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X-Scotland #2 – Day 7 The last day – start

Jun 14, 2024

Day 7. The last day.

From my various recce’s by car and the rather exposed view towards Grangemouth with the estuary mud-line issue – it had become clear to me that a proper place to end my X-Scotland expedition would be at Charlestown Harbour near Limekilns on the north bank of the estuary. it has a sense of history to it and I imagined that it originally had a channel to it albeit probably quite silted up these days as the harbour has sadly been ‘closed’ for some years. A previous recce had indicated that water gets to the bouldered outer wall edge as late as half tide. Culross to Charlestown Harbour is 6 miles in a straight-ish line outside of the industrial piers at Crombie. Having sen how fast the water recedes from the sides – I reckoned that my window was to launch asap near the high tide at Culross and paddle ‘seriously’ straight there. 90 minutes tops = harbour by HT + 1.5 – 2 at the harbour. Meant to be 8kts wind albeit from SE which is not an ideal direction, drumming up a wave across the estuary against my shoreline. Turned out it was a 15+ Kt wind for most of the run. So, as I paddled out behi8nd the protection of the retaining wall to the salt pans I was already dreaming up plan B. Which was to turn back and run back along the land edge whilst it still had some water! Then I realised that I could use a trick that I had enjoyed on the Lochs in wind against shore. To run in the choppy bounce-back zone 15′ off the high bouldered walls. As I emerged from the eastern ‘end’, plan C seemed the sensible thing. Head for Newmills inn the next bay. But I hadn’t recce’d it previously. Just driven past it. Note for future. As I got closer and in diminishing liught due to the black evening clouds and rain…. and two deviation sin my course I found a stream running into the bay – but – the water had already started to recede and at 200 metres off I had 5″ under me. Ie: already in the silt by the time i had taken 2 minutes to ‘have a think’. Error. Pulled myself together when I realised that I had seconds to back out. Which, thankfully I managed. I knew it was too late to get back to Culross so set off at speed into the rain, wind and waves. Many of which poured back over my foredeck. So glad I have a great design sea kayak under me. The Mariner 17 has the famous Atlantic hull with a different deck. I headed out for the piers at Crombie.