Midsummer’s Day with over 18 hours of daylight. You’d think they’d be something to celebrate up here. But sadly the skies were clad in a cold, watery porridge.
Some Feathercrafters were passing through; Micheal and Steve with his yellow Big Kahuna I tried on the Medway, and a 15-year-old red K-Light, force-christened ‘Stanley’ to appease the river police on the Elbe one time. We hatched a plan to paddle from the main road near Elphin to Suilven southside, 5 miles up the length of Loch Veyatie as on the map, here. Most put in at the fish farm out of Elphin onto Loch Veyatie with slight parking issues, but we figured we’d go up the road a bit and drop into the Ledbeg River which leads into Cam Loch, and deal with the gorge and waterfall portage linking Cam to Veyatie, just by the fish farm.
An east wind was blowing, so had we got onto Loch Veyatie it could have been good sailing for me until the return leg. I’ve now found my folded sail slots neatly and firmly in the back floor, so it can come on every trip now without getting in the way. With no hatches in which to stash stuff, I’m slowly seeing the value of using the big Lomo bag to hold everything for the K40: deck battens and coaming, spray skirt, bilge pump – even the Incept itself will fit in there. Having forgotten vital things like pumps before, it’s good to get into the habit of shoving it all in the Lomo and know that each time all you need is to grab the boat and the big bag. In fact I’d forgotten the Bravo foot pump for the g-friend’s Solar, but interestingly, as long as you have the arm power, you can pump up the Gumotex Solar more firmly with the K-Pump than with the leg-powered Bravo. It must be that the hardbodied K-Pump puts all your energy into inflation and not the creaking, flexing bellows and hose of the Bravo. And it’s nearly as quick too.
In the end a late lunch just before the first waterfall turned into a pronged siesta. Under the heavy skies and chilly wind our midsummer motivation for the portage and the long schlep up-loch seaped away. That’s the trouble with these long days – you think you have daylight to spare, start late and get rather slack. We backed up a bit from the current next to the falls and hacked back the way we came against the wind, past little fern-clad isles and back up the Ledbeg river’s light current to the road bridge. It’s nice not to burn yourself out some days. We finished up with tea and cake in the Elphin Tea Rooms where the guy gave us the lowdown on the mysterious Suilven dry stone wall. According to him it was indeed to keep sheep from straying onto the summit pasture as well as a form of job creation.
It’s always nice to go for a paddle, even if you don’t get very far. Suilven and Loch V’ will still be there next time.