southern islands in the knowledge that a circumnavigation of Gigha could wait for another day (or days) as it required a bit more time than we had allowed. Westwards, we saw a large amount of spray and breakers off of a skerry which proves that, even in the calmest conditions, you can still encounter some rough stuff.

Flat calm off Gigha

Flat calm off Gigha

Another source of entertainment along the way was listening to the Belfast Coastguard who could be picked up loud and clear on our radio. It was useful to hear their weather forecast, especially being that the Clyde Coastguard were still in the middle of industrial action (which I had thought affected the whole of the UK, but am now confused). Anyway, we did note that the Belfast officer’s weather pronouncements were issued with more feeling than we have been accustomed to hearing, with even a minor tone of surprise upon the intimation that the outlook was “good”. And who can blame him.

As we headed northwards, once again the possibility of taking the ferry back did cross our minds, but in view of the continuing calm conditions, we paddled back over the Sound instead and surfed some small breakers safely on to the beach at Tayinloan. After this scouting mission, I’ll look forward to returning to Gigha one day to go the whole way around.

All told, a very pleasant way to spend a couple of fine days, and certainly beats work.

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