boat trip to canna rum and the cuillin

Sat, May 10, 2008

As it was Dawn’s birthday coming up, we decided to make day of it on Friday and book on the Aquaxplore boat for the trip from Elgol to Canna, taking in the Cuillin and Rum. It’s the same company that runs the Bella Jane boat to Coruisk, which is a handy way to start the Skye Ridge. The weather over the last week had been fantastic, with warm sunshine and light winds so we were hoping for more of the same on the Friday. However, the weather forecast showed a front coming in from the south west and sure enough, as we sat in blazing sunshine at the tea room in Elgol, high level altostratus started creeping across the sky although the vast expanse of Minch visible from the tea room remained flat calm.

Sgurr na Stri and Sgurr nan Gillean from Elgol

Before the light went all flat though, we had a good run out of Elgol in the shadow of the Cuillin

making for Soay and the sea cliffs below Gars Bheinn where we spotted two eagles on top of the cliff. As they were just sitting watching us, we couldn’t work out if they were sea eagles or golden eagles. An impressive sight nonetheless.

Then a crossing of the calm sea over to Canna, leaving the Cuillin far behind

The Cuillin from the boat at Canna

Tea and buns in the great wee tea room on Canna and some more tea from the wood burning stove from the boat. Thankfully the midges weren’t out yet and it was nice to relax in the quiet calm of Canna.

Rum from Canna

By the time we crossed back over to Elgol though, the temperature was dropping, although it was interesting to come across the various temperature variations over the sea surface. One minute it would be a chill wind, then suddenly we’d enter an area of disctinctly warmer wind, then back to colder conditions. Away out in the Minch I spotted Hesgeir with its distinctive lighthouse and while munching on buns in the tea room on Canna, I’d had a look at an old admiralty chart on the wall. I find these old charts really interesting for old Gaelic names and this one came up trumps too. It had another name for Hesgeir, which was Oigh Sgeir. Looking up Dwelly, it seems that Oigh can mean either a maiden or a very rare name for a stag. It would be difficult to see how a deer could be on the island long enough to give it its name and coupled with the story of Mor Campbell of the Shiants, I’d say it meant Maiden Island.

As ever on RIB trips, we were treated to some great zigging and zagging as we neared Elgol.

You can see all the pics here.