Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A kayak along the south coast of Muckle Roe

A friend and I ventured out today to follow the same sort of route as I walked yesterday but from the sea! Actually we went further along the coast, but turned back as the tide was rising with wind against it and, to be honest, we were pretty shattered.

Sorry for the mobile phone pics but that's the best you'll get off me on the kayak.

It was low tide when we set out with plenty of opportunity to play around in the rock gardens along the coast, but unfortunately the tandem kayak is a bit of a tug so timing to get over the ledges was out at times and at one point very out. We shipped some water but sorted ourselve's and headed to the nearest beach to empty the kayak before carrying on.

First port of call to empty the boat after a miss-calculation

The coast is full of little routes between stacks and skerries, fun to explore and interesting to see the bird life and sealife so close up.

There are caves, gjos and arches around every corner. Some we need to go back and explore with a torch. Once inside the caves, eyes adjusted the colour and depth of the water is amazing, we could see big under cuts in the cave walls and little channels through to other bits that you could possibly swim under in the right circumstances.

We were at low water so the caves were generally at their most accessible, but there were some pretty scary surges of water coming through some of them, cascading over shelves and alternately pulling you in or pushing you back out. We tried to follow one passage way but coming to a T-junction had to revere all the way back as the kayak was way too long to get round the corner! All great fun though.

Here's the big cave under the lighthouse. A few pairs of Shags were breeding in there. It's an enourmous space when you're inside and a nice sheltered spot.

A more distant view of the lighthouse

Some views looking out of caves

We weren't that far off from Vementry and could see a boat out again checking it's pots, often very close due to often surprisingly deep channels. The water was extremely clear with underwater walls encrusted with anenomes, sea urchins and star fish amongst other things.

We had lunch in a little sheltered cove of stacks which was full of seals with pups until we disturbed them. We even had a little wren join us for lunch, a Sheltand sub-species?

The bird life along this coast is fantastic; Great Skua, Artic Skua, Razor bill, Puffin, Black Guilliemot, Shag, Gannet, Fulmar, Herring Gull, Black Backed Gull, Raven. We even paddled under a kittiwake colony on some over hanging cliffs towards the end of our trip. Alas no whales...

Next trip will have to been round the north of the island from Muckle Roe bridge to The Hams


  1. Excellent pics - makes me wish i had taken up kayaking when it was offered to me a few years ago. The Shetland Wren is considered to be separate subspecies - its darker & more 'robust' than the mainland counterpart - latin name Troglodytes troglodytes zetlandicus.

  2. Cheers.

    Is there only 'The Shetland Wren' up here then? My kayaking buddy mentioned it, was news to me. Added a link about it.