Day 9. 16th April. Smoo Cave to Durness, minus 3km.
Getting out of a hole! Smoo Cove turned out to be a bit of a trap for us: accessible only at high tide and when the surf is small. Pounding waves were breaking across the entrance as the surf was 7-9ft. No way out by sea. Another solution was called for. On the way back to the hostel we spotted a van with roof rack and a trailer by a house. Five minutes later we had arranged that our hero Wily would transport out boats back along the shore to a small surf beach at Durness. We just had to carry them up the steep steps at Smoo first! And note we went backwards... No holes in this trip! At last we were good for go!
Day 10. 27th April, Durness to Neave Island.
This was a truly awesome day sea kayaking. Big, big swell and sunshine were the flavours making up one of the best days ever! We started off launching our ice-covered boats into 6ft surf - Anita took a big one and nearly went vertical!
Once we were out to sea the snowy mountains made a perfect backdrop to the sparking aquamarine waves. We detoured into Loch Eriboll to kill some time before hitting Whiten Head about an hour before slack. The swell out at the headland was about 9ft with superimposed smaller waves. Conditions were fun, fun, fun and still the sun shone! :) Whiten Head has amazing sea stacks and was a warm golden colour in the sunshine.
A late lunch stop on a sandy beach on Rabbit Island before pushing onto Neave Island, a 5* campsite (max) on Anita and Sarah's scale. The sun set on the sandy beach and we all had big, big smiles.
Day 11. 28th April.
"Early start from picteuresque Coomb Isl. - we are on the water heading for Farr Point at 5.30 am.
Headland - hopping to Ardmore Point, we are on course for Strathy Point! Its a beautiful morning with winds lighter than the 4 Bft. predicted, and the swell a bit less than yesterday. About 4 km's from Strathy Point we see water spouts ahead of us.. Dolphins!? The fins look quite big even from a distance and seem to be coming straight towards us.. They pass us and suddenly Roger who is closest, shouts "Orcas, they are Orcas!!". What anamazing sight! And a first for all of us.
We pass the lighthouse at Strathy Point and head towards Portskerra. Westwind picks up now, pushing us towards the Nuclear Power Station. At the slowest speed ever - we pass. Brims Ness onto the impressive cliffs on the coast to Holbourn Head. Hail and sunshine mix - crazy weather!
After a long day afloat - 52 km - we find a site by the riversmouth. Landing and setting up camp in wind and rain - as Roger and Anita get the tarp up and supper gets going, life starts to look a bit more comfortable.
Now in Thurso, we have grown to really like this friendly town and its Café Tempest! We are sorting ourselves, shopping waterproof socks, drying kit in the F 5 wind and stocking up for the next lap - Dunnet Head and Pentland Firth. looking good for Friday! "