Aoradh wilderness retreat, 2013…

Andy in contemplation above the Grey Dogs tidal race

I am back!

Sadly, we did not manage to get on to Eileach an Naoimh, our planned retreat venue this year- the weather made a landing (via small inflatable from larger boat) rather dicey. Lindsay, the skipper of Sea Leopard II (highly recommended if you are in the need of a boat charter in these parts) had a good try,  from a couple of different points, but a storm was approaching, leaving only one sensible choice.

We had the choice of loads of other venues in the area, but opted for the northern end of Scarba- offering shelter from the approaching south west storm in the old birch trees in the hollow of big hills.

It was stunning, despite the weather being a challenge- made all the more special by two sea eagles who were our constant companions- huge birds, with 9 foot wingspans riding the winds over the raging tides of the Grey Dogs.

This year there were 11 of us who traveled in the end- a really great bunch of blokes from all parts of the country and many different walks of life. We had lots and lots of laughter, times of deep silence, prayer, fireside conversations and experienced the close camaraderie of sheltering in a rudimentary shelter rigged expertly by Sam and Neil.

There is so much I could say (and probably will) about our days together, but for now here are a few photos;

Aoradh wilderness trip 2010- update…

Just to confirm where things are up to with the plans for our trip to Jura on May 1st.

In discussion with the boat operator, I have opted for Pig Bay rather than Glengarisdale. This means that we miss out on having a Bothy, which may have come in useful, but there are caves, and I will take a tarp to rig up if we really need some shelter to cook/commune under. Glengarisdale was just too much of a risk in terms of safe landing and (more particularly) pick-up once landed.

In terms of numbers-

6 people signed up through ‘Emerging Scotland’ site.

3 of us from Dunoon

2 from Preston

2 others from Glasgow

Plus Terry coming out for the boat trip on either the send or the return

(And two dogs!)

Plus 3 possibles-

One bloke from Bute, who has said he wants to come.

Simon M?

Nick- does not think he can make it.

Should be a nice mix of people- and this time, there are 3 WOMEN as part of our gathering!

This gives us the nice problem of needing more than one boat trip. At present, I have provisionally booked an outward trip at 7AM and 8AM on the 1st. Have not been able to confirm returns yet for the Monday, but in the past these have been mid morning.

So- can you please confirm whether you are definitely coming.  If you say yes, then I am afraid you are committing to paying your share of the boat costs even if you drop out!

There are also still be a few places left if you know of any others who might want to join us yet… It would be good to fill the second boat as well…

Really looking forward to the weekend!

Last canoe/camping trip of the year?


Just back from a little jaunt out to Lock Eck with the Canoe. Will, and my mate Simon and his son Andrew came with me. I a,most did not go as I have been feeling a bit under the weather this week- all headachy and migrainy. But the restorative power of wild places did me a power of good I think.

The autumn is progressing. Some of the old beech trees and oaks are already turning. And the stags were practicing their rutting calls in the early morning…

We launched at the Coylet Inn and camped on the other side of the loch. Weather was mixed, but we managed a campfire and a scramble up to explore the Paper cave and a couple of others. Always good fun- particularly for people like me who are six feet five inches tall and, shall we say, well fed ready for hibernation.

Also hit on some new campfire food- some basic bread dough mix (some flour and powdered milk with a bit of salt) mixed with a bit of water into sausage shapes, wrapped round a green stick, and toasted over  the fire. sprinkle on a bit of ketchup- and you have a lovely smoky bit of bread-cum-pancake. Lovely.

So- a few pics. (Taken with my new Pentax KM camera.)