Saturday, 12 December 2009

East Side Story

View Sandiside and gloup in a larger map
A bit of a theme of this year have been trips up the east coast of the island. Launching from Newark or Sandiside, we usually made our way to the Gloup, Mull Head or Point of Ayre.

Today the forecast was supposed to be good so those of us who were still around decided it was high time to get out for a paddle. We think it had been a month since we were last on the sea.

After a bit of deliberation, we decided that we would go 1st barrier to Dingieshowie but near the Quoyburry Inn, Peter's trailer got a flat tyre. I had to go back to Kirkwall to pick up the spare and by the time we got to Dingieshowie, the wind was stronger than anticipated.

Instead we made our way to Sandiside to see what gave. On the water it was still windier than forecast, but the sun was shining. There was a fair swell, not huge but certainly noticable.

From paddling

Heading to the Gloup

I had forgotten the thrill of being tossed around in my little boat, especially in the clapotis near the rocks. I love the feeling of the swell hitting you and trying to anticipate what way the boat is going to go. I managed a little bit of rockhopping having visited the Gloup and continuing on the Brough of Deerness.

From paddling
Peter approaches the Gloup entrance

From paddling
In the Gloup

From paddling
In the Gloup cave, behind the waterfall - most water we've seen from it for a while

There is a cave at the Brough of Deerness where seals are often found, but as it is pupping season, we left them well alone. The sounds that they made were amazing and it is easy to see why legends of banshees and selkies developed. I managed to record the very strange seal sounds with my camera - I've filtered out the background noise but they really did sound that strange! (You may have to click play twice below to hear them)

The trip back again was harder work as we were now going into the wind. After my course last week, I self reflected upon my own stroke - something it's easy to forget to do. I kept thinking: posture, connectivity and power transfer and of couse, 'shit on your shaft'. I put my yoga class to good use, sat up straight and pressed with the feet, deciding it was perhaps time to move my footrests from their current relaxed position.

Off I went into the wind, thinking, 'yoga posture, shitty shaft, connectivity and power transfer' - brilliant! I could feel those stomach muscles working! It's great to get periodic coaching to refresh and improve your own personal skills and Dave and Giles were both excellent last week.

I had a lovely time out today in the waves and decided that there is no where better to be than in a low brace position between a rock and a large wave as it breaks over your boat. So much fun!!


  1. Nice slideshow.
    Here's hoping I get to go out on the briny with you soon.

  2. Most of the briny was in my mouth today I think!