Monday, 20 October 2008

A pint of cider please Ma'am.....

 Going under the Barrow/Walney Island Bridge

After a months delay 8 of us finally made the journey to Walney Island near Barrow-in-Furness with the aim of circumnavigating the island with an overnight camp on Piel Island.
Unfortunately the wind was up to F6-7 on the west of the island, so we went as far north as possible, stopped for lunch and made our way back down the east side to Piel. 

Piel Island and Castle in the distance .. the water and wind was constantly it was calm and the sun came out. 

Beware! Dangerous Castle!!  

The Queen of Piel told us that steel bars are to be fitted at great cost to the lower apertures to the castle to prevent stupid people hurting themselves.

The intrepid paddlers took shelter from the storm in an open doorway..

Sunset across the sands...

Beautiful Barrow Docks.

Piel Island is an interesting place. There's a hotel, a castle and 4 houses.
More history here

The  custodians of the island are Steve and Sheila who are the current King and Queen, who opened the pub especially for us, and we were most grateful. When the renovations to the hotel are finished in 2 years, the pub will become a bunkhouse. It's a  basic campsite so don't expect much if you go there. But it is worth it.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

A trip up the Mersey

Steve and Brian just past Seaforth Dock

Cruise ship on the way out!

Birkenhead Sunset

Royal Liver Building and Liverpool Pilot vessel

Tuesday 3pm... Brian calls 'Fancy a quick outing with Steve tonight?'..........." Ooo...' I thought. He meant a trip up the River Mersey from Crosby Baths.
High water was at the Albert Dock was at 6-27 so as soon as possible the 3 of us were on the water with the flood whisking us up the river. Just dodging a container ship leaving Seaforth Dock, we passed the heap of shredded scrap destined for Poland where it is recycled for us to buy back. That makes sense??
The Mersey Mammoth Crane was making its way back to its home berth and as the sun glinted off one of the new office towers a cruise ship left the' International Cruise ship Terminal' which is basically a posh pontoon and the subject of some sarcastic debate.
The Sea Cat Ferry left on the high tide and we kept a wary eye out for its wake.

We nearly made the Liver Buildings but had to turn round to catch the ebb, finally landing back at Crosby at 8pm hoping an iron man wouldn't bash our hulls in the gloom. A grand night out.

Friday, 3 October 2008


View from Midge Breeder Central [Loch Leven]

The Quiraing

Fingals Fingers

Port Neist lighthouse looking to Lewis

Loch Dunvegan seal colony

Staffin Bay

We went to Skye for the first time this year. Its a long way;  458 miles door to door but well worth it. As soon as you get over the Bridge there's a lot of 'Wow' factor for a first time visitor!

F + I  stayed in a converted barn, 'The Bothy' in the village of Staffin, on the northeast coast of the island. Very peaceful, with great views of the Quiraing Mountain and over The Minch to the mainland. John MacKenzie, the owner is a lovely bloke who told us many  tales and helped me celebrate my 51st birthday with a wee dram [or two] of Caol Isla malt whisky !

Skye is a big island, and there isn't enough time to explore it in a week. You have to accept you are going to do a lot of driving as the villages, beaches and places of interest are well spread out.  The sea lochs cut inland quite a way, so inevitably you have to go round them. 

Next time we will try to base ourselves in the centre of the Isle; I've already noted a good looking campsite at Loch Greshornish, which looks just the job.

Out in the Aquanaut, I paddled round Loch Dunvegan to see the seals, and over to the islands off  Staffin and Flodigarry. While we we away we were surprised to find out it was brolly weather in the rest of the UK, but the fine if windy Skye weather limited me to fairly sheltered coast hugging trips on my own. [On reflection, I should have taken my smaller Easky boat, which is lighter smaller and better suited to rockhopping.]

We stayed a night in a wee camping cabin at the back of The MacDonald Hotel at Kinlochleven on the way home, where some of the backdrop scenery to the Harry Potter films  is filmed. 

It is as my mate Frank says: 'Midge Breeder Central'