Guidebook updates

Things change.  The moment any guidebook is published it is out of date.  I try to add informtaion here, but even though I live on Scotland's west coast, that doesn't mean I know everything that's happening on the trail all the time.  

If you discover something which you think other paddlers ought to know, then please email me

Corrections

Page 28  

Force 5 is described as a ‘Moderate Gale’ when clearly it’s not - thanks Ian.


Page 65 & 68  

The scale on these maps is wrong -  thanks Tobias.


Page 103  

Tidal streams mid-channel between Eigg and Mainland should be timed from Ullapool (as on the map) not Oban.


Page 106  

Loch Ailort is mistakenly identified as Loch Moidart.

Tobermory Overnights

In the book I recommend against an overnight in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull as I could not find a safe place to leave a kayak unattended.  Readers have since told me they want to spend a night in the town, and ask "what’s the ‘least risky’ place to leave kayaks".  

At the far western corner of the harbour, immediately before the yacht pontoon, there’s a small concrete slipway.  The angle of slope and the large rocks make it hard to see until you’re almost on top of it, so aim for the Aquarium, a large white building with a circular turret (it has laundry, showers and toilets).  Quite a few boats are left lying around at the top of the slipway, and it would be possible to hide a couple of kayaks here.  

The risk comes from there being a car park and two bars less than 100 yards away.  It’s not unknown for a drunken holiday-maker to see a kayaking and think, ‘I can paddle that’.  So take the hatches off and lock the kayaks together if possible, as I explain in the book.  Leaving a kayak unattended in Tobermory is not risk-free, but I believe this is the least risky option.

Anti-midge strategies for kayak camping

In the guide-book I write a little about the anti-midge strategy which we use.  However, with the dreaded winged beasties starting to arrive for another year, I wrote a longer article for my blog, embedded with links to buy the small bits-and-pieces we use and recommend.  I’ve linked to the article rather than reproduce it in full here.  

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Argyll sea kayak trail

One of the more significant developments since the guidebook was published has been the creation of this 'official' trail.  Because local government is involved the trail is restricted to one county and so covers a fraction of the full Scottish Sea Kayak Trail.

There are some handy resources on the website Paddle-Argyll.org.uk  

Coastguard & weather broadcast changes

Since the guidebook was published Clyde Coastguard has closed.  Now almost all the area through which the Trail travels is covered by Stornoway Coastguard (Tel: 01851 702013/4).  Only the extreme south of the Trail, from the start to around the Crinnan area, is covered by Belfast Coastguard (Tel: 02891 463933).  

Mallaig development

A significant amount of development has taken place in the last few years including a new marina with pontoons.  The recommended landing site given in the book has also changed, with a set of steps added to the slipway making launching and landing here more difficult. There is another concrete slipway and mud beach next to the boatyard which gives faster access to the town but leave the kayaks quite visible.  Alternatively there is an area known as 'The Kyber' on the east side of the harbour before you reach the pontoons where commercial kayak trips often launch and land, walking across flat rocks.  This is closer to the proposed long-stay parking area.

Parking charges

Argyll and Bute Council like its neighbour Highland Council have introduced parking charges in many places which were free when the guidebook was written.  For example, long term parking in Oban is now difficult to find.  It might soon go the same way in Mallaig.  As the trail was based around nodal points like these it makes vehicle shuttles increasingly difficult, so please research the options carefully and ensure your informtaion is up to date.