Peninver

I awoke early on Arran. There was a mistical stillness between short bouts of rain. The thought of getting up early and leaving early parading about my mind.
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We rose got the boats to the water and set off out and around some more kelp beds and round some of the far western tip of the island and slightly north to gain the best place to do the crossing from. The wind was in our face and was going to be rising throughout the day. We wanted to get to Peninver caravan site where we had been offered a camp place for free before the wind got too much.
This was going to be a day I’m not going to forget in a hurry. The wind Ahh the friend and foe of kayakers. Today it wasn’t going to be our friend. Through small rain showers we were paddling almost into the wind. I’m a stronger paddler into the wind than Katie so would be dawdling a little. This annoys me as the wind and chop play up more when I paddle slower than I want to. We are a team and I’m not going to get angry or upset. The wind chop was picking up and there were white horses, a wave would be working it’s way along breaking as we went. I took to dodging these as we paddled. There wasn’t much time to stop for snacks and just a quick mouthful now and again as the wind blew us quickly backwards. I’ve started to have sweets on the water. Lovely until they get wet and the wrapper sticks on. Mini nightmare trying to put the timy pieces of plastic into a pocket.
Well the day struggled on, there were fishing vessels going in and out of Campbeltown and two naval ships crossed us. A long way away but still enough to make the rough sea even worse.
The sea became slightly intolerable and the bow was getting blown downwind, I tried without the rudder and it made no difference, I had become used to the rudder and was pushing it as far as I could just to stay in a straight line and having a sweet was definitely a no no.
This was becoming fun nightmare in a twisted demented way, Katie was getting scared as the wind picked up to an unfriendly F6-7 we managed to move closer and Katie shouted over she was “shitting her pants” I know this was a lie, we had both run out of clean clothes and she was going commando. We have become close friends since the start and talk about anything.
We changed course to try and ease the waves and wind and this helped a little using the wind in our starboard 3/4 rather than into a headwind.
Phew and tfft the wind died down slightly and we could collect our thoughts and change back to our original course. I had had many thoughts flashing through my mind. no bongo drums or heavy metal soundtrack in those waves which is something I’m left wondering about.
I remember shouting to Katie whilst smiling and laughing in the waves. “Smile” uhhh nope, no smile, just an icy looking stare from under her new hat. Ok “turn that shit up to 11” my mind declared to me. I paddled closer to Katie and down wind of her thinking what if it all went to the poop fan factory. Noooo I don’t want my next hot drink to be in a life boat. Not one, we have been so far. This was the Mull Of Kintire or near it. A big stepping stone on the circumnavigation we can’t fail.
So the weather had died down a little and we had a small snack. It’s important in rough wind I feel, to whenever possible eat something as it could be the last in a while.
The wind was still being a pain but we were making way and the chop had died down dramatically. The rain now came, stinging my face when I looked up from my cap. The nearer we got the more relieved we got. Katie was so sore, her shoulders were aching and asked me to tow. Hahaha. No please no. “I want you to finish it” I thought. We managed to get into the shelter of the caravan park with about 20 seals greeting us I was so relieved that my next drink would be made by one of us.
There was no one around so we hung out in the laundry room. Getting warm.
Luckly someone who could let us know what was happening and we asked about a caravan for 2 nights. A shower and somewhere dry was needed by both of us. The deal was done and we were let a caravan. Wow a shower and a gas fire. It feels like we haven’t bee roughing it enough but after a day like today it was surely needed.
The park guy came back to us and told us we were welcome to stay for free as we were doing it for the RNLI. Wow again Scotland, you are stealing my heart. After food it was another early night.
This had been the hardest day of the journey so far. Harder than the 100km I did on my birthday. But we did it and well done Katie. Hot chocolate on me.

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