Forth Bridges 29 Sept 18

Forth Bridges  29 Sept 18

Following 2 weeks of cancelled kayak camping holiday with Dave Towsie due to the gales and knowing Dave had to go back to work on Monday, we were keen to get out on the water this weekend as a special finish to our disappointing fortnight. However the wind had a different idea and again decided to try and put us off. So, Friday afternoon we decided to chance it and I put out a LSKC email to invite some other crazy souls. However the Internet appeared to also spoil our plans and for some reason did not send out my email until 22.18 on Friday night! Must have been a sign?
SO, this morning we awaited the rush of volunteers while we tried to stand upright in the gusts. Just 2 Daves were ready at 10.30 on Longcraig Pier. I wheeled my Kayak on its trolley to the far end of the slip with the very Low spring tide hoping that the wind did not blow us into the sea. The waves splashed and sprayed over the top of the wet concrete into our faces. We launched and were instantly turned down wind…. Not the way we wanted to go.
After battling up wind around the end of the slip we hit the 1 mt swell and splashing clapotis as it blew in our faces and off down wind. About now a Lifeboat passed going in the same direction…at least we think it was a Lifeboat… all we could see was some orange through the splash and spray cascading into the air. The sun also came out giving us shadows on the sea, despite the sky being 100% covered in cloud. Perhaps a positive sign for our adventures. We paddled west looking for each pier or headland to give us some respite, under the Rail Bridge, across the South Queensferry Bay, under the Forth Road Bridge and up to Port Edgar. A bit of shelter was sought in at Port Edgar and we said a quick hello to some students out in various paddlecraft of the pier. We were now keen to get up and under the new bridge, the Queensferry Crossing.
After 10 mins paddling and getting nowhere with the wind getting stronger we got our heads down and Dave changed the feather on his paddle. We slowly gained some water in front of us and sea became bigger and the wind stronger under the bridge arches. The wind was funnelling through and was seriously blasting in our faces with the waves blowing and splashing into our faces and over our boats and our paddles almost being snatched away from our tight grip. Just past the bridge the wind eased a little and we landed on the sandbar just west for a rest and a photo.
This sandbar is a very large shallow area and if we had headed further west would push us right out into the middle of the Firth where the waves were a mess with White Horses. We decided to retreat back east. The 90mins to get here took 20mins to get back to where we had started as we surfed and were thrown forward on the increasing waves.
We decided to make the most of the fun surfing so carried on past the cars to Hound Point for some lunch. Big mistake!! Over lunch both boats were picked up in the wind and spun around. Lucky we were sitting close to catch them. The return paddle back into the wind was horrendous. All our muscles ached and over the 500mt we had to rest 4 times to pluck up the energy and courage to take on the next mini headland. It was a big relief to get back to the Scout Centre at Longcraig and even better to sit in the Pub with second lunch – Thanks Dave. A Fantastic and testing day out and certainly did blow away the cobwebs as planned. Now in the zone for a big weekend at Ratagan Youth Hostel next week.

David Grieve

David Grieve