JTweedie wrote:It was £20 when I did it, but they seemed to make up the price on the spot, that was at least 2-3 years ago.
On reflection..that makes sense ..they will have a fixed operating cost for the boat that they wont want to drop below or they run at a loss that day. Perhaps the just divide the fixed cost by the number of passengers to arrive at the price for the day ? I guess it is reasonable in real terms, considering it cost me £50 in petrol to drive from my home to Lendalfoot and return..towing the boat.
I also know what you mean about the island being quiet in real terms. I loved the hills forty or so years ago as they offered a unique "wilderness experience" back in those days. There were not many who ventured up them and there was certainly no stone staircases up places like the Buachaille ..or the Cobbler. I dont go near the hills in summer now as there are bus loads on all the tops. Im not knocking the folks who do enjoy them and Im glad they are having fun and getting out into the great outdoors.. Im just sorry they cant see them like they used to be..however.. everyone is different and they may have been too remote for many in those days ?
I started instead exploring our remote coast line during the summer months. It is the last of the real wildernesses left even in Scotland. There are no paths to follow on the sea.. I know I will meet few people.. and there is wildlife by the bucket load. It is however changing..just as quickly as our hills did. There are more and more kayaks and canoes appearing on the roof racks of cars. I guess in ten years time it will be a completely different experience.
Anyhoo..enought reminising about the good / bad old days ..and on with the my wildlife tour of Ailsa Craig
But first I will mention some wildlife that may be encountered on such an adventure, although..not so often that it is guaranteed.
There are whales that frequent our waters and can sometimes be seen in the summer months when the water gets a little warmer. The smaller minke whale is about the most common sighting although once in a blue moon you can encounter much larger types. Six or seven years ago we discovered this mamoth whale in the Solway Firth area... just by following our noses. Yup..sadly it beached itself to die and had been there a few days before we came across it.. so it was rather smelly
The whale was that big..I had to stand back to get it all in the photo
A sixteen foot long kayak is dwarfed by the big bad blubber boy
A car could easily fit in the mouth of the whale.. my brother is almost overcome by its bad breath smell
Another common sighting is the basking shark and I was hoping to see one on this trip..but they are not here yet..I have heard reports that they are still heading up the warm waters and are around the Anglesay area at present.
The Clyde use to be full of them but sadly they have been slaughtered and there are few left now .
Unfortunately a Girvan charter boat..similar to the MV Glorious..around 20 years or so ago was given a license to fish for them. This enterprising businessman fitted a harpoon to his boat and took willing tourists, who paid good money, on trips to see these magnificent creatures harpooned and slaughtered. The carcasses were then sold to the Girvan fish and chip shop where the tourists could then go and buy a "shark Supper". He only stopped harpooning them when there were none left to catch
I have seen a few baskers but dont have a decent photo of one yet..so I have borrowed this one off my brother's web site. It was taken further up the west coast of Scotland on an earlier adventure. There is a very exciting and emotional feeling when a 15 ft shark comes to see what you are doing in a 16 ft long kayak. It is of course totally harmless and just ambles about syphoning plankton through its huge open mouth. Here you can just see its top lip near the fron of the kayak.. the dorsel fin in the middle and the tail is still off the rear of the boat. My brother's daughter must have some great photos of it as she is the one in the kayak.
As mentioned..these sightings were not from my trip on Thursday..but they can be seen in the waters around the Ailsa Craig on lucky days
I will continue the island tour soon ......