Hurry Up and Wait

Day 50 – Tarbert Ness to Dalchalm – 9th July – 10.6 nm

It is a lazy start, and it is has to be said that Team Fatboy are not too upset about this. The lie-in is welcome. The forecast is for swell and strong winds until early evening. The rattle of the van in the wind tends to suggest that the Met Men may have got things right, I turn over and snore some more, dreaming of nipple clamps. Of course every silver lining has a cloud, an evening start means that the miles for the day will be short and the finish will be late. Oh well.

We head to Tarbert Ness and take a walk to look at the conditions. Things are much improved on yesterday but there are enough white-caps out there and the swell is indeed rather chunky. I um and aah, and faff of course, but instincts tell me that setting out into 10 nm of open water may not be the best course of action. The wind machine doesn’t help much, the numbers rise and fall continuously between 18 and 30 mph. Let’s sit around a little more and see what happens...

Eventually evening arrives. Once again the wind eases as the tide turns. Unfortunately this means that I have a slog against things for the crossing. Oh well.

It’s late in the day now and rather chilly, the winter kit comes out of the bag. Though to be fair I reflect, it probably is summer as I don’t need the pogies.

July my arse...

There’s still a bit of swell and I keep an eye on things as I skirt sissy-like inside the reef at the top of the headland. After this I lift my hood to keep the paddle splash out of my ear and point Brora-wards – ticking along in my own little world.

I consider scrounging a few more miles by continuing to Lothbeg, but as I call Team Manager even I can sense that this idea is not all that favourably received. So I land on the sandy beach at Dalchalm and we trolley the boat across the golf course. I feel a little less conspicuous as we watch the cows strolling, in a rather laid-back fashion, across the tees.

 It’s a bit of a trek to the campsite. The nearer one lived up to the reputation of the ‘friendly club’ once again, the gentleman rather rudely refused entry to the Team Manager. It seems we are not all that welcome wherever we go at the moment.

It’s frustrating to wait all day for the wind to drop in the evening, but then it’s preferable to it not dropping at all. 10.6 nm is not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

The late finish means a return to boil-in-the-bag for tea, but I treat myself to one of the fancy ones. Throw in a cake or two too and by the time I have finished, we work out that I’ve scoffed a distance over 1000 calories in one sitting. Nice one! Fit to burst - Pass me another cake and stand back...

I head off for a welcome shower, only to find that we need more coins. We’ve run out, the van is a coin-free zone - Bum. Still, all those calories should keep me warm.