Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Ru Idrigill - guard to the Southern Minch .

Pelagic heading set for Fladda Chúain, Harris, Scalp & the Uists, West-Nor-West. An eagre Fulmar escort stands-by, throwing arced warm up laps overhead, while the radio crackles out dutiful prose in my right ear, familiarity over strengthening wind...

Malin Hebrides: Northerly 5 or 6, veering easterly 3 or 4. Moderate or rough, occasionally very rough at first. Fair. Good.

You bang out the coffee mug on clattering black basalt, & breathing in the sky, everything is how it should be - just as it is either way, & you're good to go. You listen to that poetic timbre sliding further North along the hips of the current, letting the loch decide temperament.

Fair Isle
, Cromarty: Variable 3 or 4. Moderate or rough...

Remembered days way back, finding Finisterre to be a Latin corruption of Finis Terre....end of earth. Radio 4 & Sailing By - almost...womb music for adults, or children of the Gael; those of us who sprouted up like weeds beyond range of the TV signal. Curled warm at night by a creaking storm window with the Long Ranger placing markers in the soul, & those markers, like pipe smoke, somehow force a stronger navigational bearing than the lone black starting gun of Ru Idrigill.

The drone of a mad forging prawner herd becomes nothing more than an occasional flicker of green & red on the horizon. The wake of LRSF drifts out behind, becoming silent & Harris forms a distant shape across open territory.

Good to go.
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 17:48:00 | 0 Retorts
Monday, 24 September 2007

Surviving trace elements of Norwegian ice, sleep on my window ledge. These coins, this matrix of coral stone, carry their own memory of black qajariaq, arctic flow & ravine, cut deep & strait as bone. Strike at me from here & I will set fire to your soul...

Hvor er mitt frössen sjel forfører ...
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 23:36:00 | 0 Retorts
Monday, 17 September 2007
Collie proverb number 1...
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 21:45:00 | 0 Retorts
Thursday, 13 September 2007

Where Inuksuit
come on holiday?...

in the form of Inunnguaq, Tammariikkuti & places of power & the sea vigilant. Following Inuit traditions of navigation, the Niungvaliruluit type of Inuksuk, give windowed alignment, acting as sight lines to places of power & importance beyond the horizon. They still have relevant precise geographical distance marking & direction use that gps is only just figuring out. They also provided doorways between earth & the spirit realm to be used by the shaman & harboured within their patterns are reenactments of ceremonial hunting...tributes to leviathan, shadowed by stone qajaq.
As much as they carry spiritual significance,
Inuksuit were once also used to give the illusion of greater Inuit hunter numbers, stone human forms on the barren horizon, forcing paths upon Caribou through terrain of beast migrations far to vast for corraling & circumnavigation by foot.

Inuksuit mark an immediate wild shoreline with only a few kayak friendly landing zones. They wait amongst sea serpents & stories & stone kayaks, strung like the very sinew of echoes, silence, patience, & grace themselves. They lean into the force winds of winters hemispherical blizzards & brace against storm surge, to lay somehow respite within their construction among tiny Arctic flowers during warmer months. Their mood is often almost mischievous. The stones taste of ocean salt when you lick them. But can anyone guess the exact location... woolly sock wi a hole in they toe, to the winner aye.

Dimming light over natures rolling clinic - 9pm & we retire to stone hearths, stew & warm drams. I will, in my fashion, sleep with the window ajar & reflect on each individuals progress; the last sound across my ears, being wind driven & oceanic, through rough grasses.

After thought: Leaving the ocean to silence & a winter skimmed temperament, today the ice felt as though it had drifted Southward, just an increment, but a drift nonetheless. It's noticeable like that, when you live inside the aerial boundaries & tides, it's somehow more honest to recognize it for yourself, recognize it touching your own skin, than saying, It's December, it's winter...or it's March, therefore it's Spring. Anyways, the combat rolling workshop was refreshing, the straight-jacket roll, an act of tenacity in strong, cold surf. There is nothing like a practical lesson & demo in aiding explanation how each roll develops to
handle a variety of different situations & needs & I like to make sure both novice & intermediate benefit from such displays, that both hold eachother up & coach eachothers experiences forward, that they are hands-on, even in a spectating capacity. They have just learned that even the experienced, the masters, practise the basics over & over again. They have just seen & felt the reality of practical & swift rolling application when the main objective becomes simple preservation of that all important instinct to breathe. That's all it is aye. Roll to survive, a tool in the Inuit toolbox of surviving a life inextricably linked to the ocean. The rest of the rolls, the glitter on the girl so to speak, developed from a humorous & playful inter community one-up-man-ship. The group have learned that even the most advanced roller will regress into a basic bombproof repertoire of rolls when survival is on the line, leaving showmanship as a distant absurdity.
Soon we will explore combating the Walrus Pull in strong winds & an exciting surf enviroment & throughout the
great strengthener, I'll do my best to guide adjustment of their spatial skills in an inverted & maytagged world, asking for performance where it counts, examination of physcology. Go into the squall & roll, running for the harbour will only make you good at running...for the harbour. To a degree, there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad understanding & interpretation - The 17th will see me back home on Skye, for some clean woolly socks, a fight with a rubber chicken, & a rest.

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posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 19:40:00 | 2 Retorts
Monday, 10 September 2007
That wee, brilliant raw Amy Winehouse. Her big stone vocals snaking out of a 5ft 2" frame. The girl ain't scary, the girl's raw beauty. A dragged, clattered & upright soul, screaming talent, sleeping in rags, fighting cats, replete, chained & free...intelligent, sultry, funny, vibrant smokey & dismayed. All other women should stop trying to sing, right about now...

Once again, I cracked my head on the
Baidarka swung through the boat shed crossbeam, slave to the rhythm of a boiler suit & wellie lantern shuffle in the still of 2am, & once again, she's made me hit my own thumb with a hammer working, skeletal vision. I can't play her on roof tops & chimney pots, since my vigilance toward the resultant sashay lessens...& I fall off.
It's allowed - feeling your way through life. It punches through the mediocrity with greater commitment & presence.
She's allowed to look through cracked glass & gain perfect sight, as we all are, & only the scared will invent a thousand negatives in an attempt to flashbang their own. She has said her biggest fault is being human. Inside that translation, I find the words, fallible, weak, strong, extrovert, & introvert, foolishness & intelligence, amongst others. I would say those qualities are far from being a fault, more, an often undervalued rarity. Keep on keeping on. Invention & originality breed leaps in imagination & fresh perspectives. Just like Amy, & just as my kayaks & tuiliq parade, I am also only wearing black until they invent something darker...yet, there is light eminating from everywhere, & lately, a greater tendancy to reach out into it...

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 16:51:00 | 0 Retorts
Sunday, 2 September 2007
One of the best, if not serious & wild Hebridean sea kayak playgrounds was totally on form for my new camera test today. The area we call The Washing Machine consists of several arch through journeys, often accompanied by giant Atlantic swell. These break down into drums or areas. The most notoriously heathen of these archway areas, are The Eye on the NW tip, & Drum II directly NNE & below the lighthouse, you being a precarious & thin needle threading paths, trying not to get bent. A great & ancient mythology also flows within this arena, back & forth through the sinew & dreams of lost Norse kings.
The photo freefalls 80ft into the rear exit from The Eye, showing the treacherous surf zone combined with thin right hand channel shelving. When these combine with furious currents & swell at the immediate exit, jettisoning the kayaker at a point almost directly under where the blurred foreground ledge can be seen, the game is already in full swing. If it goes wrong, an escape swim can be a horrendous prospect, & should you need to climb out, taking it that you having survived getting shelved, there is of course, an obligatory E8 & an E7 above in the arch.
There are 30 words in the Inuit language to describe snow. There only a few recognizable descriptions of currents, that assist in describing this resident maelstrom & its behavioural problems. The main constant is the sub surface gniessian geology & it's effect on each tidal run...through immersion into its ever changing moods, you learn to feel its intention, & its intention is usually malice. Yet malice seems an absurd word to use, when the dreams & kingdoms we lean against our sanitary lifetimes, flicker out like airborne sparks in the fire of planetary evolution. Storm surges, rips & swells of this nature, rolling silently toward shore from distant pelagic cyclones will & do, kill in an instant, if you don't have it in hand...Don't go in over your depth. There is challenging your ability aye, but you have to make honest assessments of that ability. You have to assess how much it will be drained in the fight, how well you perform in prolonged surf rolling situations where orientation often goes out the window, how the reverse overfalls are running, the winds versus the shelves & whether you fully understand your chosen location, also sub sea level to some degree, inside out, & your escapes. Just be realistic - or you may not be around. Tell a responsible adult where you are going, wear clean underpants, use the green cross code....that sorta thing.

Canon Ixus 75 still test - Toul a' Roigh. Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle & Faeroes - West or Northwest, gale 8 to 9, occasionally storm 10, becoming psychotic.

The nerve to decline an invite of drumming the circuit is respected as much as the nerve to commit to that invite. Both the North & South machair camps have established vehicle access. More importantly, the North machair base is the most realistic if not only viable drag out escape in the event being overcome by storm surge, before Port at Drum IV. Barely marked on the map as a beach, I've seen this white sand inlet becalmed in an overhead force 9 many times. Being the only one as far as I'm aware to have banged all the drums & make a complete run in weather & seas of that severity, it is invaluable when on the verge of exhaustion. A lifeline offering some recovery of composure can quickly become a safety blanket of warmth, nurturing reluctancy & draining will. The strong temptation to land & call it a day, has never won...yet. Remember though, these drums & wild outcrops can be navigated & enjoyed with equal fulfilment
when the equatorial belt of calm drifts North with an autumn sun. As old Domhnaill says - Is fheàrr teicheadh math na droch fhuireach. Uhuh Domhnaill, agus tha fàilte air a h-uile duine aig a bheil ùidh ann an seinn, air chùlaibh a churtair?...

So if I ever ask if you fancy visiting the launderette, you'll have a good idea of what is about to occur aye. Just beyond the thunder point, is the Dry Cleaners...seriously. And the new Canon Ixus 75 intermediate verdict? Excellent so far. It'll be interesting to see how it copes, filming in a waterproof housing when I take the black knife through here towards winter, when rage turns to fury,
further upping the ante ...I hope i don't fold.

Geo reference

The golden rule to risky solos like this? - When there is doubt, there is no doubt.

Canon Ixus 75 macro test - even managed to bring out clear dust definition to a thumb print on the carbon blade of my Kinetic split. Good for a wee thing.

I'll try to get all these trips & personal maps into pdf format for download in the left blog column soon. It's an ongoing process that comes 2nd to being out there aye.

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posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 19:45:00 | 0 Retorts