Today was perhaps a bit too action packed and I am now slumped over my keyboard trying to muster the energy to type.
This morning I was keen to get out a paddle again as the weather was still calm and I need as much practice as I can for 4* assessment. We had a lovely paddle yesterday, but today I wanted to get out in some 4* conditions. I was keen for some rockhopping but Hairyaker (our only 4* leader) suggested the north channel of Eynhallow Sound on the spring flood. Sounded good to me! Much of the north channel is very shallow so the tide rips through at a fair pace and where it flows over the rocks and skerries, chutes and overfalls form, making it a fun playground. The maximum rate of flow is probably about 8 knots in this channel as it reaches 7kns in the south channel, which is wider and less restricted.
We agreed to meet at the Evie toilet and launched from Evie Sands. We knew we were in 4th hour of the flow so it was moving pretty niftily, about 4 or 5 knots we thought. As we hit the current, we could see how fast it was moving and we had to adjust our ferry glide angle to pointing straight at Eynhallow. After a bit of work and ferry gliding at 90 degrees to the channel, we reached the eddy behind the island and could make good progress towards it.
The tide flowing over the skerry in middle of the channel. Midhowe Neolithic tomb is covered by the barn like building.
Launching after lunch
After lunch, the bar at the south east of the island was seen to be covered and a few nice surf waves were breaking over it. We paddled through them then had a peedie surf or two back the other way. Heading back to the vans, the rate of flow had decreased dramatically as high tide approached, I thought it wasn’t moving much at all but, although the water seemed calm, we seemed to make good time back to the shore.
Before we headed in, I wanted to do another wet session. It was rubbish. I couldn’t roll properly (I did in the end), my re-entry and roll failed the first 2 times and I could not self rescue at all…. I tried a wrong side roll for a laugh and that was perfect! I was pretty frustrated but I went away telling myself that I did roll (on both sides) and I did re-enter and roll. Which, considering this was at the end of my second paddle of the year, much of that had been spent paddling against a strong bit of tide and the water was freezing, wasn’t really so bad.
I had barely got in the door when my friend came round to go to climbing. I was knackered but was still keen to go! My companion was as good as she ever is. One of these people who are just natural climbers I think. While I’ve fallen off seven times, she’s climbed 10 different routes. We started off on a harder bit of wall and I managed a few routes but couldn’t master the ‘yellow’ move. We moved around the wall, trying different things, with me falling off and her walking up them like it was the stairs….. After about an hour and a half, I was shattered and it was time for my next appointment.
After climbing, having driven Phyllis back to Kirkwall on fumes, I spent half an hour or so trying to stay awake before it was time to go Mackayak’s for tea. A friend advised me to call in food favours cos I couldn’t afford to eat, which would be fine if I had any friends for whom I had ever cooked dinner (It’s not that I don’t cook, I simply have no friends), however Mackayak and family treat me like an adoptive waif and stray so I am quite often fed by them. The word roast didn’t have to be used twice…..
After dinner it was time for the last activity of the day, the kayak pool session.
Having made such a mess of my wet practice earlier, I was really keen to get in the pool and try again. I decided I needed to lose the goggles as I don’t have them on in the sea. I was quite tempted to wear my drysuit but I was restrained before I was thought completely mad.
My rolls on the left were fine, perfect almost and my head was doing what it should. I have no idea what was wrong outside, other than it’s cold. I re-entered and rolled no problem and managed a few self rescues. My right side rolls were clunky again but I did manage a few. I even did three rolls with Mackayak on the back deck! At one point, Dennis’ boat floated past so I jumped in that and self-rescued, rolled and re-entered with no problems. I think I need a heated sea….
After all that, I am completely shattered. There were some successes and some failures throughout the day, but overall, it was a lot of fun!