Sunday, 20 April 2008

Scotland's N coast in storm, snow and white water!

I woke up - in the car at Ceannabeinne Bay, near Durness - to gale force N winds on Sat 5 April 2008. There were a few snow showers and impressive seas - the like of which I had never seen before! Numerous rock pillars, stacks and headlands whipped the angry sea into even greater fury. Waves, already white topped would smash into them and explode upwards in a fury of white water. One great cleft in a sea cliff gave an initial explosion of wave disintegrating into a white mass like a fire burst. A second later, the same wave, had funneled into another shock of white water much higher up the cleft! This second water burst had spray coming off the top, like smoke and disappeared far over the grassy headland.

In the morning, I had views as if I was in a plane from Beinn Ceannabeinne (383m) and, in the afternoon, views as if I was at sea as I got up close to the heaving sea. I paddled through it round a small headland just getting round as the tide was flooding in. A few minutes later I had a good view of an otter that I surprised. Sometimes, the sea was blue and white; at other times green and grey but always dominated by perfect white surf, spray and foam.

Walking across the virgin white sands in the shadow of towering rock pinnacles, I had the whole place to myself. As I waded through the water, round the headland towards land, I could have been Robinson Crusoe shipwrecked on what I pretended was this sandy, idyllic desert island - apart from the very cold temperature and snow on the distant hills!

Later, I had views from the cliff top towards Cape Wrath. Far away, I saw what looked like a mini nuclear explosion as a particularly heavy sea would smash into a rocky islet. It completely disappeared in a cloud of white water and spray that reminded me of the mushroom cloud from an H bomb explosion.