A few moments of serious doubt and the miles may have come at a price but biggest stride yet and it felt great…to land.
Bill from the Wick canoe club came to the tent and caught me hiding away from what was always going to be a long day. His offer of a lift to a beach 100m inland thus avoiding the real pig of a launch was the kick I needed to get up.
Took care of my pick up 3 before launch and was ready to rock except a missing back hatch cover. Potential day ruiner but saved by me finding it where I’d camped. Must re-tie. 10nm crawl along the coast then the whopping, but day saving, crossing from Lybster to Lossie. Game on.
Joined after an hour by a local geotour rib who came to say hi and express disbelief at my plan before they went for closer looks at the magnificent caves and zawns, I wasn’t at all jealous.
Left the coast for the crossing at 1200 and even 5nm in considered turning back as I estimated a late, late finish.
The wind and waves should have been guiding me into Lossie but they were broadside and useless and as I passed the Moray Firth oil rigs and wind farm I was estimating an arrival of 3am.
I knuckled down, hour by hour grinding across. Then, like some sort of miracle the wind swung just enough to get behind me and clean up the messy pulses of swell.
Speed doubled as I caught some of the sweetest wave chains I’ve ever seen, each wave pushing me to chase the next. Sun setting right, full moon glowing left, I caught sight of the target lighthouse and honed in on the beach wary that the useful waves could be pretty nasty on the steep beach.
2345, so relieved to make land and fuelled on the adrenaline and energy put aside for the 3am finish I scrambled myself together in the awkwardly soft sand and chilly northerly. Hunted down the first viable patch of grass, scranned a solid meal before crashing out comatosed.
Early start tomorrow? Probably not.