Across the water

Scenic Inverkip Power Station

Scenic Inverkip Power Station

This blog was named after a commonly used expression where I live, ie “across the water” which refers to the other side of the River Clyde, where industry and (some) civilisation exist. Of course, people on the other side similarly refer to the Cowal Peninsula as being “across the water”, especially as the principal means of getting here is by ferry. So, with that in mind, it is notable that the one thing that Alan and I had not yet done was kayak across the water. Which makes this blog a bit of a fraud really!

We’ve often been asked if we have paddled over to the other side and have responded with expressions of fear of: conditions, stealth tankers, speeding powerboats and – my own personal worst nightmare – suddenly emerging nuclear submarines. In view of the fact that the latter are unlikely to announce their activities over the VHF airwaves, I have harboured visions of my small kayak being hoisted aloft by the hulking mass of a surfacing Trident submarine, only to tumble into the roiling, turbulent waters created by same, never to be seen again – as I’m sure the Royal Navy/MoD would cover their tracks and erase all record of the incident (I really must stop watching Jason Bourne movies). The response we have received from others, however, has been in the vein of, “What’s the big deal?”, so yesterday we decided to find out.

Conditions were perfect, a complete 180 degree turnaround from the weather of last weekend which saw howling gales and cancelled ferries. Gorgeous autumn sunshine beckoned us to come out to play, so we set off for Inverkip and kept a sharp eye out for other vessels and anything resembling a periscope. Being as the season for pleasure craft seems to be over, we scarcely passed another boat of any description. It was like crossing the Sound of Gigha all over again.

Arran mountains

Arran mountains

Yesterday’s trip was especially enjoyable for me as I have recently had to contend with a bout of optic neuritis. I know, I’d never heard of it either. Suddenly, I lost a fair chunk of vision in my right eye, like the lights had been dimmed. I couldn’t see colours well and had blind spots. All fairly distressing, as you can imagine. And, when you start losing vision, you don’t automatically assume that you will get it back again. Fortunately, the optic nerve is capable of mending and, with a renewed and urgent focus on a healing diet (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds), I am pleased to report that my vision started returning late last week. It’s not 100% yet, but things are looking very good indeed (in every sense). Before I understood my condition, and as I contemplated the worst, it’s interesting to note that I didn’t find myself panicking about not being able to work any more (sorry, customers). I was singularly panicked by the prospect of not being able to get out in my kayak. Funny that.

Snoozing Seal

Snoozing Seal

We said hello to Inverkip, paddling north a little past the Marina, before deciding to head back well in advance of darkness falling. Our seal count was just the one, which only added to my concerns about their diminishing numbers. But it was nice to see him/her poking his/her nose out the water regardless.

Now we can say we’ve done it – we have faced down our fears and paddled across the open waters of the Clyde, and lived to tell the tale.

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