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#1 22 Oct 2019 12:45 pm

Registered: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 97

Isle of Bute Circumnavigation by Kayak

In September I made a circumnavigation of Bute in my Petrel SG sea kayak.  It was my first time camping from my boat and it isn't really intended for multi-day expeditions, but it's possible to fit everything in if you travel light.  I spent some time packing the boat for the first time and deciding what I could leave behind.  It became a lot easier over the following days.

I launched from the public slipway at Largs marina and visited the islands of Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae on the way to Bute.

Rounding Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae to port and Arran in the distance:

The first sight of Bute, from the southern end of Great Cumbrae:

Crossing from Little Cumbrae to Bute.  It was quite windy for most of the crossing, but I'd reached the shelter of that hill on the island by this time:

Glencallum Bay, Bute, looking back to Little Cumbrae.  A nice place to camp for the first night:

Looking towards Arran from the lighthouse:


#2 22 Oct 2019 1:00 pm

Registered: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 97

Re: Isle of Bute Circumnavigation by Kayak

The next day was a bit cloudy, with the sun breaking through at intervals.  I stopped for lunch on the beach below Mount Stuart, the Gothic country house on the East side of Bute.


There are lots of pretty houses visible from the water:

Looking towards Toward Point on the mainland:

It drizzled for a few minutes as I passed through Rothesay.  It was the only time it rained during the whole trip:

The sun lighting up the mainland again as I headed up the East Kyle:


#3 22 Oct 2019 1:15 pm

Registered: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 97

Re: Isle of Bute Circumnavigation by Kayak

Passing the Burnt Islands:

Visiting Caladh Harbour, on the mainland at the entrance to Loch Riddon:

Lunch stop at Tighnabruaich, West Kyle:

Back on Bute, heading South towards the island of Inchmarnock:

About to cross to Inchmarnock for the night, with Arran in the distance:

A pair of seals kept coming back to check out my kayak and watch me pitch my tent:

Rewarded by a lovely sunset:

That hump on the horizon is my tent:


#4 22 Oct 2019 2:57 pm

Registered: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 97

Re: Isle of Bute Circumnavigation by Kayak

I woke up surrounded by fog.  It soon lifted, but continued to cling to the shores in the distance for a bit:

Soon after setting off, I came across the seal colony on Inchmarnock:

Arran and Holy Island visible in the distance:

The headland of Dunagoil, looking like the ruins of a giant fortress.  Apparently there are a couple of Iron age forts up there.

Lunch at Dunagoil Bay, with a view of Goatfell and Glen Sannox on Arran:

Approaching Garroch Head, the southern point of Bute:

A last look over at Glen Sannox on Arran before rounding Garroch Head:

Little Cumbrae back in sight.  Almost back to Glencallum Bay where I had camped the first night:

Passing through Millport on Great Cumbrae.  The sea was smooth and glassy on the return crossing from Bute and it was hot in the sunlight:

Back on the public slip in Largs.  Time to pack up.  It felt very strange to be back in a car when my boat had been my only mode of transport for four full days -- it felt like much longer:


#5 21 Oct 2020 4:00 pm

Registered: 3 Oct 2016
Posts: 18

Re: Isle of Bute Circumnavigation by Kayak

Fantastic trip, Ian. Well done. You found the perfect weather window.

I live further north in the central Highlands and the Isle of Bute has never really appealed but after your experience paddling around its edges I obviously need to reconsider my opinion.

Recidivist wooden surfboard builder!
Built a Kaholo 12' 6" SUP from plans
Built a NE Dory from plans


#6 4 Mar 2021 10:18 pm

Registered: 21 Feb 2021
Posts: 6

Re: Isle of Bute Circumnavigation by Kayak

I so much enjoyed this trip, brought back happy memories of my visits there. Excellent adventure and great photies!



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