Met the West Coast
June 14th 2014
We have visited some of the West Coast before, including Isle of Skye and Applecross , areas which also fall under the ‘Highlands’ region. The West Coast of Scotland spans from the western side of Dumfries and Galloway, Ayshire & Arran, Argyll & Bute, West Highlands, Isle of Skye and finishes at the Western Isles. We visited Arisaig, in an area, which many would tell you feels more like the ‘West Coast’, as it is practically in the middle of Scotland on the coast line! This is also in the region of ‘Argyll & Bute’ or ‘Argyll & the Isles’ depending on what regional map you reference.
We arrived at ‘Sunnyside Croft Touring’ Campsite on the Friday night to a lovely warm evening and an equally warm welcome from Julie and Ian, the sit owners. Their campsite was modern, immaculate and very well maintained with booking ahead strongly encouraged, as it’s a very popular site.
After setting up camp we took a walk into the town of Arisaig. It was a 2 mile walk and it had started to rain, but we never mind these things. My outlook is, I’m not at work, I’m walking towards a pub and I’m with my best pal – all the best things in life! We arrived at the Crofters Bar, which is attached to the Arisaig Hotel and settled down to a pint as we decided what to order. We settled on a Whitebait and Mushroom with Blue Cheese starters to share and a Fish and Chips main each. The Mushroom was delicious, the whitebait and Fish was a bit batter heavy but still good and the chips were the same as you’d expect with this kind of meal. We opted for Whiskey instead of pudding, staggering back to the campsite after watching Netherland annihilate Spain 7-1 in their first game of the World Cup!
Early the next day we had breakfast, donned our wetsuits and carried down to the beach, which didn’t seem that far away, until you are struggling with a Kayak, paddle, water bottle and sweating in neoprene! Julie and Ian did offer up the option of driving the van to outside their house and shortening the carry by about 100 meters or so, but I needed the carry practice, despite my bitching and moaning.
Long story short, we were on the water all day. We paddled to the town of Arisaig then back the way we came, via a lot of island exploring. On our way to scoping out a bigger island with a white sandy beach we spotted our first seal. I excitedly stage whispered and gestured with my hands to get Ferg’s attention and we both gazed at her lounging on a rock and looking magnificent. As we got a bit closer she slid into the water, disappearing from ours lives, only to reappear again, along with about 10 or 12 of her brothers and sisters! Their wee heads were bobbing up and down, inquisitively studying our brightly coloured kayaks and funny faces. It was a magical experience and one I am keen to experience again.
The island we stopped for a while on was stunning! The white sand, crystal clear water and big blue sky made it feel like we were in a form of paradise, which of course we were. Scotland boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world for a reason.
We made our way back to the campsite to swap into our full wetsuits to try some more rolling the kayaks and swimming too. The water was really clear and the rolls were going well but the cold soon started to take its toll on the old napper! Before we knew it we were back at the campsite and it was 6pm, meaning we had been out on the water, save a couple of island stops and a dash back to get wet suits, for 9 hours!! But what a day it was. I had completely fallen in love with the West Coast Coastline and cannot wait to go back to discover more amazing islands, sing to seals and deepen this blossoming connection.