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The Skerries of Arisaig
by DonnyW » Mon May 10, 2010 8:03 pm
Date walked: 10/05/2010Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The Skerries are a series of small islands and semi submerged rocks at the entrance of Loch nan Ceall near Arisaig. At high tide, only the highest points are visible above water but at low tide, a new landscape appears as many of the islands are interconnected by a sand bar left by the receding tide.
A boat is required to visit the skerries so I took my inflatable dingy. Although I row it for exercise I carry an outboard motor when I go on trips like this as the tidal currents and wind conditions can change very quickly and a small row boat on open sea can be a great danger for the inexperienced. The outboard can help get me out of difficult situations that I may not be able to row againt.
There was a fresh north westerly blowing as I set out in the early morning just before low tide. I decided to put the boat in the water at the old pier on the dead end road to Rhue. My idea was to use the outboard to cross the south channel to reach the island of Eilean an Fhroaich Beag. Land there and explored the skerries on foot at low water, then as the tide started coming in again, row through the skerries to the north channel. That way both the wind and tide would carry me back to the start point at the old pier without much effort rowing. The outboard made quick work of crossing the choppy south channel
I pulled the boat well up from the water as the tide cab come in quicker than you think and I didn’t want to be a castaway.
This shows the make up of the sand bar that interconnects the islands. Its made of fine sand, broken coral and thousands of shells.
I love the way nature makes its abstract art works. This seaweed will be floating directly upwards in a six hours time
The are a few wild plants of the larger of the skerries. This shows the lovely little sea pinks that flower at this time of the year. Although not obvious in this photo..the Cuillin of Skye are visible on the horizon.
This photo shows the wild primrose that also grow on the larger skerries. The mountains on the horizon are on the mainland near Arisaig
There are numerous sea birds and their nests are everywhere but it appears to be a bit early for eggs as I didn’t see any ? We saw a lone puffin paddling in the water but sadly it was gone before I could get a photo.
You always have to be very vigilant that the tide doesn’t turn and cut you off from the boat as you walk among the islands and rock formations. Here you can see the island of Eigg on the horizon
The distinctive hill shape of An Sgurr on Eigg is seen better in this photo. Its height is 1292 ft and can be climbed by catching the ferry from Arisaig. It returns in four hours so there is time to climb it in a day
The water round the skerries is crystal clear. The tide has turned and its coming in fast. Time to get back to the boat … quickly
I had already pulled the boat higher but the land around was disappearing fast. Nature was wiping all trace of my visit.
Back in the boat we started rowing along the waterways now several feet deep. Some were hard to row in as the incoming tide made them into flowing rivers but we had no difficulty following quieter pathways in the back eddies
This was the magic hour in the skerries. It’s the time the seals seem to appear. I never saw one while walking, but now … rowing quietly ..they soon appeared.
Suddenly they were everywhere. They are very inquisitive and follow the boat for miles. I couldn’t make up my mind if I was watching them for entertainment or was it the other way around ? Certainly ..I was in their element. There is something very exciting seeing them splash and turn only feet from a small boat. One was close enough to soak me with his tail as he turned quickly beside the boat.
I spent the day exploring the skerries by foot and by boat and as the sun set.
Thanks for reading my report.
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I regularly Kayak in the river Forth at high tide and low tide. It seems amasing when the sandbanks appear and then dissapear a few hours later as the tide ebbs and flows. Numerous seals appear on top of the water and disappear as I paddle around. They climb out of the water and sunbathe on the marker Buoys but if you get too close they soon shove of into the water. Superb
I like the way you frame your pictures.
by FloozySuzie » Mon May 10, 2010 9:07 pm
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- Joined: Mar 30, 2010
- Location: Ardersier, Inverness-shire
by Freewheelin » Mon May 10, 2010 11:15 pm
... remember having a bit of a fight with a sheep that didn't want to let me pass while on the way up Sgurr an t-Sasunnaich
by DonnyW » Tue May 11, 2010 5:12 pm
I have a walk report for climbing Sgurr an t-Sasunnaich on the Sunday and the views from the top must be some of the best for any hill of its height ..far better than Ben a’An in my opinion ..I hope to post it up in a day or two.
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- Joined: Dec 18, 2009
Can you attach a small outboard motor to any of those little inflatable rowing boats? I ask as I've just got one last summer...
- mountain coward
by kevsbald » Thu May 13, 2010 8:34 am
by FMCKIE » Fri May 14, 2010 8:00 am
Heading home after stay at Oban bothy, Loch Morar.
Hope to see more of this.
by Caberfeidh » Sun May 16, 2010 9:21 am
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