Saturday, 26 December 2009

Chanonry Sunshine

Through my paddling adventures, I have had the opportunity to meet and make friends with many lovely people and so today I went paddling with a couple of them who live near the parental abode.
IMGP0433 Friends in front of a brooding sky

They were kind enough to lend me a boat, thus giving me a chance to try something different.  There had been talk of use of my very, very favourite type of kayak, a speedy(!) Perception Carolina but due to large spraydeck issues, I was lent a Valley Aquanaut LV instead.  What a shame!  (Sorry Carolina owners – I jest).
Santa in a big boat!

The Aquanaut LV is a good foot longer than my own Avocet at 17’1”.  Despite its length, it was still a really nice fit, a little higher above the hips perhaps, but excellent connectivity still.  I have struggled with some longer boats in the past, but I think the combination of low volume and snug Valley outfitting meant the boat’s length was a definite advantage, rather than a hindrance.  It’d be nice to try something like this again in a stronger wind or bigger seas or perhaps fully loaded for a camping trip.
dip Chanonry Point – It is so bracing!

We set out from Chanonry Point on the Moray Firth where there was a decided chill in the SW breeze.  As we left the point, we saw two MAD people going for a swim (or a paddle at least!).  Thankfully wrapped up in our drysuits and pogies, we made our way from the point over to a red port buoy where we could see the 2 knots of tide flowing through the firth.  We then headed along the coast, taking the opportunity for a little rock hopping along the way.
IMGP0434The tide flows past the port can IMGP0436The coastline on a sunny winter’s day IMGP0438Neil rockhops

We landed on a small beach for a spot of lunch but didn’t hang around too long since despite the sun, there was a real chill in the air and our hands were soon cold.  We decided that we’d just head back along the coast towards Rosemarkie.  There was further opportunity for a brief rockhop, before pausing at the beach.  We then headed back across to the lighthouse as the poorer weather began to roll in from the west.  We landed to an audience of camera wielding onlookers and were packed up and on our way before dark.
IMGP0445Coastline by Rosemarkie
IMGP0454Eleanor lands as the sun begins to setchanonry My best guess at our route – my E-trex is at home! (Or is it!!!)

I decided to try out my pogies today and found them to be excellent in such a bitter breeze.  They were a little tricky to get on and teeth regularly had to be employed to pull on the left one.  There was a tiny bit of seepage into the pogie from the shaft but nothing unpleasant and this probably helped to keep my hands at a nice temperature!  I found if I got most of my hand through the top of the fleece lining, my fingers could move easily around the paddle shaft inside the pogie, the pogie itself not being restrictive at all.  They also seemed very warm very quickly, even after putting them on after lunch.  I think these have to get a 9 out of 10!
IMGP0440Palm River Tec Pogies lying out to dry

Will this be the last appearance of my awful famous hat?  Is this really the last paddle of 2009?  Your guess is as good as mine! 
IMGP0446And I told my friend his hats were silly…..