Imagine you are at the edge of the sea on a day when it is difficult to say where the land ends and the sea begins and where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sea kayaking lets you explore these and your own boundaries and broadens your horizons. Sea kayaking is the new mountaineering.
It is difficult to say where Loch Shiel ends and the River Shiel begins but...
by the time you arrive at the triple arches of Shiel Bridge (1935) the current leaves you in now doubt that this is now the river.
Slightly downstream is the older single arch bridge built by Thomas Telford in 1804. In higher flows a little rapid forms just out of sight and downstream of the bridge. On opur last visit we could hear it roaring.
On this occasion it was like the proverbial millpond.
The Shiel is an important salmon river and the season runs from early May to end September. As we were here in Mid October we had the river to ourselves.
Unlike the majority of Scottish rivers there is no weir or dam to control water levels. On our last visit the river level was as high asa the fishing platform hand rails.
The river winds through some magnificent countryside. Gentle riffles signify the presence of...
...shallow shingle raspids.
The autumn colours were stunning.
As we were due to arrive at low tide there would be about a 3m drop over the final rapid to the sea so we decided to portage...
...through the lovely deciduous trees that line the river.
Ian's orange deck was particularly harmonious with the fallen autumn leaves.
The rapid was not nearly so fearsome as on our last visit, however a nasty eddy can catch the unwary here and with loaded sea kayaks we were happy to leave this section un-run.
After a diversion to see the Falls of Shiel, it was but a short stroll till we caught sight of the sea in the sheltered waters of Loch Moidart,