Loch Sween 9th/10th June 2018

Loch Sween 9th/10th June 2018

Paddling in scottish waters doesn’t get much better than this. My favourite area for  outstanding terrestrial and marine wildlife, rare butterflies and interesting archeology.

We camped at Leachive campsite in Tayvallich on Friday night with its delightful  owner who let us leave our cars on the campsite over the weekend.

On Saturday morning we were joined by Elizabeth from the Inverness kayak club for a half day paddle ( she was botanising in the area)  .

We launched from the the slipway in the village and headed north to explore the shallow waters around the  fairy isles. We were on the hunt for the ‘rare’ black brittle star ( related to starfish but it  resembles a large black spider) allegedly only found in Loch Sween. Well there were just hundreds of them on the sea bed and climbing up the seaweed!. This area is also one of the last strongholds of the native wild  oyster and we spotted an osprey flying over its nest but were a little disappointed not to glimpse an otter or two as they are also very common in this area ( not to mention the elusive beaver)

From the fairy isles  we turned south, our final destination the southern tip of isle Danna.  On the  way we lunched at an old corn mill, ( spotted a 6 spot burnet moth, ) explored  Linne Mhuirich with its many unusual seaweeds and healthy population of sea urchins and also visited the very fine Victorian piggery…..yes indeed i did say a fine piggery!

We camped on the south western end of Danna with views over the Mccormaig islands and the paps of Jura. It was a glorious still warm evening with surprisingly (and mercifully)  few midges and we enjoyed our supper on the beach, that is, until the smell of the dead sheep nearby drifted our way. I went to sleep to the sound of Snipe making their peculiar whirring noise  and rather less welcome, the noisy cackle of geese overhead.

On Sunday we turned north again  following the  coast back to Carsaig weaving  our way through some beautiful islands  and with more marine delights along the way., not only Moon  and Lions Mane jellyfish but also several large Barrel jellyfish which I hadn’t seen before.

All in all over the two days we had  a wonderful relaxed and leisurely paddle in calm seas with little wind and plentiful sunshine, all the better  for exploring the riches of this very special region.

Thanks to Fiona McLay who ably led the trip and to Tracy Peet, David Towsey, Clare Eadie, Emma King and Catherine Francis for their  fine company.

Clare Campbell

Fiona McLay