Kayaking Among the Summer Isles

Kayaking Among the Summer Isles

Exploring the Rugged Wonders of Northwest Scotland

As I stood on the stony beach, gazing out at the glistening waters of the Summer Isles, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. This was the start of an eight-day adventure, where my friend Pete and I would immerse ourselves in the stunning natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands, exploring the remote coastline and lochs by sea kayak.

With our kayaks loaded to the brim with supplies, we were ready to set off on a journey that would take us through the picturesque archipelago, past towering cliffs, hidden caves, and wildlife-rich waters. As we pushed off from the shore, I couldn’t help but marvel at the breathtaking scenery that surrounded us – the rugged Assynt Mountains standing tall in the distance, the sun glinting off the crystal-clear lochs, and the gentle lapping of the waves against the hulls of our kayaks.

Kayak Summer Isles, our local guide company, had promised an unforgettable experience, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. From the moment we met Will, our passionate and knowledgeable guide, we knew we were in for a treat. As we paddled through the peaceful waters, he shared his deep understanding of the area’s geology, wildlife, and history, bringing the landscape to life in a way that truly captivated us.

Discovering the Wonders of the Summer Isles

Our first few days were spent exploring the intricate network of islands that make up the Summer Isles, each one offering its own unique charm and adventure. We paddled through narrow channels, past towering sea cliffs, and into hidden coves, constantly on the lookout for the abundant marine life that called this place home.

One of the highlights was discovering a colony of seals basking on the rocks, their sleek bodies glistening in the sun. As we drifted closer, they watched us curiously, their large eyes fixed on our every move. It was a moment of pure, unadulterated wonder, a reminder of the incredible biodiversity that thrives in this untamed corner of Scotland.

But the Summer Isles weren’t just about the wildlife – the geology of the region was equally captivating. We marveled at the ancient rock formations, sculpted by the relentless forces of wind and water, and explored a network of sea caves and arches that stretched deep into the cliffs. Each turn of the kayak revealed something new, a testament to the raw power and beauty of the natural world.

Facing the Elements

As we ventured further north, the weather began to shift, and we found ourselves facing a different kind of challenge. The calm, mirror-like waters we had enjoyed in the Summer Isles gave way to a sea of white horses, as the wind whipped up into a robust force 7-8.

But instead of turning back, we adapted our plan, choosing a more conservative route that would take us to the sheltered waters of Lochinver. As we paddled, the Cetus MV and Volan 160 kayaks we were using performed admirably, tracking well in the side winds and providing the stability and manoeuvrability we needed to navigate the choppy conditions.

The downwind surf that followed was an exhilarating experience, with both Pete and I grinning from ear to ear as we rode the swells. It was a testament to the capabilities of our kayaks and our own growing skill as sea kayakers, a reminder that with the right gear and the right mindset, even challenging conditions can be embraced and enjoyed.

Reflecting on the Journey

As our adventure drew to a close, we found ourselves on the outskirts of Lochinver, our final campsite offering a tranquil respite after the wild weather we had faced. Sitting by the gently lapping waters, watching the sun set over the distant Outer Hebrides, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

This trip had been more than just a kayaking expedition – it had been a journey of discovery, a chance to immerse ourselves in the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands and connect with the natural world in a way that few ever get to experience. And as we began to plan our next adventure, we knew that the Volan 160 and Cetus MV kayaks would be a big part of our future explorations, ready to take us to new and exciting destinations along the Loch Ness Shores and beyond.

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