I’ve been very cowardly and lazy this winter and haven’t swum nearly as often as I should have. In order to spur me on Lottie has set us both a challenge – to swim every day between the vernal equinox and midsummer’s day. Memories of last year’s wonderful swims, and the prospect of another summer of delicious watery adventures should provide the inspiration I need. Thanks Lottie!
Help!!! – one of our most beautiful and tranquil bays is threatened by a fish farm application! A large group of swimmers took to the waves to show their opposition and this gained coverage in newspapers locally and nationally.
Dounie Bay is a sandy sheltered bay, one of the few safe nooks in the dangerous Sound of Jura and a favourite swimming spot, picnic place, yacht anchorage, kayaking stop-off and is on a route for salmon returning to breed in the nearby River Add.
Importantly, the deep sea trench nearby is a haven for the endangered “Common” skate.
This being the first fish farm application in a Marine Protected Area, it’s terribly important that we oppose it with all our might. This blog is to raise awareness and hopefully gain support for our efforts. Thanks to anyone who signs our online petition or writes to protest. See links and more info below.
Sign the petition at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-to-fish-farm-in-the-sound-of-jura
Our next event is for a mass kayaking photoshoot : Meet at Carsaig, Tayvallich on Sat 11 March ready to set off by 11am. The beautiful two mile paddle north to Dounie Bay has fantastic views across to Jura and the Gulf of Corryvreckan. Conditions permitting we hope to be photographed by a drone as well as from the shore. It’s a great place to picnic so bring your lunch. This paddle is best suited to competent kayakers with their own gear. (If the weather is not suitable then we’ll hope to do it over the weekend of 25th/26th March.)
“The Friends of the Sound of Jura seek to protect the Sound, the River Add and their local users from threats to the area’s wildlife and local economy”
Lovely story of an autumn swim by The Danna Dooker….
There’s a strong sense of changing seasons now that we’re on the autumn side of the equinox. I had a mini-storm swim this morning amongst sunshine and squalls. Got down to the rocks and there was a tiny otter bobbing around fishing just a few metres away. I brought Dannach in very close to me, and turned her away from it so that she wouldn’t get the scent. The otter worked its way along through the turbulent water, diving and then munching on a small fish before diving for another as it progressed parallel to the shore. It was squeaking when its head was above the water as though calling for its mother. I think it got our scent briefly because it stopped and looked for a few seconds, and then continued with the fishing. Once it had gone, I got ready to go in and then saw an ominous band of grey from the south west… I quickly covered my clothes with my dryrobe and weighted everything down with the wellies on top.
As I entered the water the squall hit, so I was pleased to be in sea and away from the wet rain! I had to swim away from the wind to start with because the rain was so heavy, but once your head is down it’s another world of turquoises and greens of the moving water, with intermittent breaths of air and a glimpse of the shoreline. And then, once the rain had eased off, back again towards the waves and rolling water. Came out after the squall and managed to get changed in the dry before the next one rolled in. The dryrobe is doing well at the moment keeping my clothes dry on the shore, and it was great to be bundled up in it as I walked back to the house.
Bored with being stuck indoors interminably (not uncommon during a Scottish “summer”) we sat moaning and looking out of the window. Eventually we became dimly aware that it might clear up and sure enough – it did!!!! We rushed to pack an attenuated picnic and bundled the two dogs and the Swift Swimmer into our little Drascombe Dabber “Olivia”, along with spare petrol, a mobile phone plus extra battery pack and our rarely used lifejackets (these last items being deemed rather important after our most recent, and nearly disastrous, outing). Brigadier Sootbag followed in his new sit-on kayak. This was a surprising, yet welcome, addition to our party, since he rarely graces us with his presence. In perfect calm weather we chuntered down to our favourite beach and set ourselves up for the afternoon. Little Teddy, our new pup, seemed quite at home on board, this being his first outing at sea. I had a wonderful long swim during which I made friends with several interested seals. Ailsa practised her hooping (something rarely seen on the beaches of Argyll) and then she swam and so did little Teddy. We made our bonfire and this necessitated various trips by kayak and on foot to collect driftwood. The menu consisted of veg sausages with baked beans stuffed into rolls, washed down with ginger beer and cider, followed by Kelly Kettle tea and Kit-Kats. We were in seventh heaven just being out of doors and we all stated that it was our life’s ambition to spend every day like this, being sea gypsies, reeking of woodsmoke, hair stiff with salt, faces weatherbeaten and streaked with ash, wading about in the seaweed, eating beans out of a tin with a razorshell. What could be more perfect?
My sister and I were SO LUCKY recently to spend an idyllic day walking and swimming on Oronsay. With its turquoise waters, white sand and panoramic views to Mull, Scarba, Jura and Islay, it is an island paradise. There’s nowhere more beautiful in the world.
We’ve been coming to this beach for many years, and until recently in Silver Strand, and it’s very special to come here again; a magical place with precious memories of happy childhood times.
A more perfect day could not be imagined. The sea was like a mirror all the way to Jura and the sun shone and shone.
We set off in Captain Duggie’s terrific small fishing boat, Ros Beag, which is powered by an electric outboard motor, and thus is so quiet that all you hear is the swish of her wake as she speeds along; no exhaust, no noise, no pollution. Fantastic.
Today’s adventure was to be a circumnatation of Carsaig Island – about 1 mile. This was attempted and easily completed by Lottie and Martin (having first ascertained that, so far, no stinging jellyfish were present) and with some tidal assistance.
Clearly certain swimmers were more keen to be photographed than others and afterwards the same keen-ite was to be observed drawing further attention to himself by standing on his head for some minutes, making observations about birdlife and generally showing off!
Lottie then produced a large tupperware full of goodies, including watercress sandwiches and oatcakes. These disappeared very quickly. We finished off by collecting some plastic debris from a nearby beach, which we try to do as often as possible.
It has since been revealed that the yoga master (otherwise sometimes referred to as The Danna Dooker) spent the afternoon lounging in a hammock – the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Thanks Duggie for the use of Ros Beag and Lottie for taking us out; a really memorable trip.
Spring has sprung; indeed we had summer last week, with temperatures of over 30 degrees! Thus swimming is wonderful, cool and luscious. Walking is tricky – trying to make your way through swathes of primroses and bluebells without stepping on any is almost impossible. Little boat trips and picnics are now starting to happen and the whole summer is ahead! Here’s a flavour of the wonders of Argyll: (ignore my legs).
- Autumn colours
- Away swims
- Awesome swims
- Club swims
- Daft stuff
- Holiday swims
- Hot tub
- Isle of Coll
- Isle of Colonsay
- Open Water Training
- Picnic swims
- Quick stuff
- River swims
- Silly swims
- Silver Strand
- Standing stones
- Storm swims
- Sublime swims
- Sunny swims
- Swim Safaris
- The Swift Swimmer
- Winter swims
- Winter training swims