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 |

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