The unfriendly wind saw us taking a ferry towards Colonsay. An island that we would probably not visit otherwise, but one to which the Oban ferry went in a convenient time at a convenient price. While we were waiting to board, we met some other kayakers who decided to share with us their opinion about the weather forecast. According to them the general situation wasn’t good, lows and highs were moving across Britain (my attention withdrew after a while), it was meant to be windy, actually too windy for anything. Well, we like to keep things simple, from the forecast we remembered some F5 or F6 with periods of better weather in between. So a not too big island with sheltered and exposed side not too far from car seemed great.
On Monday we set to paddle around with vague idea what we can and want to see. We could see Jura and Islay all the time, however the headwind put stop to any ideas of going there, just yet. We decided to stop our paddle by a lovely cottage, called Seal cottage. It was early in the afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to explore the island of Oronsay, where we were now and the priory. That evening was even more exciting, we played a game and on top of that had dinner of a fish.
Yes, a fish, one that was caught by Michal. So on Monday a fish was caught! Apparently there were two, but one got loose before we landed on the beach. It was as well, or we would have to kill two. Because really, once the excitement of having fish wore off, a worry came that we would have to kill it, gut it, and eat it – that didn’t seem to be such horror. Also Michal claimed that he caught one earlier, but a seal took it. Haha. True is, there was a seal which followed us for a while. And he (Michal) felt little tag on his line followed by bigger tag, and had tiny bit of fish remains left.
Never-mind, next day, we continued to paddle. First through Oronsay skerries, where we could see and hear lots of seals. The other side of the island was indeed exposed, and we were carried by huge elevator. The swell lifted us up, high high, and lowered us down. At many places the waves were breaking over ledges creating spectacular surf. The almost tailwind provided us with following sea and few times I felt like standing on top of a skiing slope looking down the drop. Fantastic.
We truly enjoyed the west side of the island, ok it is nothing wow or stunning, but there is rugged coast line, small islands, cliffs, small and bigger sandy beaches and many birds and seals. Everything just right amount.
We landed in a bay on north west side of the island, shared few words with local fishermen and admired lobsters they caught. We did not fish that day since it was too rough and we did not feel like killing any fish that day. Really, if you decide to fish, you have to be responsible and committed. No supper was eaten that evening as we were too lazy to lite the cooker and went to sleep before getting hungry. Sorted. Third day on Colonsay was crucial. We enjoyed the ride with the wind towards the northern tip and were not feeling excited about the slog against wind towards the harbour. At the same time we had a brief view of the Garvellachs Islands. So I came up with a plan. We will paddle there, with the wind. And then continue towards Oban. It took us twenty minutes to decide. We checked the tides, good, we couldn’t get a forecast, wind seemed to work with us and it was raining. After many yes-no-yes-no-yes, we decided to cross. Unfortunately twenty minutes into it my arm started to hurt and we quickly changed to safer option. Ok, the arm then hurt another two hours against the wind towards the harbour, but means that it can rest before Saturday. It wasn’t easy decision not to go, and still, even when having food at Colonsay hotel I was thinking about the satisfaction of reaching yet another island, but well, one doesn’t have to go everywhere one sees. However the proverbial sack has been hung (In Czech Republic climbers “hung sack” if they have to quit an attempt for any reasons).