•≈ Solitude
Sunday, 23 March 2008
En route & alone again, heading Cuddy Point through the open Minch waters, to Berneray & N.Uist catching a slingshot up along Mangersta.
I'm just going outside & I may be some time... seemed the most appropriate light-hearted quote of departure, given the encroaching weather conditions. I wasn't to be proved wrong either.


Escaping through Atlantic driven winter surf along the exposed outer Western edge of the Hebrides can often be in total contrast to the inner sounds... Add random hail squalls to taste...I was enjoying myself so much, I almost forgot I was supposed to be escaping.
Like a quiet moment in a classic symphony where you hang emotional on the skin of becalmed waters, marvelling silent at black horizons streaked with light, or like inside a crescendo of rolling thunder where you bang the drum to an increased pace of heartbeat & fury...Solitude, equally, comes in many forms.

This is in part, why we do what we do.
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 23:20:00 | 3 Retorts
Friday, 21 March 2008
I will be mostly getting into mischief, here:

Swell running 30ft @ 9 seconds, wind NNE Force 8-9. Sea temperature, a Mediterranean & unprecedented 8°C. The Beaufort scale also suggests that whistling may be heard in telegraph wires & umbrellas will be used with difficulty - Just as I was going to get my parasol out as a hairstyle saver while rolling in the hail storms...typical. :o)



Fig2: Escaping the confines of the harbour to cross swords with the midway surf, has today, proven itself to be a test of steel in it's own right...a beach launch, nigh on impossible. When you're waiting to bolt out of shelter here in these conditions, timing is everything. I was having a warm up roll just out of crop below the life ring, when this came thundering over the wall.


Fig3: Later this evening, cold & satisfied, I decided to hoof it along the cliff edges, & see how conditions were fairing at the far Northern tip, & found the lighthouse ghosting through wild reeks of spray. How to die suddenly in a sea kayak...kept crossing my mind...needless to say, I turned about face & headed back for some warm dry woolly feet & the cabin wood burner. I'm capable, no a bampot, the two should never be cross-referenced. Tomorrow it may be possible. •≈Cailean will know where this part of the world is & the ferocious contempt it can muster on a whim for kayaks & shipping vessels alike...

Over stopped monochrome variation...1...2...3 ...GO! What was it the man said? Sanity is the playground of the unimaginative.
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 15:29:00 | 2 Retorts
Thursday, 13 March 2008
Just spent some time back in amnesia lane amongst the black savagery of the Cuillin, subconsciously re-arranging my perspective... This is the place that gave my shoulders their current Subacromial Impingement, the place that led to cessation of climbing & the scraping of futuristic projects. Sleeping above the snowline photographing white lava streaks of snow against wild inscisored ridges as where it has come to... No sound save for the wind tearing its skin on the summits & grazing on wild grass, in the lower reaches. It's a different perspective in a sea kayak, grandious, yet impersonal. I know every rock, howff, escape & advance up here from my obsessive & hardcore climbing days, MRT rescue assists & bothy nights. Just as I do every rock, current, & anomaly in the outer island kayaking seas. 20 years have somehow passed. I realized long ago I'm not much good at anything else, so I made both my business, thoroughly & quietly. How is it a soul can have so much confidence out here, dancing through wild overhangs on the fingertips, meeting the Atlantic storm surges head on, yet not enough to go into the local bar? How did i become this shape i am today? How do any of us?

The other news is my Norwegian buddy •≈ Jan Egil Kristiansen who stays on & kayaks out of Føroyar, is getting things organized with kayaking groups & pulling people together in his islands, & I will be sitting in woolly socks by the fire with a dram both before & after a solo of the violent seas of Fugloy. At least, I hope they will live up to the fight they gave me a few years back. I had to abort after dancing with several 40 footers. He has also started up a Faroes section within the •≈Playak community. Things are looking positive for the trip, but how much single malt should I bring Jan? A fella can drown in so many ways. :o)

When you understand body mechanics, torque & fluidity, Greenlandic qajaq or qajariaq rolling is natural - soloing E7 is no different. Be a master of whatever you do, from learning to paddle in a straight line to advanced rolling. Never compromise yourself.

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 18:01:00 | 2 Retorts