Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 5 - Kayaking

Today was our last day in Scotland and we decided to save kayaking for it. I started the day with the "Full Scottish Breakfast." For the uninitiated, this included a poached egg, a slab of bacon (more like Canadian bacon), half a tomato, some mushrooms, a potato scone, a sausage link (think a "banger" when you get bangers and mash), black pudding, and fried haggis. I also chose to get our host's homemade porridge.

Breakfast was certainly an experience. Porridge is very good with cream and whisky, though I don't think I want to make a habit of drinking an ounce of whisky at 8:00 AM every day. Amanda also thought it was good, but not something we would go out of our way for. The black pudding and haggis both looked like large sausage patties on my plate. I really liked the black pudding, particularly with HP sauce. The haggis was good too and it was much better with the sauce.

Having thereby fortified myself, I set out to our adventure of the day - sea kayaking. Compared to Amanda, I am a kayaking neophyte. I understand the idea, but don't have her experience. I went into this with some trepidation as I really hate being soggy The good news is that this place set us up with dry suits. These were not particularly comfortable, but they weren't horrible either. I was surprisingly OK with having my legs in the kayak cockpit with the spray skirt on top.

We were out for about 5 hours, though we had a few breaks, including a protracted one for lunch. We ran into some weather too. Amanda came extremely close to capsizing once, and our instructor told us that it is fairly common to have someone go swimming. I thought I came close a couple of times, but really that was just nerves and I was fine.

Overall, it was quite intense. I had never kayaked in the sea with 20 MPH winds blowing rain sideways creating 6 inch waves, but now I can say I have. I'm not eager to do it again, but it was worth it for what we saw. If you don't mind putting on an extra layer and getting your hair mussed by the rain then Scotland is a treasure. If you do mind those things then stick to Paris. The Parisians are rarely mussed.

We came back and Amanda had a long soak in the tub. To give you some perspective, her arms hurt while folding clothes for our packing to go home. I don't feel particularly sore, but I do feel weary from the wind, rain, and salt air. We finished the evening with a quiet meal at a restaurant recommended by our guide. I very much enjoyed the local beer I had along with my fish and chips. Amanda had steak pie with a glass of Shiraz blend. All in all, it was a great day.

We hate to go home. I told our host that we had to leave before breakfast and he packed us a lunch that would impress Grandpa Jack. We have rolls, sandwiches, water, crisps, 2 oranges, and 2 apples. I think we're ready for our next adventure - the trip down to Bristol on the train.